AMORGOS



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Amorgos- Central Amorgos - the Bay of Katapola

The Bay of Katapola

(For distances in text, Katapola port = 0.0km) Already from the approaching boat, the dramatic silhouette of the island anticipates the nature of its landscape. Like Ikaria or Hydra, Amorgos is a long mountainous breakwater in the sea. Looking over the empty waters to the south, the cliffs are often sheer and impenetrable. They are steep on the north side too, but relax sufficiently to afford two protected harbours in west-facing bays at Katapola and Aigiali. These have historically been the principal approaches to the island. We begin at Katapola, in the centre of the north coast, which is the commonest point of disembarkation for ferries. The bay of Katapola cuts deep into the island: its springs and protected mar gins have supported Cycladic, Mycenaean, Greek, Roman, Early Christian and Mediaeval settlements, the remains of which are scattered around the shores of the bay. (See plan p. 18.)

Katapola was developed during Roman times as the harbour for the ancient city of Minoa on the hill to the south: it was the lower city—‘kato polis’—of the main settlement above. There are the remains of three Roman tombs of the 2nd century ad, at the western extremity of the water front, just beyond where the houses end. The largest had a layer of stucco in areas and was a small, private mausoleum of temple-like design. To its east, in the garden of the adjacent guest-house, are two small grave-loculi. Many pieces from Roman buildings and monuments are incorporated in the attractive church of the Panaghia Katapoliani­, which lies 50m inland (south) of the small square on the waterfront. The church will have been re built several times in its history; the present, 18th century structure is relatively plain inside, but its vaults are sup ported on ancient columns. The forecourt is a pleasing ensemble of many spolia: a votive inscription to ‘Hermes of the auspicious road’ (east end of church), a densely inscribed pedestal for an honorific statue, column fragments, and pieces of deeply carved Roman cornice re used as window sills and lintels in the south wall. Some of this material may come from a temple to Apollo Pythios which is attested in the area. The courtyard wall also includes pieces of Byzantine closure panels, indicating that there was an earlier church on this same site.
   Following the waterfront track west beyond the Roman tombs, along the south side of the bay, you come to the small chapel of the Panaghia (0.5km), dedicated to the Nativity of the Virgin, and constructed almost entirely with blocks from a 4th or 5th century, Early Christian predecessor, which in turn had used pre-existing marble blocks from pagan buildings. The pieces are carved with a variety of designs—for example the delicately incised censor carved on the block to the north side of the door. In the interior (key above door), the altar is an eroded, but finely carved Composite capital in Naxian marble. The church, though old in origin, has clearly been rebuilt in the last 50 years. On the bluff above the church overlook the bay, are traces of an Early Cycladic settlement. Further along the track is the late mediaeval, double church of the Aghii Anargyri (1km).
   Almost contiguous with Katapola, inland from the east end of the bay, is the village of Rachi­di (1km) built attractively along a low ridge. At the road junction on the shore below is the Katapola Community building in front of which several ancient fragments and pieces of Byzantine carving are displayed. The third community in the bay is Xylokerati­di (1.5km), the peaceful fishing village which looks onto the bay from the north shore and benefits from the excellent springs at ‘Nera’ which rise in the valley a short distance to its west. A stepped path leads up and inland through the village: on the hillside to the west (after passing the St George Varsamitis Hotel on your right) is a Mycenaean cemetery. Most of the tombs, which date from the 13th and 12th centuries bc, have been disfigured with erosion but two remain, with the excavated chamber and a clear-cut dromos aligned a few degrees south of due east. On the hill beyond is the church of the Evangelismos (Annunciation), one of the oldest surviving churches on the island—dating from as early as the 9th century on the basis of vestiges of aniconic painting in its interior. (Returning from the Mycenaean cemetery to the stone kalderimi, keeping always left, the path climbs the ridge between two gulleys. The church is hidden low in the western gulley. 20 mins by foot.) The design is a dome on a square with a curious transverse barrel-vault tacked on to the east. The door in the south wall has been re-opened in recent times.


Amorgos Island is part of the Cyclades Island Group, Greece.


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access

Amorgos Island, Greece.

Amorgos lies at the terminus of a ferry-route; it is a mini mum 7–8 hr journey (often longer) between Piraeus and the island, with several stops en route—always include either Naxos or Paros.
Blue Star Ferries operates the service daily in the summer and five days a week in winter, alternating between the island's two ports: Katápola, the principal destination, in the centre, and Aigiáli ("Egiáli", "Yáli") 20km further north.
It is important for any itinerary to establish which of the two is the port of arrival/departure.
Blue Star also connects Aigiáli (only) with Astypalaia three times weekly.
The F/B Express Skopelitis, based in Katápola, plies through the Lesser Cyclades to Naxos and returns daily in summer, always stopping at Koufonisi, Schoinousa and Herakleia en route, also including Aigiáli and Donousa three times weekly.
The service runs from April–end Oct, weather permitting. The Blue Star services maintain connections with these smaller islands 2–3 times a week in winter.

Amorgos Travel Guide

beaches

Amorgos Island, Greece.

Some of the many beautiful beaches in Amorgos are found:
around AEGIALI
Aegiali beach
Agios Pavlos Beach
Levrossos beach
Mikri Glifada beach
Nikouria beach
Psili ammos beach
Xalara beach

around CHORA
Agia Anna beach, famous for its blue crystal clear waters. In this location, scenes of the movie "Le grand blue" (The big blue, 1988) were filmed.

around KATAPOLA
Maltezi beach

around KATO MERIA
Ammoudi beach
Kalotaritissa beach
Mouros beach
Paradisia beach

Amorgos Travel Guide

eating

Amorgos Island, Greece.

Some of the best food is to be found in the island's small rural villages:
the taverna Giorgalinis in Vroútsi and Marouso in Arkesíni (Chorió), in the west; or Sandouraki in Tholaria at the north end of the island. Katina's To Limani at Aigiáli serves some of the best seasonal and traditional Greek fare on the island, and is popular with local families, especially on Sundays.
More rarified, but offering some interesting mezes, is To Chima in the heart of Chora.

Amorgos Travel Guide

further reading

Amorgos Island, Greece.

Lila Marangou, The Monastery of the Panaghia Khozoviotissa, Athens 2005. The author is indebted to the writings of Prof. Lila Marangou on archaeological matters which constitute the most complete and authoritative account of the island’s monuments.

Amorgos Travel Guide

lodging

Amorgos Island, Greece.

Two small, comfortable hotels provide welcoming and attractive solutions in the medium price-range:
the ‘Emprostiada’ Traditional Guest House (in a new build, but of traditional design) in the heart of Chora (T. 22850 71013, fax 71814, www.amorgos-studios.amorgos.net );
and the more conventional Hotel Vigla (T. 22850 73288, fax 73332, www.vigla-hotel. amorgos.net) in the hill-town of Tholaria, above Aigiáli.
Offering simpler facilities, are: the Pension Amorgos on the harbour-front of Katapola (same management and numbers as Emprostiada above); in the village of Langáda, Artemis Rooms (T. 22850 73226, www.amorgos studios.amorgos.net; open all year); the same owners also rent rooms on the beach near Aigiáli.
Highly recommended for visits to Amorgos based around walking, riding, historic sightseeing, botanising and bird-watching, are - Special Interest Holidays who offer an excellent range of civilised activities and places to stay (T. 693 982 0828, www.special-interest-holidays.com).

Amorgos Travel Guide

museums

Amorgos Island, Greece.


The Archaeological Museum
Monastery of Hozoviotissa
Agioi Anargiroi

Amorgos Travel Guide

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