Plan Your Port: Greece’s Pátmos

By no means heard of Greece’s island of Pátmos? You’re not alone. This island is taken into account, comparatively talking, moderately difficult to get to. There’s no direct ferry from Piraeus and massive cruise ships don’t dock right here. If flying, you head to Kos or Samos, after which take a ferry to Pátmos. Being moderately sophisticated to achieve preserves the attraction of this island, which revolves round its major city of Skala, the place your tender will dock, and, up on the mountain, the historic village of Chora.

Having visited well-known Greek islands like Corfu, Mykonos and Santorini many occasions, my first go to to Pátmos stunned me. I used to be initially struck by a way of peace on this 13-square-mile isle, not simply in its countryside but in addition in its major cities.

Like lots of the islands in Greece’s Dodecanese, a bunch of 12 islands, Pátmos’ attraction lies in its whitewashed villages infused with lush, historical olive groves roamed by goats, picturesque tavernas and a collection of lovely sun-drenched seashores. What’s completely different? This hideaway for well-known celebrities and royalty is an intimate place, uncrowded and never but found by bigger cruise vessels.

From a historic perspective, Pátmos claims one of many Greek Isles’ strongest histories and is a vacation spot for pilgrims from world wide. That is the place St. John obtained his visions from God whereas exiled in a cave. These, as soon as written down, turned Revelation, the final ebook of the Bible, and it is because of this Pátmos is usually dubbed the Jerusalem of the Aegean. Each the Christian devoted and people with no spiritual beliefs in anyway go to the sacred cave together with the island’s different principal web site — the treasure-filled monastery which grew up round it (be taught extra about Pátmos’ historical past right here).

Perched excessive on a hill, the virtually 1,000-year-old Monastery of St. John is straight away seen when approaching Pátmos by sea, its imposing surrounding partitions constructed to guard it from invaders and pirates. Spilling down the hill from right here is the island’s capital, Chora, an enthralling and atmospheric maze of passageways peppered with late medieval church buildings and grand villas constructed by the island’s wealthiest residents centuries in the past. Collectively, the cave, monastery and historic city make up this Dodecanese island’s trio of UNESCO World Heritage Websites.

Cultural, spiritual and historic significance apart, lovely Pátmos can be an island for nature lovers. Surrounded by the colourful marine blues of the Aegean, behind the port of Skala you’ll discover dramatic cliffs, tiny coves and swaths of unspoiled countryside crossed by strolling trails. Right here, you’ll really feel so many miles away from anyplace — though in actuality, nowhere on Pátmos could be very removed from anyplace else.

We wish to assist you to plan (and love) your day on Pátmos. Listed below are our recommendations:

Uncover its biblical historical past 

The Cave on the Apocalypse on the Greek island of Patmos.

The Cave of the Apocalypse, a UNESCO World Heritage Web site, has monumental historic and cultural significance and might be admired and appreciated by these with various spiritual beliefs. Together with the Monastery of Saint John the Theologian (also called Saint John the Divine), these are amongst Christianity’s most sacred websites.

That is the place St. John, the Apostle (Agios Ionis in Greek) lived as a hermit after being exiled by the Romans round 95 A.D. and the place, after listening to the voice of God, he wrote what was to grow to be Revelation, the Bible’s ultimate ebook.

When this web site served as St. John’s dwelling place, it will have been open to the weather. At the moment it’s a comparatively compact and enclosed complicated that has advanced over time because the monks who carried out varied ceremonies and rituals right here erected a number of add-ons similar to chapels and sleeping quarters. The outside presents itself as a small whitewashed constructing, however when you descend the steps from right here, the inside turns into very cave-like. The primary part is a chapel, decked out with an exquisite painted picket iconostasis, a number of icons and tall ceremonial candlesticks whereas a big and ornate chandelier hangs from above.

The precise grotto of St. John, to the appropriate of the chapel, is just a small part, however there in a single nook, surrounded by brass rails, you may see the indentation within the rock the place the saint is alleged to have rested his head to sleep. A silver lantern hangs above this spot, flanked by six smaller lanterns, whereas one other indentation simply to the appropriate is supposedly a mark from St. John’s hand, additionally surrounded in silver. Different options of observe listed below are a stone slab and a set of three fissures.

Of all of the island’s sights and historic relics, the practically 1,000-year-old Monastery of Saint John the Theologian is a vital go to throughout any time on Pátmos. Not possible to overlook from its hilltop perch above Chora, the imposing fortified Monastery of St. John, when seen from a distance, has extra the looks of a darkish, brooding stone medieval army construction than that of a non secular constructing.

