Mystery of Islands
We fly to Santorini! Volcanic island with dramatic past. Once he was round and called Strong. People first settled it about 3000 g. to N.NS. Strongila’s story decisively changed the terrible eruption of a volcano that dreamed in the center of this island. It happened about 1660-1613. BC.
As a result of the cataclysm, most of the sushi fell, causing unprecedented tsunami. The strong earthquake and the thrown out volcanic ash trust the picture of the destruction (all of the islands in the Aegean Sea, located within a radius of 200 kilometers, including Crete, were covered with a layer of ash with a thickness of several centimeters).
Only 66 square kilometers with an area of 76 square kilometers with a sheer rock – Caldera remained from Strongille – in the western part and gentle beaches, in Eastern. After a series of eruptions, the island broke up into a few small.
Today, Santorini is the southernmost of the archipelago of the Aegean Sea, consisting of five islands: Fira, Fisiya, Aspong, Old Kamen and New Kamen.
The purpose of our expedition is to solve the mystery of the island. It is known that he is named after St. Irina. When and how she became his patroness, which role played in his history, where the most ancient temple of her name is – all this we had to find out in the journey.
Our plane is smoothly moving above the endless water scoring, we approach the islands of cyclands. Incredible feeling – under the wing of the aircraft familiar since childhood School geographical satin! The plane sitster right at the water line. Coast with fancy cliffs, azure edge of the sea. And right there, near the runway, a white temple with a very characteristic architecture is built into the rock – a semi-cylindrical roof and a dark blue dome.
We are heading to the north of the island on a hilly mountainous landscape to the small town of Ia. Fields with vineyards are divided by stone hedges, harvest is already assembled. Leitmotive, asked at the airport, sounds melodious throughout the journey. A snow-white buildings and churches are festively inscribed in a beige-brown range of paints. These bright "pearls" fascinate, and blue architecture details are echoing with sea and sky. Sometimes it is difficult to understand: a slice of the sea, the sky or the door leading to the house. Everything is very picturesque.
Sunset on Santorini is not just a natural phenomenon, but a whole performance collecting thousands of fans daily. Wires of the Sun Here – Beautiful Tradition. Places in the forefront begin to occupy an hour for two. PARTER is caldera. The steep walls of the ancient crater of the volcanic with sheer tiers go down to the sea. From here there is a breathtaking view. In pre-orders, even local residents leave all their affairs, go to the north-west of the island and join tourists.
When you walk along the streets of AI, you stand on the edge of the caldera, you feel aboard a large cruise liner, sliding along the water stroit. And if Santorini was really a ship, in the evening he would definitely draw the water with risk to sink, because everyone gather on his "nose" to spend the sun. "Passengers" stand and distorted as it is silently and slowly immersed in the sea, not leaving no trace on the water, which remains pearl and indifferent-calm to the sunset, – only the sky responds to this call.
At the time of the disappearance of the solar disk behind the horizon line, rapid applause and enthusiastic exclamations are distributed. Lovers hug and kiss each other. The play is over. However, the sky continues the game of rolled colors and surprises for a long time. He gradually comes warm Greek night. Miriad stars flash over the dark sea.
According to National Geographic, on the 6th place in the list of the most beautiful sunsets in the world, it is the town of Ia. From the point of view of the publication, here it resembles a "giant postcard". It becomes clear why artists and photographers from all over the world seek inspiration here.
However, Santorini is in no hurry to open and show all its charm. But we will learn about it only the next day.
Blue in white
Iia, where we stopped for the first couple of days – the town with "toy" architecture and a small population (only 2000 people). This is the most picturesque place on the island and one of the most beautiful on earth. Ia is a small but incredibly charming heroine of all postcards and advertising booklets. She enchants and falls in love with her senses at first sight.
Houses here and in other towns of Santorini white, and the dome churches blue. They say it happened, because the inhabitants of the Cycladic Islands have long been looking for their own style in architecture, how many comfortable conditions have created for life – they tried to protect against the winds in winter and from the heat in the summer. At home they focused on the southeast to attract natural light. Painted them in white, which is less than others attracts sun rays. Retained the desired temperature with the help of walls of a special thickness – 60-80 cm.
