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Shopping


Shopping

There is a very small group of stores and galleries that I recommend on Santorini, which has not quite yet reached the level of Mykonos as a hub of high-quality shopping.

Dimitris & Aspasia Akron Art Centre

Akron Art Centre

Adjacent Megalochori village, on the main Phira/Akrotiri road Tel/Fax: 22860 82002; akron-art@otenet.gr

Classically trained artists Dimitris Bellos and Aspasia Vovola specialize in “life-sized” reproductions of wall paintings and ceramics from Ancient Akrotiri and Ancient Thera, as well as archaic Greek art from farther afield. The center at Megalochori serves also as an exhibition space for other renowned artists, and will soon be home to an amphitheatrical, outdoor theater as well.

Atlantis Books

Oia, Main Street; Tel: 22860 72346; www.atlantisbooks.org

This is just the most charming and literate bookstore for travelers in the Cyclades, at least to my knowledge. It's located down a Hobbit-like flight of steps, within a cave, and I'd love to get the owners to allow me to move in, leaving all their books behind them. Stop in and promote reading! Also, ask the owners for my books on Greece still in print: Greek Unorthodox: Bande a Part & A Farewell To Ikaros; and Vanishing Greece. Note also: the Atlantis also offers visitors some accommodation in Oia, so call or e-mail for further information.

The Bead Shop Phira

The Bead Shop

Phira, near the Museum of Prehistoric Thira; Tel: 22860 25176, 24219; tsiagkouris@yahoo.com

Marina Tsiagkouri and Alexander Ilic just had this darling, dynamite little premise: stock, in a supremely orderly fashion, a vast array of beautiful Greek beads in fired clay, wood, and glass and. . .they will come, and make bracelets, necklaces, earrings, etc., etc., etc. They also carry really great Evil Eye charms, worrybeads, and other small, appealing souvenirs. Make a bracelet for a godchild, with her name spelled in Greek letters, just for example, while you’re there. . .The sky’s the limit.

My Good Friend, Ranya, at Books & Style

Books & Style

Main "Square" in Fira; Tel/Fax 22860 24510; www.bookstyle.gr

This is a fine book and gift shop featuring the very best Greek publishers have to offer philhellene visitors. There are also "intelligent toys," classic writing materials, coffee table books, cards. . .and light and serious reading for all tastes. Plus, Dean's and my longtime friend, the gorgeous Ranya, is almost always on site!

Andreas Alefragis Goulas Studio

Goulas Ceramic Art Studio

Goulas neighborhood of Firostefani, near Nomikos Center; Tel/Fax: 22860 24750

Talented local ceramicist Andreas Alefragís shows the most striking modern ceramic work on Santorini at his spacious studio/showroom. His preferred genre is Raku, and his pieces range from the largely practical (bowls, hanging lamps, vases) to sculptures, tiles and monumental pieces echoing Akrotirian forms. He’s just around the bend from the Nomikos Center, where you can view reproductions of the Akrotiri wall paintings, so don’t miss stopping in.

Mrs. Maria Keramydas, & sons

Greco Gold

Phira, on the main “Gold Street”; Tel: 22860 23156; Tel/Fax: 22860 22460

Mr. Stefanos Keramydas, his wife, Maria, and their twin sons, Alcibiades and Andreas, have been family friends for decades, and I have always bought jewelry designed by Athenian jeweler Minas through Stefanos, as he was one of the first to carry this designer’s work. Stop in to see Minas’s incomparable modern pieces in gold and silver but look, as well, at work here in gold filigree, Cycladic sailing-ship earrings in gold and enamel, crosses, authentic Byzantine designs and modern pieces featuring gemstones. Konstantino Sioulas’s etched, Byzantine pieces are also to be found here (www.konstantinotreasures.com) Give the Keramydases my regards, and Maria a hug!

Morning Reading Material

International Press Shop, “Euro”

Phira (on the main road/square) Tel: 22860 25301; Tel/Fax: 22860 24302

This is the place for foreign-language newspapers and magazines, foreign language- and guide books, books on Santorini, stationery and all other writing and office supplies. They usually carry copies of my and photographer Clay Perry’s book, “Vanishing Greece,” as well as a guide produced by Athinorama, in Athens, titled “Santorini Guide 2009 (or ’10, or ’11),” which is the best way to read up on what clubs and bars are hot this year.

Greek musical instruments at Kisiris

Kisiris Earth & Sound

On the main street up to the caldera promenade in Fira; Tel 22860; Fax 22860 23930; www.kisiris.gr

This is a delicious little gift shop full of handmade goodies: jewelry, pottery, musical instruments, wind chimes, aromatics and sculptures (have a look at their online site for a pre-taste of Kisiris's workshop's offerings). Give Marianna Vazeou my greetings: her front window should be plastered with "Recommended by GreeceTraveler" stickers. . .for good reason.

