It is estimated that 600 churches were built on the island – most of them after the 1956 earthquake. 50 of these churches are dedicated to Virgin Mary!
Most of them are characterized by folk architecture of a unique style. Big white surfaces in the form of cubes, parallels, octagonal prisms, spheres and cylinders dominate. There are no architectural ornaments, while openings are few and small. However, there are also several large churches built in the end of the 9th century. Typical examples include Panagia (Virgin Mary) of Bellonias in Fira and Aghios Georgios (Saint George) in Oia, before the earthquake. They are based on Byzantine and Classical Greek architectural standards.
The temples are both above and under the ground. They are usually small and simple with no decoration, built with local materials. The simplest architectural type is the Basilica, single aisled, marble roofed or with a dome, two aisled (more rare type with Saint Irene of Perissa built before the 12th century as a typical example).
Worth visiting are the monastery of Prophet Elias near Pyrgos and the monastery of Saint Nicholas in Imerovigli.