Firostefani - Santorini.
Information on Fira, capital of Santorini
Fira is the capital and largest town on Santorini, it is situated on the 300 metre high Caldera looking over the Aegean and the Volcanic island of Nea Kameni. Fira is the hub and centre of Santorini life for both the locals and the thousands of tourists who visit every year, where all the major shops, clubs, banks, council buildings, hotels and so on are. Despite being the major town on Santorini, Fira still has that traditional feel to it with its cube like white washed buildings and warren like streets.
Fira's bus station
The main bus station in Fira is just off the centre main square and is the transport hub of the island with regular buses going to every corner of the island especially in the summer for tourists.
History of Fira
Up until the 18th century the capital of Santorini was Skaros castle in Imerovigli, when this settlementb started to slowly be destroyed by earthquakes the mainly Catholic population of Skaros which was ruled by Venetian nobles and other Greekm Orthodox communities decided to move their capital to a new location - Fira. This is why Fira now has both a Catholic and a Orthodox cathedral in the town.
Most of these buildings from the 18th century were destroyed in the huge earthquake of 1956 which lead to mass immigration to Athens and other countries from the island which never really recovered until the coming of tourism to Santorini in the 1980's.
What to do and see in Fira
Caldera and Volcano trips
The main attraction of Fira is the views from the Caldera (whats left of the Volcanic crater, now a cliiff face straight down to the Aegean) over to the island of Nea Kameni which is still an active Volcano. From Fira's tiny Old port of Ormos you can take boat trips to Nea kameni , Oia and Thirasia, some trips do all three. The port is at the bottom of the Caldera and there is a path of 600 steps down which can be walked or you can take a donkey ride down. If donkeys and walking aren't your thing then there is the cable car which takes minutes but will cost you 5 Euros one way.
The old Port and Cable car
The Old port is also where the many cruise ships dock with hundreds of passenger debarking for day trips on Santorini. As well as being a port there are restaurants and shops around the harbour.
Museum of Prehistoric Thira
Fira has many museums to see as well, probably the most imortant is the Museum of Prehistoric Thira which houses finds from the Archaeological site of Akrotiri dating from the 18th and 17th century BC including some amazing wall frescoes from the site. The museum is just up from the bus station on the main road.
The Archaeological museum
The Archaeological museum in Fira exhibits artefacts from ancient Thira on the south East coast of Santorini just north of Akrotiri. The museum also exhibits pieces from the classical, Roman and other periods.