What to see in Samos
A walk around the city will bring you close to the main sights. Do not forget to walk around:
- Pythagoras or Lion square near the sea. It is named after the huge marble lion standing in its center.
- The Archaeological Museum where among others findings from Ireon as well as the colossal Kouros of Lefkias (5 m height) of 580 B.C. are kept .
- The Parliament
- The Court House
- The memorial to the Fallen
- The municipal garden.
- The Art Gallery which is housed in the wonderful neoclassical Town Hall. Here you will see heirlooms of the island’s history from 1821 till modern times, the “Samos Constitution” as well as portraits of freedom fighters and leaders.
- The Ecclesiastical Byzantine Museum whic is housed in the metropolitan hall and includes a collection of jewelry, gold thread embroidery, icons and manuscripts on membranes.
- The beautiful district of Ano Vathy. An exceptional sample of post Byzantine architecture is the chapel Ai-Giannakis.
- The Samos Wine Museum in Malagari location, a creation of the Union of Viniculture Cooperatives of Samos.
The monastery of Zoodochos Pigi tou Kotsika (1695) on the peninsula bearing the same name (4.5 km N), with a view to the passage between Samos and Asia Minor, Mykali mountain, Nea Efesos and Chios.
- The monastery Aghia Zoni 5 km E, which was built in 1695.
Samos was a desert island until the middle of the 16th Century. The people of Samos have emigrated mainly to the nearby Greek island of Chios, to Asia Minor and other nearby areas. This is mostly due to the fact that hundreds of pirates used to use Samos and other Aegean islands as their hide-outs.
During this period, the Turkish Navy with their admiral Khilits Ali Pasas, (a French who used to be a pirate himself and became a Turkish admiral after he was captured by the Turks) passed by Samos and decided that he really liked the island. When he returned to Istanbul, he demanded it and the Sultan gave it to him as a present. Kilits Ali Pasas then put the islanders’ repatriation to Samos as his first priority.
He made a call for people to settle down in Samos, in return for receiving generous benefits from the Turkish Government. The new inhabitants had to be Christian Orthodox Greeks and they were going to be given the freedom to practice their religion, to be self-administered, as well as the privilege of not paying tribute to the Turkish Government for seven years. Khilits Ali Pasas looked primarily for descendants of people who were originally from Samos and tried tosupport their repatriation to the island of their ancestors. This is when the first settlements and villages appeared on the island.
Because of the fear of pirate incursions, the new inhabitants of the island were building their houses away from the coast. Their houses were hidden inside forests or up on the hills and mountains, close to each other with very narrow streets in between so that they could defend themselves and their properties when they were in danger from the pirates. It wasn’t until after the beginning of the 19th Century that some villages appeared by the coast. It wasn’t until this time that it was considered that the pirates no longer posed a threat to islanders.
Up until 1998 there were 2 towns and 33 villages on the island of Samos. Since then, it has been a unification of the villages which has ended up comprising the formation of 4 Municipalities:
1. Municipality of Vathi, which incorporated 9 villages on the North-East of Samos, and it is 125.2 sq.km in extent with a population of 11.997.
2. Municipality of Karlovasi (total extent: 100.3 sq.km, population: 8.728) which incorporated 10 villages on the North-West of Samos.
3. Municipality of Pythagorio (total extent: 164.7 sq.km, population: 9.455) which incorporated 11 villages on the South-East of Samos.
4. Municipality of Marathokampos (total extent: 87.3 sq.km, population: 2.859) which incorporated 5 villages on the South-East of Samos.
Heraion of Samos
Tradition has it that Hera was born and raised here, and for this reason her temple at Heraion was the largest in the antiquity. The most important archaeological site includes the huge (109 m in length, 55 m in width and 25 m. tall) temple of Hera (widely known as Kolona due to the single column that still stands up to this day), the grand altar and the sacred road (the road leading from the city, today known as Pythagoreion, to the temple). Between Pythagoreion and Heraion are the artificial Lakes Glyfades. Also it is worth seeing Sarakinis Tower (1577) at Heraion plain. Agios Ioannis and Agios Georgios churches are located right next to the tower. Another significant archaeological site is at Myloi precinct, with relics from various ages. For swimming, go to the beaches of Ireon and Papas. By boat you can access some more, such as Mylonas, Kyriakou, Kakorema as well as Samiopoula. In July and August “Irea” event is taking place, which is a festival of ancient theatrical performances. It is located 17.5 km southwest of the capital.
Useful Phone Numbers
Archaeological Site: 22730-95.277
A marvelous project of the engineer Eupalinos, which provided the water supply to the ancient city of Pythagoreion through a 1,036m tunnel starting at the northern slope of the Castle ending at the southern.
