Tag: Firostefani (page 1 of 4)

Greek Island icons & landmarks: The blue-domed church high above the sea on Santorini

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Agios Theodori Church

Photos of Agios Theodori Church have inspired countless people to visit Santorini and other places in Greece — or to dream of going there

   

Greek Islands Icons & Landmarks is a series of occasional posts about curious, unusual and extraordinary sights and places we have seen on our travels in the Greek Islands

 

Celebrity dome: It’s a quintessential image of Greece:  a cute white chapel with a shiny blue dome, accompanied by a white belfry with three bells, sitting high above the sea on Santorini.   

It’s called Agios Theodori, but like thousands of other churches in Greece, few people outside the country know its name. Nevertheless, it’s a familiar sight to millions around the world, since photos of the church have appeared for decades on travel posters, tour materials and in guidebooks, newspapers and magazines. Along with the Acropolis in Athens, that little whitewashed, blue-domed church is one of the main images people associate with Greece.

I recall seeing pictures of Agios Theodori in the early 1980s, first at restaurants in Windsor, Ontario and Detroit’s Greektown, and then at travel agencies and restaurants along Danforth Avenue in Toronto’s Greektown, which was just a few blocks from where I was living at the time. That was long before I ever considered going to Greece, but the pictures of that blue-domed church stuck in my mind.

 

Agios Theodori church

 

Agios Theodori church

 

 Over 20 years later we finally made it to Greece,  and Santorini was the last stop on our island-hopping holiday. Although I hoped we would see the famous blue-domed church, I didn’t know where to look for it. I figured that if we came across it while exploring the island, that would be great, but if we didn’t get to see it on this trip, perhaps we would some other time. 

Imagine my surprise and delight when, only minutes after checking in to the Santorini Palace Hotel in Firostefani, we walked to the tip of the caldera cliff nearby to check out the views — and saw Agios Theodori church just a few meters directly below us. I was slightly stunned at first; it felt like the familiar image I had seen in print so many times had suddenly come to life before my eyes. 

So was it as breathtaking and impressive as I had anticipated, after seeing it in photos all those years? You bet! There was absolutely no disappointment here —  the live view was spectacular. And to think the church was only a few dozen meters from the front door of our hotel! Now what were the odds of that happening? 

 

Agios Theodori Church

 

Agios Theodori church

 

Agios Theodori Church

 

We saw Agios Theodori church again, on each of our subsequent visits to Santorini, and it was still impressive to see. If we ever go back to the island I’m sure we’ll pass through Firostefani so we can take another look.

 

 

Below are several photos I found online, showing the church from perspectives we didn’t manage to photograph ourselves. There’s also a map indicating where Agios Theodori is located, should you want to see it in person yourself.

 

Agios Theodori church

The Agios Theodori belfry is seen in an image from the Petr Svarc Images page on Facebook

 

Agios Theodori Church Firostefani

The front of Agios Theodori church as seen from “street” level — actually, from the footpath that winds along the top of the caldera between Firostefani and Fira. Ting Lin shared this photo on Google Images.

 

Agios Theodori Church

 Also from Google Images is this photo by Charles Cheng, capturing Agios Theodori at sunset

 

Agios Theodori church location

Agios Theodori church is marked as “Three Bells of Fira” on Google maps, but it isn’t in the town of Fira — it’s a 10- to 15-minute walk away if you follow the clifftop footpath from the cable car station and walk north toward Firostefani (keeping the sea on your left side).  To see it from the “travel poster and guidebook perspective,” make your way to the Santorini Palace Hotel. From the hotel entrance, walk up the short slope toward the sea, and head for the low wall at  the edge of the parking area. Look down to your left, and enjoy the view!

 

Sky views of Santorini’s sensational cliffside scenery

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Drone tour: Here’s a video to excite and inspire those of you who will be going to Santorini this summer — or possibly sometime in the future.

Created by NPro+ Aerial Production, the two-and-a-half minute film will take you on an exhilarating aerial tour of the western side of Santorini, renowned for the picturesque villages that cling to the peaks of rugged caldera cliffs towering nearly 1,000 feet (300 meters) above the Aegean Sea.

Although dozens of drone videos of Santorini are available for online viewing, I particularly like NPro+’s Santorini from the Sky because it starts with a superb view of Agios Theodori, the church that has been pictured on countless Santorini postcards, posters and travel guides.

 

 

 

Instantly recognizable by its shiny blue dome and brilliant white belltower overlooking the volcano island of Nea Kameni, Agios Theodori church was the first fascinating sight we saw moments after arriving at our hotel in Firostefani village on our first visit to Santorini in 2004. The video goes on to show other remarkable scenes that amazed us throughout that holiday, including views of four clifftop villages — Fira, Firostefani, Imerovigli and Oia — and beautiful Amoudi Bay below Oia. Of course, the film also shows some of the sensational sunsets for which Santorini is famous around the world.

Scenes from some of the shop-lined streets in the heart of Fira, and from a few of its many cliffside cocktail bars and cafes, also made me feel like I was right back on the island experiencing it in person all over again.

The only thing I didn’t like was the brief view of tourists riding donkeys on the path that winds down the cliff from Fira to the cruise ship tender port. Click here to read why you shouldn’t take a donkey ride if you visit Santorini.

