New Santorini, June 2019 – click any image for full size
Once upon a time within the Calas Galadhon park regions lay a tribute to Santorini, the largest island of a archipelago in the southern Aegean Sea. Officially called Thira (Thera in classic Greek), the island is world-renowned for the brilliant, white-washed walls of its buildings – most keenly, perhaps, exemplified by photographs of the principal city, Fira.
Obviously scaled-down, the Calas tribute to Santorini was nevertheless a marvellous build. So, when in 2014, Ty Tenk and Truck Meredith, owners of the Calas park regions, announced the Santorini build would be closing at the end of that year (see A farewell to Santorini, December 2014), the news was greeted with disappointment among Calas Galadhon fans – myself among them.
However, in April 2019, Tapped me with a photo of him standing in one of the Santorini terraces looking up at the distinctive houses and with the comment, “Just thought you’d enjoy seeing what we are working on 🙂 still a big secret but I know you loved the original ..all mesh 🙂 “. To say I was excited would be an understatement.
The new build – called, appropriately enough, New Santorini – was unveiled by invitation only on May 25th, 2019 – and Caitlyn and I were fortunate enough to be along those invited, although we were like all the guests, asked to keep quiet about what we saw until after the public unveiling, which took place on the weekend of June 1st / 2nd, 2019.
Located on the Calas “holiday regions” of Eriador and Erebor, New Santorini recaptures almost everything from the original (although the waterfront café / events area has been replaced by a new open-air events area called Phoenix, sitting across the water from the main build, and within Erebor (Santorini itself lies within Eriador). However, being mesh and finely designed and implemented New Santorini offers much for explorers to discover both within its whitewashed walls and on and under the surrounding waters.
The landing point lies off to the east side of the region, within a semi-submerged cave. Follow the signs, and you’ll be led from this cave to a watery footpath that will present you with your first view of Santorini and the new events area (you may have to pump your draw distance up to see both, if your computer can handle things). This paths passes the gateway and steps leading down to the submerged gardens of Thera – an attraction in their own right, and again seeing a happy return (with a few revisions) as an ideal for merfolk to enjoy – although folk with legs are free to explore them as well.
The town offers a lot to see: terraces offer places to sit and to dance, stairs climb between houses and buildings, plants offer bright bursts of colour and cafés beckon the weary. Around the base of the main island and on the surrounding islets are hints of a much older civilisation, echoing Minoan Thera. Some of these are best seen from the automated boat tour around the islands that starts at the Santorini end of the long, low causeway linking the island with the Phoenix events area.
One aspect of the town that should not be missed is the updated interiors of many of the houses. These represent a fine mix of different historical / cultural styles that are a complete delight to see, each one decorated, I understand, by Truck.
Just how long new Santorini will remain is uncertain, and Ty candidly informed me.
We weren’t sure how we were going to show it off. We wanted it to be a special build, but we weren’t sure people would let us pack it up! But these are the regions we use for the holidays and our other special builds … although [as] both [Erebor and Eriador] are full regions now, we could put our special sky builds above where we have the [Phoenix] venue now. I’ve kept scripts down on Erebor to make room for builds above, so we’re still mulling it over.
– Ty Tenk on the new Santorini build and the future
However, the fact that it is back is a cause for celebration, and if you never got to see the original build (first built back in the days when prims were everything), then I cannot recommend finding the time to partake an excursion to New Santorini enough.
As it is, Phoenix will be the focus for all of the planned Calas musical events through June. These start on Sunday, June 2nd, at 14:00 SLT with Samm Qendra, and will include Reggie Sunset, Savannah Rain, Djembe Dragonfire, Voodoo Shilton, Antonio Galloway and Chapman Zane. There will also be two special themed FlyGearz events in June – Toga & Greek Mythology and Pirates. To stay informed of all Calas Galadhon events, be sure to check out the Calas Galadhon website and the Calas in-world group.
- New Santorini (Eriador, rated Moderate)