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Emporio (or Emborio) is one of the traditional settlements in Santorini and the largest village on the island. The name Emporio means “trade” or “commerce” in Greek and according to the locals, the village used to be the center of all trade on the island and thus took its name. The fortified Tower in Emporio is a square structure in the north part of the village. It was built under the Venetian Rule, probably in the 15th century. Tradition says that it was built by the monks of the Abbey of Agios Ioannis of Theologou in Patmos.
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The Kasteli of Emporio is one of the 5 Kastelia that you may find in Santorini. The rest are located in Oia, Skaros, Akrotiri and Pyrgos. Kastelia were built during 15th century during Venetian occupation and their main purpose was to protect inhabitants from the biggest threat of that time, pirate attacks like Hayreddin Barbarossa who raided Santorini at 1537. The Emporio Kasteli’s architecture is stunning and it has been preserved in very good shape since a lot of its buildings have been restored even though they are not populated at all times. After entering the front gate you can see multiple narrow alleys that formulate a small labyrinth with nearly vertical stairways as well as a lot of doors one next to the other, bridges among the houses, arches and domes, all built gracefully with volcanic materials. The indistinct shapes and figures and the medieval structures all around the place are very impressive.
The Tower of Goulas was built outside the castle in small distance. The ytility of this defensive tower was to store the crop and was also used as a refuge. There used to be a small chapel inside it and a tunnel that connected it with the castle. It is a square building that still stands at the north part of the village with obvious decay.
Windmills of Emporio
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 Vlychada. One of them is known by the name Ehentra which means viper, due to the carved shape of a snake found on the rock.