Patmos: The Jerusalem of the Aegean
Worldwide known as a sacred island for it is the place where Saint John wrote the Book of Revelation, Patmos is an ideal destination for nature lovers thanks to its lace-like coastline, sheer cliffs and volcanic soil. Designated as “Holy Island” by the Greek Parliament in 1981 as well as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1999, Patmos had been used as a place of exile by the Romans on account of its steep morphology. That’s how St. John found safe refuge here in the 1st century A.D., exiled by the Emperor Domitian.
According to the prevailing theory, the Book of Revelation was written in 95 A.D. in the Holy Cave of the Apolacypse, where St. John heard the voice of God talking to him. Turned into a place of worship by the monk Christodoulos Latrinós in the 11th century the cave –on whose walls we can trace the fingerprints of St. John’s himself–, is still open to the devout Christians.
The Holy Monastery of the Apocalypse was built as a castle in 1088 by the monk Christodoulos Latrinós. Cultural and religious centre since its first day of use, it took another five centuries for it to spread its activities all around the island – and not just the town of Hóra (Chora), where it is situated. Around this Monastery revolve Holy Week and Easter celebrations every year.
Buildings of different ages form the Monastery, comprising 10 chapels and 99 cells as well as a Library of 890 handwritten codes and 13,000 documents about the history of the site.
In the area of Hóra, little glittering white houses under the Aegean sun stand next to proud two-storey mansions. Follow the historical narrow streets all the way from the monastery down to Skála (the island’s port), and discover restaurants, cafés, shops and traditional bakeries. Treat yourselves with cheese pies, local dairy products, and reticule-shaped dough with honey and nuts.
The largest settlement, as well as capital and port of the island, is Skála where you will find accommodation and fresh-fish tavernas among buildings used by the Italians during the Italian Rule of the Dodecanese (1912-1943).
At 5km fromSkála have a rest stop at the village of Grikos, and enjoy the freshness of a drink by the sea,or even a swim at the beach by the same name.
For tan-seeking sunbathers:
The beach in Kámpos with sea sports facilities and marvelous fish tavernas is the most cosmopolitan one, whereas Psili Ammos (literally meaning “thin sand”) will offer you an off-the-beaten-track experience as it is accessible only by boat. For cool and not very salty waters the beach of Váya is definitely the choice, whereas Sapsilas with its warmer waters will be the refuge for the less courageous ones. The beach of Lámpi is very beautiful, covered with colourful pebbles. The very small and mainly uninhabited islets of Arkoi are absolutely worth a visit, so catch a boat from Skála, and make sure you call in at Maráthi for crystal clear waters and fresh delicious fish.
Getting to Patmos
By sea from Piraeus, Samos (flying dolphins), Rhodes, Kos, Kalymnos and Leros as well as Syros in the Cyclades. The above mentioned Dodecanese islands have airports from where visitors can reach Patmos through regular ferry connections, especially during the summer season.
Useful telephone numbers:
Municipality of Patmos: 22470 360 300
Tourist Office: 22470 31666
Municipal Police: 22470 34100
Port Authorities: 22470 31231
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Thursday, July 25, 2013
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