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Fira, the capital of Santorini
The island capital of Santorini, Fira clings to the edge of a cliff, which is, in fact, the rim of the crater. It is 900 feet above the landing port and about 800 broad, zigzagged steps up from the port. You either take the donkeys or mules up the winding steps or modern-day travellers prefer the cable car. Climbing the steps with a mule had been a tradition on Santorini for years, until 10 years ago when the cable car made its appearance. The Swiss-made cable car, also known as the "teleferique," was installed as a gift from the wealthy Santorini ship owner Nomikos, whose ships are regular customers to the island. This made things easier for tourists who had luggage to carry with them as the mules were overworked. Of course, the mule owners did not loose completely on the deal as a percentage of the money earned from the cable car is given to the mule owners. Fira is a comparatively modern town, with houses built mostly during the 19th century when the old Venetian capital at Skaros became untenable due to earthquakes. The architecture is a jumble of Cycladic and Venetian, side by side, the similarities between the two being the stark whiteness. The impact of Aegean tourism has made itself felt in Fira, judging from the abundance of taverns, hotels, discotheques and shops. It is the largest town on the island and has gained preference with travellers because it is central and access to other parts of Santorini is made easy by either taxi or bus. From Their you can indulge in some inspiring coastal walks. Wondering through the white cob bled streets of Fira, a town of about 2,000 inhabitants; one gets the feel of the old-world charm blended in with the modern day comforts. The town's archaeological museum is crammed with finds from excavations at Akrotiri. But besides being so interesting archaeologically, Santorini is essentially a beauty spot, an island whose cliffs seem to glow under an exceptionally clear light all day, but which at sunset glow redly, evoking that vast explosion more than 3.000 years ago.

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Additional Photos by fragiskos prekas (fragis) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 56 W: 0 N: 61] (702)
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