If you’re in Santorini, get a book from Atlantis, the most beautiful bookstore in the world
Craig Walzer has set up a temple on the volcano overlooking the island of Santorini. It is located in Oia and you should definitely visit it.
When you arrive you will find yourself going down some narrow, white stairs to to find yourself emerged in a small heaven, a Promise Land, made of books. Small, big, thin or thick, fitted on benches and shelves, they swirl around the space like small flying winged friends who welcome you after a long journey.
On the ceiling you will find another swirl of hand written names of people who worked and volunteered to build the Atlantis bookstore in Oia Santorini, putting it in their hearts forever.
Many people walk down these steps to visit this unique bookstore. And not just to buy the books, mainly foreign-language books. They visit to spend time in this delightful place, reading and talking with the staff who are willing and friendly, especially with Craig Walzer, one of Atlantis’s founders and residents, of this incredible bookstore that the Guardian says is the best on the planet.
We can assure you there is no better attendant than Craig. All it takes is one look in the eye and a couple of questions – to find out what kind of person you are – and as a gifted psychoanalyst he immediately finds the right solution to your quest and the perfect book for your situation!
Once the majority of the people had left, he served 2 glasses with some local Raki, we sat down in the lush green backyard and answered the classic question of all times.
How did it all start?
In 2002, I was on this island with my friend Oliver. It was a lovely April and the atmosphere was quiet, beautiful, perfect for playing chess and enjoying the view of the Caldera. We had been here for about a week and we had finished all the books we had taken with us for reading. Almost desperate for this situation, we started drinking at a local tavern because we had nothing else to do. Then I came up with the idea to open a bookstore in Santorini so that no one would have to drink so much because of the lack of books. After returning to our countries and after some time we met six friends who joined us in this adventure and we returned to Santorini in 2004 and built the original bookstore almost from scratch.
So you didn’t start right here?
No, the first Atlantis Bookstore was in the Castle at the end of the village. It really looked like a cave, with some stunning views: it was like a cave dipping into the sunset. Things were a bit ‘primitive’, of course, in this three-level building. For example, there was no kitchen and we were cooking in the fire. There was also no running water….
So why did you abandoned your original base?
The owner has decided to convert it in to a tourist destination. From the beginning, however, he had informed us that this was the original goal. So we knew this was going to happen at some point it, but we had decided to take advantage of our limited time in this “cave” because it was a wonderful opportunity and we didn’t want to miss out.
So what happened after you left the old bookstore?
We were looking for a new space, so we found the one we are standing in now. This place had not been used since the earthquake and was full of rubble. But despite its apparent disadvantages, it was much closer to Oia so we could easily become part of this village. So we decided to move in 2005 and we’ve been here ever since……
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