04 Jan Pyrgos Village – Kallisti, Santorini
Pyrgos is one of Santorini’s most beautiful and picturesque villages, built on a Prophitis Ilias slope. Just seven and a half kilometers south of Fira, Santorini’s distinct side emerges a facet that revives the old time’s picturesque Greek villages. In 1995, Pyrgos had been declared a protected monument by Unesco’s decision, which promoted it internationally.
Its houses undulate amphitheatrically beneath the Venetian castle’s ruins called “Castelli” by the natives. The entrance into the castle was performed through a unique point:” Porta,” over which a tetragonal building opened at its lower part, from which scalding olive oil was splashed onto intruders who wanted to violate the gate., This building was called the “battlement” or “murderer.” In case of an emergency, a system of galleries was used to protect and escape the inhabitants under the castle. On the west part, within the castle walls, one comes upon the church ‘Theotokaki’ or ‘Koimisis of Theotokou’ (Assumption), built in the 10th century.
Pyrgos Village history
Through the years, many additions are made to the church. There are valuable icons and a wooden temple in the church. The icon of the Assomption was stolen in 1983. Also noteworthy is that the Church of Eisodion of Theotokou is found at the castle’s highest point. It was inbuilt 1660-1661, and on Easter Christian holy day, the only essential service of the Lamentations in Pyrgos is held there. In the surrounding areas of Kasteli, a modern town has been built. The square which lies in front of the castle was called Ipsilos Cafenes because it was there that the local aristocrats gathered and talked among them.
Nowadays, the square houses a memorial plaque to people who fell within the Balkan and Greek Turkish wars of 1912 – 1921. The church of Agios Nikolaos may also be found within the square. The modern town, called “Kseporta” by the inhabitants in olden times, was built out of and around the castle. As we see also in other castles of Santorini, there is the small Church of Agia Theodosia outside the castle of Pyrgos.
Pyrgos Village a relaxed rhythm of life
With its tall pine trees and picturesque little coffee shops, the main square is the village’s heart for socializing and entertainment. No matter the season, its busiest time is noon. People gather for ouzo or Santorinian beer accompanied by excellent local meze.
Pyrgos allows you to taste and drink coffee, drinks, snacks, and food.
In Pyrgos, the visitor can enjoy award-winning cooks’ most extraordinary flavors to the most authentic and traditional dishes of local and Greek cuisine.
Pyrgos has more than 600 permanent residents (who increase significantly during the summer months). They are mainly engaged in tourism and with professions and activities related to the island’s tourism industry.
Many residents of Pyrgos are involved in the trade of the local product. They are owners or employees of wineries based in Pyrgos but also other areas of the island. The inhabitants of Pyrgos are engaged in the cultivation and production of local products, and hotel owners.
Easter in Pyrgos village Santorini
Pyrgos is one of the busiest and “liveliest” places and areas of the island all year round. The village made it onto the tourist map quite recently thanks to its special Easter fete. On the day before Palm Sunday, Lazarus Saturday, the villagers erect a 17-meter cross adorned with rosemary.
The aroma wafts through the village. On Good Friday, the bier is paraded around the town. All of Santorini comes to watch the spectacle, which is lit by small lanterns.
Walking in Pyrgos Village
During your walk- in Pyrgos, you have the opportunity to visit a beautiful, clean, and traditional architectural village. Narrow streets surround the village on the hill, while the outer row of houses used to serve as fortifications. Only the ground floors of these houses, which used to be two or even three storeys high, remain today. The modern-day village of Pyrgos also has the typical Cycladic homes, the stately homes, and old stores that line its narrow stone-paved streets.
This is Pyrgos, the most significant preserved village on Santorini and, therefore, the island’s former capital. Even though it is located that bit farther from the famous caldera. At the foot of the hill Profitis Ilias, Pyrgos affords panoramic and one of the best sunset views.