White-washing the Santorini

White-washing the Santorini leica

White-washing the Santorini

In most of the Cycladic islands, houses were painted white to reflect the harsh summer sun. So, it started for let’s say “bioclimatic” or “ecological” reasons, to make houses a little more heat resistant, with the knowledge people had at the time. All Cycladic island houses were quite well insulated, although with primitive means — walls were built with stone (enduring heat and cold very well ) while roofs (vaulted or not) were insulated too, with a combination of wood, mud, hay, and pozolanic (volcanic ash) cement. One thing to note is that walls were not painted with white paint, since white paint was fabricated and mass-produced all around the world,only after 1905 – 1915. Instead, asbestos was used to produce an almost white color. It was also used as a cheap material for many other purposes, like painting tree trunks to kill pests, making the edges of pavements more visible, ornamenting small roads, etc. This was NOT the case in Santorini but in most other Cycladic islands.

Santorini (where some examples are preserved till today) was colorful and vivid. with the use of intense red, brown-red, warm ochre, transparent cyan, a little white, light blue, brown, etc. After many centuries, color has finally become a stylistic issue in Santorini, rather than a practical one. Unfortunately all this changed in Santorini in the 1967 – 1974 period, when a military government was in power in Greece. For clearly political reasons (it brought to mind certain political concepts) all houses had to be re-painted white by law, as were houses elsewhere on the island. In contrast, church domes were already painted blue in most of the cases. So, after some decades, the blue and white combination, along with the preexisting colors of the Greek flag and the preexisting colors in other islands too, became the strongest “trademark” of the Greek Cycladic islands, Santorini included.

圣托里尼(希腊文:Σαντορίνη)是在希腊大陆东南200公里的爱琴海上由一群火山组成的岛环,位于北纬 36.40° —东经 25.40°。圣托里尼岛环上最大的一个岛也叫圣托里尼岛,别名锡拉岛(Θήρα)。圣托里尼岛位于基克拉泽斯群岛的最南端,面积约73平方公里,人口约一万四千余人,多为希腊人。“圣托里尼”是十三世纪时威尼斯人所命名的,起源于圣·爱莲(義大利語:Santa Irene);在此前这个岛称为锡拉岛、卡利斯提(Καλλίστη,在古希臘語意為“最美”)或斯特隆基里(Στρογγύλη)。岛上建筑蓝白相间,衬以蔚蓝大海,美不胜收,是著名旅游胜地。

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