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New photo archive on Santorini

Over the last decade, a team of volunteers has been putting together an archive aimed at preserving, recording and digitizing the cultural heritage of the popular Cycladic island of Santorini.

The Santorini Archive Project – the work of Lefteris Zorzos, Anastasia Platanioti and Nikos Korakakis – brings together thousands of images from the 19th and 20th centuries, gleaned from different archives and private collections, which tell the story of life on the island before the advent of mass tourism.

The photos include rare shots of the aftermath of the two deadly earthquakes that struck Santorini on July 9, 1956, killing 53 people, seriously injuring more than 100 and flattening much of the island. One photograph by Nikos Valavanides, possibly taken on July 10, shows how a central street in the main town of Fira was reduced to rubble, capturing the destruction caused by the earthquake and the uphill struggle to rebuild the island.

Zorzos and his team are also putting together a series of events and a publication in cooperation with the National Bank of Greece – marking the institution’s 180-year presence on the island – together with the Estia cultural association of Pyrgos and the Theraic Society of Sciences, Letters and Arts.