one of the best-known of the cyclades, differs
from the other islands in the group thanks to
its geological morphology, the results of action
by a volcano now dormant. The landscape on the
western side of the island, where towering cliffs
crowned by tiny and blindingly white houses plunge
straight into the depths of the sea.
steep coastline of the west is countered by the
vast beaches of teh east side, some of them sandy
and others with pebbles. From the landing-place,
Skala, we can climb up to Fira, the capital, on
foot or on donkey-back. There is a funicular railway
for those who wish to avoid the hundreds of steps.
Fira is very attractive, with winding narrow streets,
arcades and a quarter where the Catholic nobility
once dwelt. There is a most important Museum,
with prehistoric finds (monstly pottery), a large
collection of vases dating from the 7th and 6th
centuries BC (including the pieces known as 'Thera
ware'), a few Archaic and Classical pieces, and
some Hellenistic and Roman sculptures and portraits.
is a superb view out from Fira to the Kaenes,
the two islets of black stone created by the volcano.
The islets can be visited by launch. Ancient Thira
is a site of great archaeological interest which
was ocupied by Phoenicians, Dorians, Romans, and
Byzantines. Down the centre of the city runs the
Sacred Way. The buildings include groups of houses,
market-places, baths, theatres, sanctuaries, the
residence of Ptolemy Euergetes, tombs of the Archaic
and Classical periods and Early Christian remains.
On the surrounding rocks the names of the god
Apollo and of men and boys are inscribed in the
ancient alphabet of Thira.
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