Built on the foothills of Profitis Ilias, after which its monastery was named Pyrgos constitutes together with its medieval castle one of the most significant sights of the island. In 1995, it was declared “classified historic monument” and it is inhabited throughout the whole year. It is surrounded by vineyards, as well as many beautiful chapels and churches. In this settlement you may find two museums, restaurants and taverns, cafés, hotels, some wineries you can visit, shops, gas stations etc.
It was built based on the structural patterns of the Kasteli in Skaros over the last decades of the 18th century. Most of its houses were narrow and elongated with a common partition wall. They usually had two or three floors. There was only one entrance at the west side of the castle, which was closed when danger was lurking around the castle during the night. There was a murder hole over the entrance filled with boiling oil which was also called “meutriere”. In its original shape the settlement was characterised by a compact and fortified building structure. Its precise shape remains unknown. It is rather possible, though, that it originated from a monastery area built around the church of Virgin Mary. When the danger of pirate attacks was over, the settlement expanded even further to the area outside the castle. Consequently, the outer buildings that constituted the castle’s ‘walling’ started having balconies, doors and windows. The densely-populated area that was developed outside the castle was then named “Kseporto”.
You can enter the castle via the domed gate near the small pebbled square where the church of St. Nicholas is located. At the centre of the castle the dominant figure of the church of Virgin Mary in the Temple attracts every visitor’s attention along with the small beautiful square that offers a magnificent view of the island. Opposite this church lies the chapel of the Holy Trinity that hosts an Ecclesiastical Collection. You can keep on walking through these two churches towards a small triangular headland. Further down you can walk by a passage at the beginning of which there is a stairway: this stairway leads to a big headland that designates Kasteli’s north end, where you can stop for a moment to enjoy the breathtaking view of the island. “Theotokaki” (14th century) is one of the oldest churches of the castle and island itself and it is well-known for its artistically exquisite temple.
GOOD FRIDAY IN PYRGOS
On Good Fridays thousands of people are gathered in the village to attend the Procession of the bier of Christ. Just before the Procession starts local children, who have already taken their seat in bulwarks and terraces, light with matches thousands of cans they have placed a couple of days ago in different parts of Kasteli and the village. The image of Pyrgos, that looks as if it has been burst into flames, is really spectacular.
Watch the video in www.santorini.gr/index.php?/epitafios
– You will find detailed information about the settlement in the website created by Estia Pyrgou. www.santorinipyrgos.com.
– Pyrgos has got its own fully interactive iPad application.