Twelve kilometres from Fira, on the foot of Profitis Ilias, we discover one of the most impressive villages of Santorini, Emporio or Emporeio or Nimborios, which used to be the commercial centre of the island during the Venetian rule, as its name suggests (“Emporio” stands for “Trade”). The village’s seaport is Perissa beach.
The past is still vivid in this fortified town, with the characteristic dialect of its residents and its unique architectural features. It is a solid, densely- built settlement, a fort, a “Castello”, where the houses were constructed closely attached the one next to the other, with doors and entrances facing the inner side of the town, in order to protect inhabitants from the enemies’ attacks.
You will walk along cobblestone streets and covered porticos, you will be impressed by the fortifications. During your stroll on the north part of the settlement, you will see the impressive square Goulas Tower, which according to tradition, was built by the monks of the Monastery of St John the Baptist in Patmos, to host safely the treasures of the abbey.
On the opposite site, you will see Gavrilos Hill, with a string of eight traditional windmills still standing proudly against the ravages of time, waiting to be renovated. On the same hill you can see the chapel of Profitis Ilias the Low, in contrast to Profitis Ilias the High.
In this medieval village, you will also see traditional churches, most notable the Church of Panagia Mesani (with one of the most stunning belltowers ), Metamorfosi Sotiros or Christ (with an impressive pebbled yard), Agios Nikolaos Marmaritis (an ancient temple transformed into a Christian church) and ancient Ehendra, with tombs carved on the rock.