Santorini ‘Iposkafa’ (Cave houses) and their secrets

Santorini’s “iposkafa” are buildings that are sculptured in the vertical forehead of the layer of aspa. They are domed, carved in the rock without any foundations, with narrow façades and great depth. Their built-in parts are covered by domes or crossings. They are made of stone (red or black) and Theraic earth. All these materials, together with lime, create a rather thick plaster.

Theraic earth is known for its insulating properties which help carved buildings remain cool throughout summer and warm during winter. Their structure allows them to acquire different shapes and formations that are smoothly connected to each other.

A typical “iposkafo” in Santorini is built and designed in such a way so that the living room is placed at the front side, whereas the bedroom at the back. The shutter wall includes doors similarly to the outer wall (middle door, windows on the right and left side as well as a transom window above the door). The kitchen room is located within a small corner. The other parts of the structure, such as the staircases and chimneys, are of great interest as well. You may come across such buildings in Oia, Finikia, Vothona, Karterado and Pyrgos.

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