Pyrgos - Table of Contents
Pyrgos is a town located in the central part of the island, on the north-western slope of The Profitis Ilias Mountain, about 7 km from the capital of the island of Santorini, called Fira.
Some sources say that Pyrgos was once the capital of the island, but you can find conflicting information about it. However, there is no doubt that it was an important town, also due to its strategic location.
Pyrgos itself has no access to the Aegean Sea but is a short distance away. From the village to the beach, you can get by car in about 10 minutes (the nearest beach in Kamari is about 5 km away, and the caldera – just over 3 km away).
The distance from Pyrgos to the capital of Santorini – Fira, is about 5 km. A similar distance must be covered to get to the airport. Pyrgos belongs to the administrative unit of South Aegean, the regional unit (municipality) of Thira.
The meaning of the name of the village is related to its rather high location – “pýrgos” means tower, which emphasizes that this place is a great observation point.
The population of Pyrgos is about 900 people (according to the 2011 census).
Monuments in Pyrgos
In the highest place in the town there are ruins of the castle, called Kasteli in Greek. The castle has only one entrance called “Porta”. As in all castles located in Santorini, near the entrance gate, there is the church of Agia Theodosia.
Under the castle there was once a system of underground passages, which, if necessary, served as a shelter and escape route. Part of the castle suffered heavily during the earthquake that took place in 1956, but it was partially rebuilt.
One of the most distinctive buildings located in the area of Pyrgos is the historic Church of the Presentation of the Virgin Mary (Eisodion tis Theotoku), which was built in 1660. It is one of the largest and most frequented temples on the island of Santorini. Inside, you can find a wood-carved altar with icons depicting saints. An indulgence is granted, and a traditional procession takes place in this church on August 15 each year.
In addition, in Pyrgos you will find two interesting museums – the Museum of Icons and Relics located in the former church of Agia Triada and Santorini of the past – a private museum showing the history and culture of the island.
Attractions of Pyrgos
Tourism in Pyrgos
Pyrgos is one of the least modified by mass tourism destinations in Santorini. Despite hosting many tourists every year, it has managed to preserve its former character in an almost unchanged form.
The village of Pyrgos is located on the route leading to the highest peak of the island – Profitis Ilias, which, together with the monastery located on its top, are an inherent element of numerous trips from coastal towns. Due to its location, Pyrgos is also an excellent vantage point for almost the entire island.
History of Pyrgos
- 1580 – erection of the Pyrgos Castle
- 1660 – construction of the Church of the Presentation of the Virgin Mary
- 1711 – foundation of the monastery of Profitis Ilias
- 1956 – earthquake, which severely affected many buildings in Pyrgos and throughout the Island
- 1997 – opening of the Museum of Icons and Relics in the former church of Agia Triada
Accommodation and catering
The village of Pyrgos is not a typical Santorini tourist destination with dozens of hotels and guesthouses. However, it offers all sorts of places where you can book accommodation, and some of the rooms and apartments for rent are in historic buildings or traditional houses carved in the rocks, where you can empathize with the unique atmosphere of this place.
Since Pyrgos is located a few kilometres away from the sea, many facilities (the more luxurious ones) provide access to a mini swimming pool or jacuzzi. However, you will not find large hotels or apartment buildings here. Most hosts offer a maximum of a few rooms or suites for rent. The cost of renting a two-person apartment in the season ranges from 70 to 1000 euros per night. For rent there are both small rooms and studios with basic equipment, as well as luxurious, large-area apartments and villas.
The offer is also wide when it comes to available restaurants. You can try mainly local Mediterranean specialties, fish, grilled meats and seafood. The village of Pyrgos also boasts numerous cafes where you can spend a lazy afternoon sipping freshly brewed Greek coffee.
Interesting facts about Pyrgos
- Pyrgos has a market that captivates with its intimate atmosphere. Charming cafes and taverns are shaded by tall trees, and tourists stroll through the local souvenir shops. In the afternoons, there is usually a lot of traffic on the market in Pyrgos, caused by locals who meet for meals together.
- The charm of the village of Pyrgos is slightly different from that offered by the typical tourist destinations of the island of Santorini. It is a slightly quieter and calm place, attracting far fewer cruise or sunset lovers.
- Due to its location, the village of Pyrgos retains a much less touristy character than the surrounding villages, where tourism flourishes at its best.
- The inhabitants of the village, often living here for generations, are a very harmonious and mutually supportive community.
- The inhabitants of Pyrgos celebrate Easter with a grand celebration. The castle is then illuminated by dozens of lamps, and a festival takes place on the market, during which roast lamb and wine are served.