Its fortress-like look was important when the monastery was constructed with a purpose to keep at bay assaults. Satirically a number of the earliest threats have been from the Crusaders, themselves Christian however with a popularity for seizing all they got here throughout, which led Pátmos to ask for cover from the pope and Rome. Following this, assaults got here from Turks and Arabs amongst others with the added risks of normal raids by pirates that prowled these coasts. As soon as the city of Chora started to develop up exterior the partitions, bells could be sounded throughout occasions of menace, alerting the residents to hunt refuge contained in the monastery.

A breathtakingly pretty pebble-paved courtyard, surrounded by whitewashed partitions and arches and open to the blue sky, greets you upon getting into. Main off from right here is the magnificent major chapel, one among a number of inside the monastery’s partitions, believed thus far from a interval instantly following the development of the monastery in 1088. This chapel is dominated by an astonishingly detailed carved iconostasis from 1820, whereas lots of the magnificent frescoes listed below are from the later medieval interval. The entire chapels are price a go to, most of them stuffed with dazzling altar screens, luxurious jewel-rich adornments and profusions of priceless icons relationship from the twelfth century. A number of additionally home holy relics such because the cranium of St. Thomas.

As a working monastery, not the entire complicated is open to guests, such because the monks’ cells, the magnificent library and flour mill, though along with the chapel, you may nonetheless discover such options as the previous refectory and the bakery with its previous stone oven.

Situated subsequent to the bakery is the monastery’s museum, also called the Treasury, which has a separate entrance charge. So priceless and historical is far of this treasure trove that particular person objects which might usually represent absolutely the spotlight of a group anyplace else — an authentic El Greco portray from the 1500s, for instance — barely get a glance in when set beside the opposite jewels discovered right here. These embrace the unique eleventh century parchment signed by Byzantine Emperor Alexis Komnenos granting the monastery’s founder official possession of the island, a sixth century parchment copy of the Gospel of St. Mark illuminated in gold and silver textual content, and a mosaic icon of St. Nicholas that’s greater than 1,000 years previous.

Past historic websites, Chora, its village, presents treasures

Simantiri House
Simantiri Home, one of many oldest buildings on the Greek island of Patmos, is each a museum and personal residence/Simantiri Home

Simantiri Home is each a non-public residence and a museum. Generally marked because the Folklore Museum on maps, Simantiri Home is without doubt one of the oldest dwellings nonetheless in existence on the island, relationship again to 1625, a number of years after the close by convent opened, and is stuffed with curios, antiques and some uncommon gems. Greater than the rest this villa means that you can stroll again in time to see how the island’s rich households lived up to now two centuries.

With lovely conventional structure, this small museum’s assortment spans the fifteenth to nineteenth centuries, amassed by the household over the past 200 years. Amongst different issues it homes vintage furnishings, some helpful work, silverware from Russia, beautiful vintage embroidery, previous pictures, spiritual icons and a few attention-grabbing curios similar to a crib from 1913 and a dental wheel labored by foot pedal.

The home has been in the identical household for eight generations and Morfousa Simantiri, its present proprietor, presents excursions, enriching your go to with firsthand accounts and attention-grabbing info concerning how a number of the objects got here into the household’s possession.

Chora itself is a pleasant late-medieval maze of winding alleys and stone stairways linking a group of squares, grand villas which as soon as belonged to rich retailers, tiny whitewashed dwellings relationship again to the 1500s and charming church buildings that make strolling the city’s cobblestones really feel like stepping by way of a portal into the previous.

The windmills of Pátmos

Simply east of Chora and near the Monastery of St. John is a group of three historic windmills. From their location excessive on a hill to take full benefit of the winds for turning the sails, and with their distinctive form, this stone-structured trio — every capped with a cone and turning a wheel of spidery arms — is notably seen as you strategy the island by water. Two of the windmills are sixteenth century constructions, the third dates from 1863, and all three right this moment characterize a bridge connecting the island’s previous to its future.

For tons of of years, the windmills have been used to provide flour, their interior mechanisms labored by wind energy to grind the corn. Lastly made redundant within the Nineteen Fifties when extra environment friendly strategies have been used, the windmills have been deserted and left to the weather for greater than half a century. In 2010 they have been restored, not merely to protect the previous however with a view to placing them again to work  to assist create a greener island future.

You may step inside one windmill to see the milling course of in motion whereas the opposite two serve the island by creating electrical energy and pumping water. Apart from the windmills themselves, the hill location presents some wonderful views of the encircling sea and island.

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