Emporio Village, Santorini
Welcome to Emporio Village.
Emporio (or Emborio) is one of the traditional settlements in Santorini and the largest village on the island with 3,000 residents. It is 12km south of Fira and although it is not touristy, it is worth visiting simply to admire the medieval architecture of the village and the castle itself.
The name Emporio means “trade” or “commerce” in Greek and according to the locals, the village used to be the center of all trade on the island and thus took its name.
As soon as you enter the village you will notice the narrow alleys leading up to the castle. Two people can barely fit in them at one time. Walking around makes you feel like you are in a maze and it really is very easy to get lost.
You will also see staircases leading to tiny doors, overhead bridges between these houses, the smallest possible windows, arches and a few beautiful churches. Here you will get a chance to see one of the five medieval castles of Santorini. The other ones are in the villages of Akrotiri, Pyrgos, Oia and Imerovigli.
We don’t know exactly when the castles were built since there are no documents that refer to them , but what we do know that it was between the 14th and 18th century. They were all built in higher ground to offer an advantageous strategic location and good look-out points to prevent pirate attacks. It was the Venetians that lived in these castles.
Since Emporio was the commercial center at that time, the castle guaranteed the security of every transaction.
Besides the castle in Emporio, you can also visit the Goulas, which was basically the fort of the castle but also a type of warehouse to store the harvest. There was a tunnel that connected the castle to the Goulas. The Goulas originally belonged to a local family, but later on became a dependency of the monastery of Patmos Island, inhabited by monks.
More Interesting Facts
In the entrance of the village and on your right (as you are driving in from Fira) you will see eights windmills in a row, on top of the hill. This area is called "Miloi", which stands for windmills in Greek.
While in Emporio, it is also worth visiting the church of Agios Nikolaos Marmaritis. This is a very small church (4.18x3.59 m) in the entrance of Emporio- on your left . It is a grave monument from the 3rd century BC that was later transformed into a Christian church. It is dedicated to St. Nikolaos and it is named Marmaritis due to the grey marble that was used to build it. Marmaritis means "made from Marble". Marble in Greek is "Marmaro".
If you hear or read the word “Castelli” it means “small castle”.
Saint Theodosia is considered to be the Protector-Saint of all Castles. That is why at the entrance of every castle there is a church dedicated to her.
Usually castles would only have one entrance and that would be referred to as “The door”.
To find out where Emporio is, have a look on the map below. To get there you can:
Take a bus from Fira heading to Perissa and ask them to stop at Emporio. The bus station is right in the main square of the village. You buy the ticket once you get in the bus, so you don't need to worry about finding a place that sells tickets. You can always find the timetable of the local buses in Santorini here .
Take a taxi. In this case, please be sure to check the price with the driver. Keep in mind that taxis in Santorini can be a bit expensive and they do not have taxi meters. You can find out more information on this artricle "Getting around Santorini: What you need to know"
Drive. When leaving Fira, start heading to the South. Follow the signs to Perissa- Perivolos. Emporio is just on your way to there.
See you soon,