Another version – the houses began to paint lime during the plague epidemic, because it was the only reasonable means of disinfection.
And finally, a curious version – patriotic. During World War II, when the Island of Fascists’ occupied Island banned the proud Greeks to post the national flags, the residents of Santorini painted the buildings in a patriotic white-blue. And then he passed on and became a business card of the island.
Typical details for local seats – narrow streets, patio and low cute worst, through which it is easy to step over. Very little acute corners – urban planners were avoided by them specially – mostly, all smoothed, rounded. It creates a feeling of calm and peace.
The upper tiers of AI differ in architecture. Previously, the captains of ships and other high-ranking persons lived here. The houses are noticeably spacious here, and the gate leading to the courtyard is similar to the entrance doors – swing, bivalve, high and very beautiful. At the same time, the fence around the house remains low – interesting contrast. The colors of the "top" AI are also different. Often you can find buildings painted in gray, blue, terracotta and creamy pink.
Newlyweds from all over the world arrive at Santorini. Island even looks like a wedding cake: puff "cakes" of volcanic rock, gentle air "lemon biscuits" from tuff with chocolate pieces – plugging of dark stones – and "whipped cream" – snow-white houses. And which cozy hotels here: Pools in Grott, Terraces and Jacuzzi for two overlooking Caldera Volcano. The sea around the island reaches a depth of 380 meters and always has a saturated azure color from the shore. Romance…
On Santorini more than 300 churches. Most of them were built sailors in honor of their holy intercessors – for example, Nikolai Wonderworker, who traditionally patronize navigators. At the foot of the AI there is a tiny uninhabited island with the chapel of this saint. We managed to get there. We were happy that they fell and, approaching an old belfry, jerked for the despined rope leading to the bell. There was a deep measurable sound. And how immediately has our careless mood changed. The bell ringing always causes a whole range of feelings and configures on the thoughts of the main thing – about the meaning of being.
On the second day we saw the legendary Santorini volcano with his own eyes. It is located on a separate island, which is called Nea-Kamen. It is here that you can approach the crater as close as possible, which is easy to detect the smell of sulfur.
Santorini volcano swallowed the critical mining civilization and unrecognizable changed all the Mediterranean. The eruption began with the most powerful in the history of mankind of the explosion, which devastated the magmatic focus. As a result, the entire central part of the island – more than 80 cubic kilometers of rocks – fell into an underground emptiness. The catastrophe was monstrous. The roar was heard even in Norway! It’s hard to imagine. The sound wave reincarnated several times the planet, and the asset rising to the atmosphere changed the climate for many thousands of kilometers from the epicenter. The tsunami wave formed by a tsunami 200 meters reached the northern coast of Crete, destroying not only the Minoan fleet, but also all coastal cities.
Volcano threw a huge amount of pumice that is lighter than water. As a result, the whole eastern part of the Mediterranean for many years was covered with her. The navigation has become impossible, Middle’s trading empire lost its main source of income, and culture has declined.
The last time the volcano woke up in 1956, causing a strong earthquake and tidal waves of 17 meters high. 50 people died on the island. This earthquake destroyed most of the houses of Santorini, many residents were forced to leave the island. About 400 people remained. Then the relative peace came, but completely volcano did not fall asleep until now, as evidenced by the ridges of hydrogen sulfide, there and here breaking through the stony soil near the crater. If we put a hand on the ground, you can feel that the stones are heated from the hot magma to a temperature of 70-80 degrees.
And nevertheless, people definitely like to live on a volcano. Although even one of this phrase already sounds threatening. What makes them do it? Perhaps the special energy of the creative principle, which we felt, rising to Nea-Kameni. It is especially felt by the heart of the heart of the island and the breath of underground fire, which made this beauty on the light and continues to create so far.
On the island near many houses on parapets and window sills lie. Pyramids of them build people and the edge of the crater. Santorinians believe that in this way they are protected from eruption. We also folded our six stones height.
Each wine tells the story of a special place on Earth. Having tried it, you can experience the taste and atmosphere of the place where the long life of the grape vine. Nothing can tell about the terrain and climate better than it. Inside the closed bottle of wine hid his birthday hidden. I have long been fascinated by the theme of winemaking. However, Santorini managed to surprise me and replenish my baggage knowledge with new discoveries.
