La Ponta is located in a 13th century Venetian tower, within the castle of Akrotiri. It boasts an exquisite panoramic view of the island and is 1km above the pre-historic archaeological site of Akrotiri, Santorini. Today, few fragments remain of the Castle, while the tower which dominates the hilltop exists in a much altered state due to the ravages of time and a devastating earthquake which occurred in 1956.
During the middle ages, Akrotiri constituted just one of the five castles [kastelia] on the island and was named La Ponta, Latin for “the peak”. During the Ottoman period the tower was called Goulas from the Turkish “kule” which means “Tower”. After the fall of Constantinople in 1204 to the crusaders, the sovereigns distributed the provinces of the empire. The Cyclades were awarded to the Venetians, and in 1207 Markos Sanudo founded the Duchy of the Archipelago.
It is speculated that the tower was erected in the beginning of 13th century by the Barozzis who controlled the island from 1207 to 1335 (with the exception of the period 1261-1296 when the island was recovered by the Byzantine emperor Michail Palaiologo). In 1335, the tower reverted to the sovereignty of the duchy of the Aegean, under the possession of the Duke of Naxos Nikolaos Sanudo who also occupied Santorini.
In 1336 N. Sanudo granted the building to the family Gozzadini, which had originated from Bologna. The fact that Gozzadini hailed from Bologna and not from Venice, which was at war with the Ottoman empire, in addition to the castle’s fortifications allowed the family to maintain possession of the castle for a long period, even while the rest of the island fell under the Turks in 1566.
Akrotiri came under Ottoman control in 1617 and remained in their possession until 1822, when it finally passed into the hands of the Greeks. The current owners inherited the tower in 1955 and lived there until 1995. From 1995 until 2012 the tower lay empty.
In 2012 Argy Kakissis and Yannis Pantazis privately funded the internal preservation of the tower and established “La Ponta,” the Greek Bagpipe Exhibition and Workshop. Subsequently they submitted a proposal for the restoration of the existing part of the tower, and the reconstruction of the second floor as it was before the earthquake of 1956. The architectural plans are shown below.
Until early 2015 this plan was under development, however the tower’s owners declared their intention to re inhabit the property in the near future and the restoration ceased.
It is hoped that Argy and Yannis vision and hard work will inspire the owners to continue to work to restore the tower to its former glory.
The tower hosts a tsabouna – Greek folk wind instrument of the bagpipe family – exhibition along with traditional Greek percussion and ﬂutes. In workshops they construct the tsabouna, various traditional and ancient Greek ﬂutes and the Cycladic drum doubaki. Handcrafted musical instruments, unique books, prints and rare artifacts may be acquired in our shop. Daily guided tours explore the history of the tower, the origin of the tsabouna and offer a live interactive presentation of the instruments constructed in the workshop.
As part of our effort to promote the cultural identity of Greece La Ponta presents the evening concert series “Sounds from the Castle”. Summer 2017 from May until October.
Daily ancient Greek flute making workshop. Make your own pan flute in 1 hour. Great for children and adults. Everyone will learn, make and play their own flute. “Sign up here”