The biggest village and capital of Thirasia, the small island near Santorini, has the official name Thirasia, but you will also hear it called Manolas in daily life (the other two villages are Agia Irini and Potamos). It is situated in the eastern part of the island, on the edge of the caldera and has about 160 residents. It offers unobstructed views of the volcano, Palea and Nea Kameni, but also of the entire caldera of Santorini and its villages. It is the only village on Thirasia that offers tourist accommodations for their guests, while in its narrow streets you will find a traditional wood-fired bakery, a grocery, as well as the regional clinic of the island.
The white houses are built according to the traditional architecture of Cyclades, with the particular colors of Santorini, and spread among them the visitor can admire bigger or smaller churches – the most famous of which is dedicated to Saint Constantine and was built in 1874. The churches of Agios Ioannis, Agios Charalambos, Agia Kyriaki and Agia Irene Chrisovalantou are also worth visiting. On the day of celebration of each one of these churches, Manolas hosts a traditional festival that brings together all the residents of the village.
The port of Manolas is Korfos, with its few small houses built just below the village, at sea level. For many years it was the main port of Thirasia, but nowadays most ships dock in Riva, the port of Agia Irini. However Korfos still receives the small boats from Athinios, that, during the summer months, carry daily dozens of guests.
On the waterfront there are traditional taverns serving local delicacies, such as chick peas, cherry tomatoes, ‘chloro’ cheese and sweets – ‘sykaminoglyko’, that the women of the island make out of black berries. On one end of the beach, visitors can swim in the mysterious waters of the volcano. Besides the restaurants, there are only a few traditionally built fishermen’s shelters. In order to get to Korfos from Manolas, you must descend the 270 steps of the serpentine path, either on foot or on a donkey.
While in Manolas, except from Korfos, you can also visit on foot the following places:
•Riva, through a path slightly uphill but easy
• To Ai Giannis and back, by a short, circular route with breathtaking views of the caldera
• To Potamos and Agrilia, through a path that leads to the neighboring settlement of Potamos and to the ruined village of Agrilia, where you can still see the old undercut in the rock houses
• The Monastery of Panagia, by taking a route passing through the chapel of Prophet Ilias, through Kera, another old and dilapidated village of Thirasia and that ends at the monastery, located on the cape of Tripiti, in the southernmost tip of the island