Over a thousand years ago, local grapes invented a special method of crop growing. Call him "Kulura" that translated from Greek means "bagel" or "curl". Vine is formed on Earth, intertwined in a circle. Berries ripen inside it, filling with ripe picturesque clusters. It is incredibly beautiful. It seems as if on Earth put full grapes decorated with a basket with leaves. Such a tricky reception protects shoots from strong sea winds.
Crop the same vines in the classical scheme – from November to December. Leave three powerful branches and three "eyes". Rows and boundaries of land plots are distinguished by white stones. They painted lime. Because of the hot climate, grapes are harvested in the first half of August.
The uniqueness of the island is the volcanic structure of soil and weather conditions. Rains here are a rarity here, but for more than 3,500 years old here are actively doing wine. Local winemakers carried the skill of their ancestors through the century to the present day. We were able to find out the details of the story by visiting the Wine Museum Koutsoyannopoulos Museum, which is an underground gallery. It is located at a depth of 2.5 meters and has a form of a labyrinth of 300 meters long. Here is the life of Santorini grapes from 1660. Showing all complex processes of production and its evolution.
To create the Museum, the family of Kutoyannopuelos required 21 years of hard work, patience and perseverance. All presented tools and equipment are genuine and are rare items, which gives them many years of use. They are transferred to another era and allow you to see exactly how the wine did many, many years ago.
Here are already four generations Family Kutsoyannopuelos engaged in traditional winemaking. On the winery we were offered to taste the best wines. After acquaintance with the history of the winemaking Santorini, it was especially exciting.
Surprised way of making rose wine. We are accustomed to what they are made from red grapes. It also uses at the same time 75% of white and 25% of red varieties. MECORATION (insisting on the mezg – the skin of grapes and bones) occurs 48 hours. The wine is soft and rounded to the taste with the tones of minerals and fruits.
In the old days of the Greeks sprinkled grapes at night. It was believed that it was at that time he had an ideal temperature, since the cooler. Berries were not disturbed by the press. Natural outflow of juice occurred under its own weight of fruits. So wine is carried out gentle – without tannins from the bones and skin.
I am struck that some white wines are very long exposure in oak barrels. Usually in ouba withstand red wines. White prefer to ferment in stainless steel saunts to save fruit and freshness. Rarely, who allows themselves to withstand them in barrels 5 and even 10 years. It is very bold of winery. As a result, wine acquires brandy colors and corresponds to its red characteristics, as it gains its history. Accordingly, it can go accompanied by certain dishes. Such white wine is superbly combined with meat dishes that usually accompany red wines.
Liked the wine "Pyaterochka"!
It has a sweet fruit aroma of a pomegranate juice and resembles the aroma of fastened wines. However, this is not. And the unexpected feel the taste of dry wine. This is intriguing.
To achieve such an effect, the berries are knocked in the sun for two days, then pressed and immediately placed in a barrel. In it they are withstanding 5 years and after another 5 years in a bottle.
The method is also interesting when the mezdu from the pressed blurred grapes is placed in grape juice to get new tastes and fragrances during fermentation. About this method of winemaking I also learned for the first time! As a rule, squeezes are used only in the manufacture of strong alcoholic beverages, primarily grappa.
We have not tried wines here from classic European varieties. Aboriginal is popular on the island, and characteristic of Santorini. Greek wine is rarely exported. As local residents say, it is simply not enough. And local, especially with dishes of national cuisine, it is impossible to try anywhere else in the world. Therefore, we can safely say that our tasting was perfectly special in all senses.
Special luck was that the owner of Geogrios Kutsoyannopuelos turned out to be the owner. We were able to sink a man who not only created a museum of the History of winemaking on Santorini, but also invested so much soul and strength in the production of unique wine.
Mystery of Islands
Despite many vivid impressions, we didn’t forget about the goal of our journey for a minute – to solve the secret of Santorini, who lies in his name associated with the history of early Christianity.
