The blue-domed churches of Santorini are probably one of the most recognisable monuments in Greece. You’ll find them on the island of Santorini with some of the most well-known and photographed in the town of Oia. The island is peppered with hundreds of chapels and churches and dozens of them feature the distinguishing blue domes and whitewashed walls. So, whether you are planning a visit or just want to brush up your knowledge, here are some of the most interesting facts about the blue domed church in Santorini, Greece.
7 Interesting Facts about the Blue Domed Church in Santorini, Greece
1. The blue dome churches are built on the slope of the caldera
The island of Santorini was built up by layers of lava. Major volcanic eruptions formed overlapping calderas (collapsed magma chambers). In the town of Oia, the two most famous blue-domed churches are built on the steep slope of the caldera. That shimming sea in the background is The Aegean Sea.
2. The blue and white colours are the same as the Greek flag
The bright blue domes atop bright whitewashed walls are strikingly beautiful and are a major tourist attraction not just in Oia but all across Santorini. But the buildings weren’t always these colours. During the Greek junta or Regime of the Colonels from 1967 – 1974, the military government set out to uniform the landscape. To comply, people started painting the buildings blue and white, the colours of the Greek flag. This then started to become a trademark of Greece and drew a lot of tourists. Now, you’ll find blue and white buildings on lots of postcards from all over Greece.
3. ‘Cupolas’ is a fancier word for the domes
The domes are called ‘cupolas’. This is an architectural term meaning a small, dome-like structure on top of a building.
4. The most popular blue-domed churches are in Oia
The domes that you see in most of the photos belong to the churches of Agios Spiridonas (Saint Spyridon) and Anastasios (the Church of the Resurrection) in Oia.
5. The churches are a very popular sunset spot
The churches’ location provides breathtaking views of the sunset over the caldera. As you can imagine, this is a very popular spot for watching the sunset and getting that quintessential photo of Santorini. Crowds fill the streets during the high season. To beat the crowds, get here for sunrise or visit between November and April.
6. The rooftops are strictly off-limits
The blue-domed churches of Oia, as well as the surrounding rooftops, are private property and strictly off-limits. Be respectful and do not cross the barriers or ignore the ‘private’ signs.
7. There are quite a few blue dome churches to visit
The most popular of the blue dome churches are the two in Oia. However, the island has lots of lovely blue-domed churches. For instance, St Gerasimos Orthodox Church in Firostefani has an impressive blue-coloured dome. Agioi Theodoroi Church (Saints Theodore Church) also has a postcard-perfect blue dome. If it is open to the public when you visit, it is well worth a look inside. The Church of Panagia Platsani is another beautiful church and it is located in the main square in Oia. The Monastery of Agios Nikolaos in Santorini is located between the villages of Firostefani and Imerovigli. It dates from 1651 and today it is a museum.