Megalochori, meaning large village, probably got its name before the advent of tourism with Fira and Oia stealing the show. Home to historic mansions, old traditional houses and wine canavas, it has a rich history of merchants and wealthy land barons exporting the Vinsanto wine that the island still proudly produces. A prominent feature of the historical mansions are their high walls, inner courtyards and solid wooden doors, built for privacy and safety against marauding pirates. A great effort is been made by locals to preserve the beauty and special characteristics of this traditional settlement and many of the original houses have been restored to their former glory. Around the main square of this predominantly vineyard village, are taverns and cafes, and spiraling out in all directions is a maze of winding cobbled streets, just waiting to be discovered. Megalochori attracts a fair number of tourist who choose it as a handy base for exploring the island: it is not far from Fira, and within close distance to Akrotiri and the beaches of Perissa, Perivolos, Agios Georgios and Vlihada on the south coast.