SAMOS (Second Part) - Live your myth in Greek island
For the first part please follow the link: Samos 1st part
The island's capital, Samos (Vathy), is built amphitheatrically around the harbor (Vathy), an inlet in the homonymous gulf. Exhibited in its museum are finds from excavations of the German Archaeological Institute at various sites on the island: Prehistoric, Geometric and Archaic pottery, wooden objects, sculpture, artefacts of ivory and bronze, votives and clay figurines. There is also a Museum of Ecclesiastical Art in town, a Byzantine Collection, Art Gallery, Folk Museum and Municipal Library. In the immediate environs are the monasteries of the Life-giving Source (18th century) and Holy Girdle (17th century) with intricately carved iconoostases and important icons. 10 km. south of Samos is Pythagoreion, colloquially known as Tigani (frying pan) on account of its shape, a name which prevailed from the 16th century until 1955. Prior to that it was called Samos. Excavations carried out by the German Archaeological Institute on the hill of the ancient acropolis have furnished evidence of occupation in prehistoric times, circa 3000 BC. The city was enclosed by a wall (6400 m. in perimeter) and Polykrates is accredited with its construction. Even today certain sections of it, towers and gates, are still quite well served. This wall girt the east mole of the harbor, the Kastelli hill, Ambelos hill and the monastery of the Virgin Spiliani, the hill on which the Kastro of Logothetis stands, and is reinforced by some 35 bastions. Adjacent to the Kastro of Logothetis, a fortification erected between 1822/24, stands the church of the Transfiguration, built in 1833 to commemorate the island's salvation in 1824.
The Eupalineion aqua duct is one of the major feats of ancient engineering designed by Eupalinos from Megara and commissioned by the tyrant Polykrates who wished to convey water into the city from the source in the Ayades region. The aqua duct was discovered in 1881. In 1971 excavations revealed both interesting finds and fascinating details concerning its construction. Another of the town's sights is the Panaghia Spiliani cave, very near the chapel of the Virgin Spiliani.
6 km, south of Pythagoreion is the Heraion, the island's most important sanctuary in antiquity where the goddess Hera was worshipped. In the course of excavations directed by E. Buschor various buildings have been brought to light, remnants of altars (from the 10th century BC) and temples belonging to different chronological phases, the earliest being of 8th century date. This temple was replaced in the middle of the 7th century BC by a larger edifice, work of the Samian architect Roikos and regarded as one of the Seven Wonders of the ancient world, which was destroyed by fire in 538 BC. Rebuilding commenced during the reign of Polykrates but today all that remains is a single column "in situ". The road west of Vathy leads to Karlovasi and some 10 km. beyond Samos, in this same direction, is the lovely seaside village of Kokkari with churches to the Virgin and 81. Nicholas. Karlovasi is situated 32 km. northwest of Samos and is the second largest town on the island, a sprawling yet picturesque conurbation. The church of the Virgin at Potami, 2 km. from Karlovasi, dates from the 11th century and replaced an Early Christian basilica of the 6th century. South of Karlovasi, beyond the village of Leka, is the monastery of Prophet Elijah (founded in the 17th century) and to the west, nestling in the foothills of mount Kerki, are the monasteries of the Annunciation (10th century) and the Dormition of the Virgin, close to the village of Kosmadaioi. At the entrance to the nearby Sarantaskaliotissa cave is a chapel to the Virgin.
The cave of Pythagoras, higher up, where Pythagoras is traditionally reputed to have sought refuge, was also used by ascetics in Early Christian times. At Kallithea, on the far west of the island, are churches of Saint Charalambos, in which there are 14th century wall paintings, and the Virgin of Makrine (inside a cave in a virtually inaccessible location), in which there are also 14th century wailings. South of Kallithea, at Palaiochori, there is the remote monastery of 81. John, beside the sea. However, the island's most important monasteries are to the west of Vathy (25 km.) on the road to Pyrgos: those of the Holy Cross (Stavros) and the Great Virgin (Megali Panaghia). The former was founded in 1582 and acquired its present aspect in 1838 when it was repaired, the iconostasis, pulpit and Episcopal throne in the katholikon date to that time. The monastery of the Great Virgin was established a little later than that of the Holy Cross and has a valuable iconostasis and wall paintings. One may descend from here to the nearby village of Myloi and thence to the Heeraion. I n the fields around the Heraion (most easily reached from Choral stands the Pyrgos of Sarakini, a three-storey, tower-like structure built in the 16th century which now belongs, along with the metochion, to the Patmos monastery of St. John the Theologian. The oldest monastery on the island that of the Virgin Brontiani, founded in 1566 is situated to the west of Samos, near the village of Vourliotes. There is yet another monastery, less well-known, in the vicinity of cape Kotsikas on the island's east coast. The region is ideal for those who enjoy exploring and seeking out tiny bays in which to swim. One may hire a boat in the nearby village of Aghia Paraskevi, with its lovely beach at Galazio, and cross to the opposite islets of Aghios Nikolaos and Makronisi (uninhabited). There are other delight- full beaches to the east of the town of Samos (6 km.) in the gulf of Myrtia. The rather remote beach at Laka is also beautiful and the offfshore islet of Kasonisi is deserted. The shores at Kokkari (10 km. west of Samos), Karlovasi, Potami, Poseidonio (7 km. southeast of Samos), along the entire coast from Psili Ammos (6 km. south of Samos) as far as the Heraion, and the beaches in the gulf of Marathokampos are all fine for swimming, fishing and sea sports. Not only can one enjoy a swim on the island of Samiopoula, off the south coast between Pythagoreion and Marathokampos, it is also possible to stay there. For those with sporty inclinations the island's mountainous hinterland is just the place for climbing, hiking I and shooting, while those with a boat can visit its more secluded coves. Refueling stations at Vathy and Pythagoreion. One is assured a comfortable stay on Samos since there are plenty of hotels, large and small but generally well Hip pointed, as well as rooms and furnished flats to let.
The below photo is from my last visit (July - August 2010). Enjoy the colors and the beaches.