It is a combination of the blue domes, unique architecture, magnificent setting and Mediterranean light that make the many churches in Oia so outstanding. (Photo by Peggy Mekemson.)
I’ve blogged about the churches on Santorini before, but their beauty, surroundings, and unique architecture are such that they are worth revisiting— often. Most of these photos are from the village of Oia and the surrounding area that contains some 70 churches.
The obvious question here is ‘Why so many?’ One or two large churches could easily accommodate the population, especially since the majority of the population is Greek Orthodox. The answer lies in the fact that Oia is a fishing village and the life of a fisherman is filled with danger.
When things become iffy, religious folks, and even not so religious folks start talking to God and making promises. “Get me through this and I’ll do so and so…” There is a long list of options. In Oia, for those who could afford it, the offering became “I’ll build you a church.”
To make things a little more personal, the fishermen dedicated their churches to whatever saints they thought were looking out for them. The saint was their go-to guy (or gal), their direct line to God. And even today, the feast day of the saint is a big thing at the various chapels.
One final note: many of the churches are privately owned, passed down within a family for generations from the original builder.
Another photo of the same church. I took this one from a different angle. A separate post could easily be made on each church in Oia.
The Church of St. George, set off by dramatic clouds, occupied my camera for 30 minutes.Lightning rods also adorn the church.
Moving back, this arch provided a fun composition for the church. I suspect it has been used for the same purpose thousands of times. (grin)
A side view of the church.
A view of the dome…
And the bell tower. The walls seemed to be glowing.
Many of the churches are smaller and more personal, built by families as thanks for surviving sea journeys and passed down to family members over generations. Love the salmon pink.
I always appreciate it when nature provides a convenient frame for my photos.
Think of the imagination that went into the decision to put white rocks in front of this white church.
A back view of the church with Oia, Santorini stretching out in front.
This looked like a very old church to me. Notice how it is built into the cliff. (Photo by Peggy Mekemson.)
The Anastasis Church in Oia provides a striking view of the Aegean Sea.
Another view of the church.
The Church of Panagia Platsani is the first church we encountered in Oia. (Photo by Peggy Mekemson.)
The church’s bell tower. Again, the sky provided a dramatic backdrop. (Photo by Peggy Mekemson.)
I don’t have the name for this church but thought it was quite striking.
A final view looking out into the Aegean and the walls of the ancient volcano that form Santorini, a solemn reminder that this is earthquake country. NEXT BLOG: Friday’s essay— Escape from Alaska
23 thoughts on “The Striking Churches of Oia, Santorini…”
With so many churches and their beautiful forms one wonders why go fishing? The need for food! Great photos.
The belly rules. 🙂
So beautiful. I wanna go to Santorini! 🙂
You know the answer to that one Alison. 🙂
The old church built into the side of the cliff looks to be of similar architectural design as the white church – no?
Yes. Many of the churches share a similar look, not only with other churches but with houses, shops and hotels as well. –Curt
These are beautiful! Interesting that so many are privately owned. I liked your idea that they are the result of , “If you… I’ll build you a church.” I can think of a few wishes I have that I would gladly build a church for in return. Makes me think that the people there were granted their desires.
I could think of a few, myself. 🙂
Stunning photos Curt! Sharon
Thanks Sharon. The Island makes photography easy. 🙂
Great pictures… I loved the island…
Lovely photos. So many shades of white. I wonder if there are ever days without sun there?
Thanks, Susan. As I recall, we arrived just before rainy season. What clouds we saw provided great backdrops. –Curt
Absolutely love this photo gallery. I may never get to Santorini, but I really want to. The whites of the buildings make such a nice contrast with the blue of the sea. Nowhere else like this, I guess. Thanks for sharing.
Thanks. 🙂 We did find similar building styles and colors on other Greek Islands, but nothing quite like Santorini. –Curt
The place is absolutely stunning. There’s a cathedral in Galveston that’s painted white, and the effect is much the same, especially in winter when there are deep, blue skies. Granted, it’s not Santorini, but there’s something about that pristine combination that stirs the soul.
Do you have any interior photos? Are they as simple in line, inside. I imagine that the light could be wonderful.
“Stirs the soul.” Like the great cathedrals of the world do.
No, I am sorry Linda, we didn’t get inside, although we did visit Greek Orthodox churches on other islands. Most have a no-photo policy. I googled Santorini churches and checked out photos other people had taken. Inside photos are rare.
Stunning is a good description. i would love to go there and live for a couple of months. –Curt
If I was the church-building kind of fellow, I’d want to study these plans. Pretty photos.
Thanks Bruce. They almost seemed organic to me, like they grew out of the surrounding. –Curt
Took my Mom on a cruise around the Greek Islands years ago, after my Dad died. It was a wonderful experience. Santorini was magical but we only had 1/2 day there. Would love to go back and spend a few weeks there to really soak it all in. Lovely photos!
We had a day, but it was far too little time. We were lucky it was off tourist season with out any crowds. –Curt
Love that old church built into a cliff.
Wasn’t it neat. Next time I plan to get inside some of the churches. I did on other Greek Islands. –Curt