Collage At Koukla

Koukla: Room for Art

Phira, in the Fabrica Shopping Cente; Tel/Fax 22860 28326; www.koukla-art.com; info@koukla-art.com

Koukla, Greek for “doll,” or, perhaps, in this case, “mannequin,” is an airy little gallery of avant-garde jewelry (very affordable) and charming, ironic, iconic sculptures, in cardboard and “found objects,” by Athenian artist Lazaros Zikos: irresistible.

Sculptor Yiorgos Kypris Mati

Mati Gallery

Phira, in the Fabrica Shopping Center (adjacent the Cathedral); Tel: 22860 23814; Tel/Fax: 22860 24031; mati@otenet.gr; www.matiartgallery.gr

This is just the very best Santorini has to offer. Yiorgos Kypris’s small gallery exhibits and offers for sale his own remarkable sculptures—usually fish-and-sea-themed—in addition to the work, in gold, titanium, silver and precious stones, of a select group of internationally renowned Greek jewelers, notably Elena Votsi, Christina Soubli, Nikos Papadopoulos, Vassilis Vassiliou, and Sarina Beza.

Iconographer Katerina Ioannidou

Museum Megaron Gyzi Katerina Ioannidou Icon Workshop

Phira, contact through the Megaron Gyzi Museum; Tel: 22860 23077, 24596; Tel/Fax 22860 82676; iconart@otenet.gr

Katerina Ioannidou is a humble, immensely talented, somewhat iconoclastic Greek iconographer, and we have bought some 15 of her gorgeous hand-painted icons-on-wood over the years (especially her martial female saints). Ioannidou’s work is exhibited internationally, and the Museum Megaron Gyzi maintains a permanent exhibition of her pieces, which are traditionally produced using Byzantine techniques, in egg tempera and 24-karat gold on wood. (Note: Katerina is no longer keeping regular hours at the Gyzi, as she works on large commissions at churches throughout the island, but check in at the museum bookshop for information on how best to find her.)

Werner Hempels Work New Art

New Art

Phira, several locations; Tel/Fax: 22860 23770; newart@otenet.gr

I guess I really qualify as Euro-Trash: I don’t buy T-shirts from anyone but Werner Hempel, who designs and sells these sophisticated, runic shirts (caps, etc.) on Santorini. Hempel, who hails from Cologne, Germany, has been perfecting his T-shirt design and production for over a decade now, and these shirts last! They come in subtle colors, long-sleeved and short-, and the designs are nothing short of fine art.

One of Christophoros Assimis's Otherworldly Oils of Santorini

Phenomenon Art Gallery

Phira, on the caldera-side street, Fabrika district; Tel: 22860 23041; chasimis@otenet.gr

Do not miss renowned island painter Christophoros Asimis’s evocative, light-filled island landscapes nor his wife Eleni Kolatou- Asimis’s ceramics and jewelry. Ask for directions to island churches Christophoros has embellished with frescoes: no one better captures this island’s “Greek Orthodox light.”

Santorini Photo: Pictures of Your Life

Phira, Central Square Tel: 22860 24382; info@santoriniphoto.gr; www.santoriniphoto.gr

Photographer Christos Antoniadis is very talented at immortalizing your big events on Santorini (just take a look at the wedding photos on his website). Also available here: Photo Editing, Photo Accessories, Video Capturing and Editing, High Def DVD Development and Editing, Online Album Development, Event Photography, Scanning . . . and very friendly service.

Traditional Weaving Mill

Oia, Main Street; Tel: 22860 72000

Open 9:00 a.m. till 2:00 p.m.; 6:00 p.m.till 9 p.m., in season; workshop open all year round.

Catercorner from Atlantis Books is my favorite shopping destination in Oia, run by the municipality to promote and preserve the traditional arts and crafts of this section of the island. I come here every year to buy traditional Greek rag-rugs, or kourelouthes, in gorgeous colors, but you will also find curtains, tablecloths, cushion covers and other woven and hand-stitched-and-embroidered treasures here. Please support these wonderful craftspeople, as theirs are the true arts of a vanishing Greece.

Greek Orthodox Votive Offerings

Xristianiki Bibliothiki (Christian Bookstore)

Phira (in arcade beneath the Commercial Bank); Tel: 22860 28499

This sweet little shop, where you may often find Andonis Apergi, carries Greek Orthodox icons (on wood and paper), rosaries, books, incense, beeswax candles and some ecclesiastical items wrought in precious metals. It’s a good place to find information on Orthodoxy, and the shop smells heavenly.

Counter Help On Santorini