Amazing feature of the island is that it is under the auspices of Holy Irina and wears her name – Santorini (Santa Irene). But none of the locals could not explain to us what kind of attitude is the island has to this holy. The most mysterious is that benevolent santorinians seem to be specifically stored secretly answer this question. It would seem, he must lie on the surface from the first seconds of stay. But it is not so …
Everywhere, every step you can meet the chapel and church. But in the temples not to find icons with the face of Holy Irina. We traveled the whole island, but did not find it. Even guides could not answer the question: "Why is the island called" Holy Irina "?". All this is surprising and talking about a very peculiar mentality. Here they do not think and do not immerse themselves in history and culture. Do not seek causal relationships, and float towards external circumstances. Live today’s day, momentary emotions.
And, probably, we would not have learned so much if fate did not reduce us with a man who opened the curtain of the mystery. They were the Russian-speaking guide of Vladimir Rod from Belarus. At that time he lived on Santorini for 25 years.
It was he who took us to the original source. This place is Perissa – a small village in the southern part of the island opposed to snow-white and fira. He is famous for its black beach with volcanic sand and good microclimate. The rock of Mesa Vero reliably protects from the northern winds, so the sea here is almost always calm.
But the main attraction is slightly away from the shore. In the leeward part of the bay at the foot of the limestone cliff, the Chapel of Agia Irini, which reveals the mystery of the island. Under it – the temple of the 5th century of our era. "The few buildings of the early Christian era are preserved in such good condition to the present day," says Archaeologist Evgeny Gerousey. "The size and splendor of the Church, as well as rich decoration make it an important monument of Byzantine culture. It was discovered in 1992, when the work on restoring the small chapel of Agia Irini, which can be seen from above. To universal surprise under it was the construction of earlier years. The first thing we found, "Gerusi recalls, – were the columns of the northwestern part of the temple".
It was a three-penette basil, the central passage of which was 25 meters. Today she is considered the biggest and oldest on the island. Her floors from large marble plates are at a depth of two meters from the modern level of land.
Of particular interest are architectural elements. According to Herousee, they attribute us to the times of the prosperous society, which had the opportunity to order all materials and projects in Byzantium. It is not by chance that the church resembles the temple of St. Apollinaria Ravennsky (year of its creation – 493 years of our era).
In the first quarter of the 8th century, the population once again unexpectedly left the island. For what reason is kindly unknown, but most likely due to the eruption of the Tira volcano in 726 of our era. People went away, the place became deserted, but the memory of Irina remained. Agia Irini will return later, at the end of the 8th or early 9th century in the form of a modest small chapel, which will be built on the site of its predecessor.
Today, archaeological works are still underway, and the place is not available for tourists. Due to the difficulties with financing, the process was very strong. Neither about the ruins of Agia Irini, nor about the ancient Ranny Christian church of St. Irina almost no one knows anything other than specialists. This explains the very mystery that we greatly solved the end of our journey. "But after the completion of the excavation, it will truly an impressive place that can and will need to be visited by everyone who will come to Santorini," says Evgenia Gersii.
The Bay of Perissa was very convenient for mooring the place – beautiful and quiet. Therefore, it was here most often threw anchor ships. Here was the same church. It was clearly visible from the sea, the path to the island began with her, which began to call – Santorini. Most likely, the history of the name is.
Why the temple relates to the Saint Irina remains only to guess. It can be assumed that for a person who paid for construction, this name was special. Who was this Irina – his beloved, mother, daughter?
Who the person himself was – a rich Byzantine merchant, the leader. Or perhaps the first ship threw anchor in this bay on the day of St. Irina, and the journey was so successful that the captain wanted to perpetuate this blessed day in history? On these questions, unfortunately, there are no answers.
We went through a big arch in the ruins of an ancient temple, stood a few minutes under the miracle of the preserved crops on the snow-white scratched time of marble plates, where the leg of early Christians. After we wandered around the hot volcanic sand and represented how the ships were moored, as tanned sailors left them, the passengers were preparing for traveling, as the reverent Santorinians and guests of the island attended this magnificent temple, devoting their prayers to the close left in their native shore how they prayed for the prosperous seaside journey … It was the largest, beautiful and revered temple on the island.
Santorini – amazing place! If you have not yet been here, be sure to mark this fabulous island on the map as a goal of your future travel.