Agios Theodori church in Firostefani

Even if you’ve never been to Santorini, you’ve probably seen Agios Theodori church — it has been pictured on scores of postcards, posters and travel guides. Located in Firostefani village, it was the first impressive sight we saw on our first visit to Santorini back in 2004. There’s a great view of the church, and the Nea Kameni volcano island (upper left), at the beginning of the Santorini from the Sky video I posted above.

The splendour of Santorini

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Santorini was filmed during April 2013  by dimid, a timelapse photographer from Minsk, Belarus, and his colleague Zweizwei from Korea.

 

Bedazzling beauty: Now that it’s a brand-new year, people around the world are beginning to book their spring, summer and fall trips to Greece. Since many will be spending some time on Santorini, I’m posting some inspiring videos that may help them plan what to see — and perhaps even where to stay.

The film at the top of this post is a gripping 2.5-minute timelapse video that highlights some of the island’s superlative scenery, and shows why Santorini is not only one of the most popular destinations in Greece, but also one of its most well-known islands worldwide.

Expedia’s Santorini Vacation Travel Guide video features five minutes of magnificent island views and scenery

 

The video above was produced by Expedia several years ago to accompany its Santorini Vacation Travel Guide, but its images are timeless. Slightly more than 5 minutes long, the film features many of the island’s renowned sunset and caldera views, but also shows some of Santorini’s stunning beaches and coastal scenery.

The video below is over 15 minutes long and it, too, showcases the enticing views and mesmerizing scenery that enthrall the nearly two million people who visit the island each year. But it also spotlights many of the island’s most popular places to stay, dine and drink, and demonstrates how dozens of Santorini’s cliff-edge hotels, infinity swimming pools, bars and restaurants look as luscious as the surrounding natural landscapes and seascapes.  

And if you’re still trying to decide where to stay and dine during your trip, this video could help you narrow your options — signs for many of the resorts and restaurants can be seen in the film.

Enjoy the amazing views, and happy planning!

Santorini HD The best island in Greece was filmed by Sim-Xat HD (YouTube contributor Σιμος Χατζης)

The history behind Santorini’s spectacular caldera cliffs

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Click on the arrow to view Santorini volcano history, a fascinating 6-minute video by Santorini resident Nikos Korakakis

 

Captivating cliffs: Like most people who have visited Santorini, I know that the island’s distinctive crescent shape was created by hundreds of thousands of years of volcanic activity. I’ve read about it in travel guides, and I have seen illustrations of the island’s various different shapes over the centuries in some of the souvenir books I’ve collected on our travels.

But a video that I recently discovered does the best job, in my opinion, of showing precisely how the volcanoes and the course of time have shaped the Santorini of today.

Produced by Nikos Korakakis, an art director who lives and works in Santorini, the nearly 6-minute-long film is based on research by scientists, institutes and universities. It features narration (in Greek) by Anastasia Platanioti and music by Ross Bugden.

Although the narration is completely in Greek, you don’t have to understand the language to follow the video — the film includes explanatory English text superimposed on the animated illustrations.

Click the arrow at the bottom left corner of the video screen (top) to watch how centuries of volcanic activity created the spectacular island scenery that will enthrall more than a million visitors from around the world this year.

Below are just a few of the photos we have shot of the magnificent caldera cliffs that have taken our breath away on three visits to Santorini. You can full-size versions of those images, along with dozens of additional photos, in The Cliffs, an album on the MyGreeceTravelBlog Flickr page.

 

Imerovigli village

The homes and hotels in Imerovigli village are precariously perched atop cliffs that climb hundreds of meters above the sea

 

Oia village

Oia village at the northern tip of Santorini is seen in this distance photo shot from Skaros Rock at Imerovigli

 

Oia Santorini

Resorts cling to the steep upper slopes of the caldera cliffs at Oia

 

Santorini caldera cliffs

A view toward Imerovigli (center) and Skaros Rock (to the left of Imerovigli) from the Athinios ferry port on Santorini

 

Skaros Rock and Oia

A view of Skaros Rock and, in the distance, Oia village

 

Fira Santorini

Fira is the biggest town and the main commercial center on Santorini

 

cruise ships at Fira

Cruise ships anchored near the caldera cliffs below Fira

 

Firostefani village

The village of Firostefani is a short but very scenic walk from Fira

 

Firostefani village

The caldera cliffs below Firostefani

 

Santorini caldera cliffs

The rugged cliffs plunge hundreds of feet to the turquoise sea in the caldera

 

Imerovigli village

We shot this photo of Imerovigli from a terrace at our hotel in Firostefani

 

Armeni Village resort at Oia

A view of the Armeni Villas resort in Oia, with Imerovigli and Skaros Rock providing a backdrop across the caldera

 

Oia village on Santorini

Oia, seen from the top deck of a Blue Star ferry as we arrived at Santorini

 

Santorini caldera cliffs

We captured this view of the caldera cliffs during a walk from Fira to Oia along the island’s world-famous clifftop footpath

 

 Click here to view 125 photos of the caldera cliffs on the MyGreeceTravelBlog Flickr page.

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