Museums - Samos
Ecclesiastic- Byzantine Museum: 22730-27.312
Samos wine: 22730-87.510
Paleontological (Mytilinioi): 22730-52.055
It is located a few kilometers south of the village of Vourliotes in a magnificent woodland and on an altitude of 460 meters, with an extraordinary view to the North and East where you can see the Asia Minor coast. It was founded in 1566 by the monks (and brothers) Jacob and Makarios and it is dedicated to the natal of Virgin Mary. There are many frescoes, a woodcut temple and a lot of holly ware.
Monastery of Virgin Mary
It is located two kilometers Southeast of the village of Koumaradei and on the side of the road that leads to Miloi, in a very nice environment with an altitude of 225 meters. It has a lovely view of the plain of Chora, Pythagorio and the Asia Minor coast (the mountain of Mikali). It was founded in 1586 the monks (and brothers as well) Neilos and Dionysios and it is dedicated to the Assumption. It has to show a very nice woodcut temple, some frescoes and a lot of holly ware.
Monastery of the Holly Cross
It is located two kilometers Southeast of the village of Mavratzeoi next to the road and on altitude of 200 meters. In 1582, monk Neilos has founded a small church and in 1604 he and his brother Dionysios expanded it. There are frescoes, a magnificent woodcut temple and a lot of holly ware.
Monastery of prophet Elias
It is located three kilometers Southeast of Karlovasi, next to the road that leads to Konteika and on an altitude of 210 meters. There used to be a small church and a few cells that monks Neofilos and Gregorios had built and on 1739 the priest-monk Gregorios built the church that stands also today. There are a lot of holly ware, a few frescoes and a woodcut temple.
Monastery of Holly Zone
It is located to the East of the town of Samos, within Vlamari Valley and on an altitude of 120 meters. It has been founded by the priest-monk Meletios in 1695. It has frescoes, a woodcut temple and a lot of holly ware
Monastery of the Life-giving Fountain (Zoodohou Pigis)
It is located on Rampaidoni mountain to the Northeast of Samos town and on an altitude of 300 meters. From there, there is a fantastic view to the narrows of Mikali and the eye is lost in the depths of Asia Minor. It was founded in 1756 by the priest-monk Dorotheos. It has a lot of holly ware, frescoes and a wonderful woodcut temple.
Monastery of Holly Trinity
It is located North east of Mitilinioi village and on an altitude of 129 meters. It was founded by the priest-monk Neofytos in 1824.
There are 14 more smaller monasteries the so called “Metohia” out of whom the most important one are the following:
St. John the Merciful
It is located on the Northwest part of the island and it’s the only one of it’s kind to be close to the beach, in a lovely bay, opposite of the islands of Fournoi and the rocky island of Katergo. There are great springs in the area and it is indeed an oasis in the wilderness. It was founded in 1867, it belongs to the Holly Sepulture. In nowadays it has been rented to a civilian. The area used to be a place where pirates couched waiting for the ships that crossed the straits.
Not far from Pythagorio and to the Northwest, within a large cave lies a small church dedicated to the Entrance to the Temple (Isodia) of Virgin Mary. Here is an old picture of Virgin Mary, whose face cannot be seen anymore and next to the church is “Agiasma”, a spring where (as the story says) holy water emerges. Out of the cave is a church dedicated to St. George and a few cells. This “Metohi” belongs to the Monastery of “Hozeviotisa” in Amorgos. This church is also known as “ Kaliarmenisa” (= kind Armenian woman).
Evangelistria of Mt Kerkis or St. Vasilios.
It is the oldest church standing on Samos since it was built in the 10th century and is on the highest altitude of them all, 700 meters. It is located on the South part of Mt. Kerkis, west of Marathokampos village. A country road leads up till 400 meters and from there you’ll have to climb an uphill trail. It offers a magnificent view to the South and from there you can see most of the Dodecanese Islands, Fournoi and the bay of Marathokampos. If one should follow the trail further you can find the chapel of Prophet Elias and a bit more above the summit of Mt Kerkis, Vigla, with an altitude of 1444 meters, the second highest in the Aegean after the summit “Feggari” in Samothraki.
Zoodohos Pigi (Hatzimanoli or Kakoperato)
It is located on Mt. Kerkis, Southeast of Kosmadei village, within the canyon that leads to Great Seitani beach and on an altitude of 660 meters. The surrounding area is wooded, to the west the rocky slopes of Mt. Kerkis are rising and you can see nothing but the surrounding mountains. 500 meters further there is a cave and within it a small church. In order to get there you must follow a very steep and dangerous trail and that’s where this “Metohi” took it’s name “Kakoperato” (very difficultly accessible).
A little to the South is the country church of St. John close to which is the gulch of Panaretos