This week’s photo challenge is about perspective: post a photo which is not what it seems to be. Or show two photos, each one showing a different angle or interpretation of the same subject.
Sirenically seductive ~ majestic caldera walls, glistening blue Aegean water, infinite azure skies and high-priced caves. Yes, caves.
I saw these unique historical houses on the island of Santorini. Called “cave houses”, many have been preserved and renovated in the town of Oia.
The early residents of Santorini worked in sea trading and exports. In order to be close to their work (and spot unfriendly ship invasions), they chose to live on the caldera edge. Wealthy ship captains built mansions on the island proper but ship hands and sailors built hyposkafa, or “cave houses”, carved into the soft pumice stone of the cliff-sides.
Hyposkafa were easy to build and provided protection from the harsh winter winds and weather. The natural insulation of the earthen walls regulated the interior temperature year-round. It was simpler to excavate the mountain than to carry or buy the building materials ( back then, the main means of transportation was the donkey).
The cave size was fitted to the needs of the family but limited by natural obstacles, like big rocks. When young adults were ready to start their own families, they would either build an additional room or, if there was enough space, build a new cave house next to the old one.
Today the caldera area is protected by very strict building regulations in order to keep the traditional look and architecture. Original cave entries, openings framed in volcanic stone, dot the cliffside, tucked into the renovated luxury digs that float through time between the last volcanic eruption and the next.