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- Oia Cave Houses

Oia typifies the white-painted houses of the Cyclades, in many cases built directly into niches which are cave houses used by crew of the ships, on the lip of the volcanic crater, between which are narrow alleys and blue-roofed churches with cupolas. The wealthy ship captains of the late 19th century built neo-classicalmansions. These houses are seen built in succession one above the other.
In 1976 the town was included in the programme for preservation and development of traditional settlements of the Greek National Tourism Organisation under Aris Konstantinidis. Over 15 years, the programme sought to preserve, restore and find new uses for selected houses and architectural ensembles representative of traditional Greek architecture. Many of the cave houses, simple seamen's houses on the edge of the caldera, became guest-houses, hotels and restaurants.
For their work in Oia, the Greek National Tourism Organisation received the Europa Nostra Prize in 1979 and the Prize of the Architecture Biennale in Sofia in 1986.
Oia Community is working with geologists at the University of Athens and the University of Thessaloniki to map the geology of the area and evaluate ground stability, and the President of the Community has restricted construction to minimise risk from future earthquakes.
The town is noted for its white and blue domed houses. The houses are painted in white lime water so that the rainwater which falls over it runs down and can be collected. The other reason for painting the houses white is for aesthetic purposes. The other explanation given is that during the Ottoman rule of Greece, which lasted for over 400 years, Greeks were not allowed to fly their white flag. In defiance, in Oia they painted their entire housing complex in white with domes giving the village an effective white perspective and elegance. Impressive houses in the town are those "cliff houses" built in the niches carved into the caldera slopes with provision of air-filled pumice which provides insulation benefits to the building, keeping it warm in winter and cool in summer.

Oia typifies the white-painted houses of the Cyclades, in many cases built directly into niches which are cave houses used by crew of the ships, on the lip of the volcanic crater, between which are narrow alleys and blue-roofed churches with cupolas. The wealthy ship captains of the late 19th century built neo-classicalmansions. These houses are seen built in succession one above the other.
In 1976 the town was included in the programme for preservation and development of traditional settlements of the Greek National Tourism Organisation under Aris Konstantinidis. Over 15 years, the programme sought to preserve, restore and find new uses for selected houses and architectural ensembles representative of traditional Greek architecture. Many of the cave houses, simple seamen's houses on the edge of the caldera, became guest-houses, hotels and restaurants.
For their work in Oia, the Greek National Tourism Organisation received the Europa Nostra Prize in 1979 and the Prize of the Architecture Biennale in Sofia in 1986.
Oia Community is working with geologists at the University of Athens and the University of Thessaloniki to map the geology of the area and evaluate ground stability, and the President of the Community has restricted construction to minimise risk from future earthquakes.
The town is noted for its white and blue domed houses. The houses are painted in white lime water so that the rainwater which falls over it runs down and can be collected. The other reason for painting the houses white is for aesthetic purposes. The other explanation given is that during the Ottoman rule of Greece, which lasted for over 400 years, Greeks were not allowed to fly their white flag. In defiance, in Oia they painted their entire housing complex in white with domes giving the village an effective white perspective and elegance. Impressive houses in the town are those "cliff houses" built in the niches carved into the caldera slopes with provision of air-filled pumice which provides insulation benefits to the building, keeping it warm in winter and cool in summer.
Source: Wikipedia.org

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