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Fira is the capital of Santorini, and is the most important of all the towns of the island. It is in the west side of the island and 10 km from the main port, Athinios.
It has a population of about 1.600 inhabitants andIt is located on the edge of a cliff, at a height of 260 meters and offers a great panoramic view of the volcano submerged.
At 1956, the island of Santorini was hit by an earthquake that destroyed much of the island. A part of the city of Fira was destroyed, but luckily, some of the buildings of the 18th century were saved.
The city of Fira is a typical village of the Cyclades Islands made of charming white houses with blue windows and doors, separated from each other by the small cobblestone streets. Many of its beautiful buildings were built at the time of the Venetian invasion, including some blue domed churches and sun-drenched terraces They offer an incredible view of the volcano and the sunset.
To this day, Fira is a busy city. During the summer and in your high season, downtown streets are overcrowded and full of all kinds of shops, jewelry stores, restaurants, cafes, bars and nightclubs. Despite all the traffic of tourists concentrated in the city, many areas are always silent. One can find places to relax and enjoy magnificent views of the island and its surroundings.
For those in search of a better knowledge of the culture of the island, you can make a visit to the Archaeological Museum in the old Minoan settlement of Akrotiri. The city also has numerous churches and monasteries, such as Agios Minas, Hypapandi Cathedral, Christ Cathedral, Panagia ton Dominikanidon Monastery, Panagia tou Rodariou and the Catholic Cathedral.
It is also found in Fira the Megaron Gyzi museum which has a fascinating collection of photos of Fira before and after the 1956 earthquake. Fira it also has a port which was, for many years, the main port of Santorini.Today, this port is used only for cruise ships. From there, boats can take visitors for a tour of the volcano of Nea Kameni and Palia.
What can be done in Fira (Thira)
The Excursion to the volcano and the bath in the hot springs: the Santorini volcano is formed by two small islands (Palea Kameni and Nea Kameni) of black lava located in the center of the Santorini basin and are, geographically, the youngest islets existing in the Eastern Mediterranean.
Palea Kameni is about 2000 years old, while Nea Kameni does not exceed 500 years. La Caldera offers an incredible spectacle of the villages located on the high cliffs, especially during the sunset.
You can visit the volcano by the boats that go daily. One can walk through the black solid lava walls of the volcano and discover the crater of the volcano and other breaches with sulfur vapor. It is this area you can bathe given that the waters are thermal.
La Orthodox Metropolitan Cathedral It is located towards the lower part of the city and can be seen from many points of the island. It has a patio and an impressive bell tower. The curves of the arches are reflected in the design of the dome. It has a mosaic on the outside of the cathedral, although it only dates from 1975. The cathedral dates back to the 19th century, but was rebuilt after the 1956 earthquake, so it can be said that it is quite modern.
La Catholic Cathedral It has a great contrast with respect to its Byzantine neighbors. Stresses the clock tower, beautifully adorned in which are also the bells. The interior is decorated with large religious portraits framed with pilasters. The interior dome is formed by bluish lilac and orange and cream colors. Do not forget to take a look at the confessional at the door. The cathedral has been restored and inaugurated in 1975 after suffering the earthquake of the fifties.
El Dominican convent It is located in the predominantly Catholic neighborhood of Fira and is home to twelve nuns who come from twelve different countries. It is not that difficult to locate the Convent of the Dominicans, since it is located in the center of the city. It is a convent very venerated by people who belong to the Christian faith. Inside the convent, there is a church that shines for its wonderful traditional architecture of Santorini. There is a street that meanders through the convent and if you are lucky, you can hear the nuns singing Vespers.
El Museum of Prehistory Thera is located in Fira and the results of prehistoric times that have been excavated from Akrotiri, the ancient Thera and other areas of Santorini are exposed. Exhibits include pottery, marble statues, Akrotiri Minoan frescoes, tools and weapons.
Megaron Gyzi is where the Cyltural Center of Santorini is located. The exhibits include old maps, engravings, old photos of Santorini and a library with rare editions. In summer, many cultural events are hosted there.
El Archaeological Museum Santorini is located in Fira, the capital of the island. It houses sculptures, ceramics, statues, small vases and the results of the old Thera cemetery. The exhibition may not be as impressive as the exhibitions of the Prehistoric Museum but it is worth a visit.
El Belloni Cultural Centeror it is located in a beautiful building located in Fira. It houses a library with rare editions of the 18th and 19th centuries and frequently organizes art exhibitions, conferences, musical concerts, theatrical performances and other events.
El Folklore Museum Santorini is located in Kontohori, a suburb of Fira on the way to Oia. This museum is a private initiative of Mr. Emanouel Lignos and is located in a typical cave house of 1861. The museum includes an underground cellar with wine press, traditional craft workshops, a gallery and a small chapel dedicated to Agios Konstantinos.