Emporio castle is one of the five Venetian castles on the island of Santorini. Its main purpose was to provide security for the town’s inhabitants during the frequent pirate raids of the time. Nearby, there is another fortification, the Goulas Tower, once connected to the castle by a secret tunnel.
Location of Emporio Castle
Emporio Castle on Santorini is located about 10 km from the island’s capital, Fira. It is a historical centre of the island’s trade, and as a result, it was once a greedy morsel for thieves and invaders. Inside the castle there are many historic buildings, including:
- Church of Panagia Mesiani with ornate 16th century bell tower and ornate wooden iconostasis from 1883
- The small church of St. Theodosia located right at the entrance of the castle (all five Venetian castles on Santorini had churches of St. Theodosia),
The castle actually forms a fortification that covers most of the historic centre of the village, and the tour itself is made by walking through narrow and winding streets that form a kind of labyrinth.
History of Emporio Castle
The construction of the castle started in 1450. It continued for many years, as more buildings were added to the fortifications and bridges connecting them. However, it should be noted that the whole has been best preserved of all five castles on Santorini and is still inhabited. Therefore, when visiting the town, you should also respect the privacy of the people who live there every day. Historically, the castle was intended to serve a defensive function for the people who found shelter in it. The tiny balconies, narrow streets, winding staircases and bridges were a great obstacle for pirates to overcome easily and quickly in order to get to the treasures and crops hidden in the castle.