Following the road towards Perivolos and Perissa beaches you will find Emporio, the largest village of Santorini with approximately 3.000 permanent residents. It is only 12km away from Fira and for many years it was the trade center of the island; to that probably owes its today’s name (emporio is the greek word for trade). According to another assertion, Emporio took its name from the german word Neubürg, which means new tower and it refers to the Goulas castle.
Emporio is a traditional village with distinctive folk architecture. Goulas and Kasteli still bring in memory the Venetian rule age. Goulas is the square medieval castle in the village entrance and it was Patmos monastery glebe. In its entrance you will see the typical construction with the pots which were filled with hot oil and were spilt over to the enemies. On the top of the castle is Agios Polikarpos. Kasteli is one of the five typical fortress settlements of the after Byzantine period of the island. Its walls are the external walls of the houses. All buildings communicate from their roofs and Palaia Panagia or Panagia Mesani stands in the center of the fortress. The church is dated to the 16th century with a unique architecture bell tower and with priceless wooden icon screen (1883) presenting scenes from the Old and the New Testament. In a few meters you will find the church of Metamorphosis of Sotiros (Christ) dated to the early 19th century; a great festival takes place on August 6th. What is more, the icon of Agios Averkios (protector of canavas) is hosted there and therefore another festival takes place on October 22nd. In the yard of the church there is a typical pebble precinct. It is worth visiting Agios Spiridonas with its beautiful blue dome. Just before entering the village there is a small church of Agios Nikolaos Marmaritis built upon an ancient sacred of the 3rd century B.C., an offering to the goddess Vasileia. During the Christian times the sacred became the small church of Agios Nikolaos. It was named after the grey axed marbles of its exterior walls and also from the Saint’s marble icon. Go up to the hill of Gavrilos, which is considered archaeological zone, due to the Byzantine period ruins, and admire the eight windmills and the view of the rest of the island. The windmills are historical listed monuments from the early 19th century and they testify the traditional occupation of that time. Furthermore, carved tombs of the Hellenistic period were found in the limestone rock in the area of Vlyhada. One of them is known by the name Ehentra which means viper, due to the carved shape of a snake found on the rock. In Emporio you will find many shops for tourists, ATMs, supermarkets, a post office, cafés, taverns, a pharmacy and a peripheral health centre.