The Churches of the Rina area
A kilometre before reaching the valley-floor, the small 15th century chapel of Aghios Ioannis Theologos, is above and to the left of the road on the hillside, built on the foundations of the apse of an earlier 6th century church: the wall-paintings inside are in poor condition— the eyes of the figures abraded and destroyed during the years of the Turkish occupation. Below and to the right (just before the end of the descent) is the church complex of Aghios Konstantinos—an open courtyard in which two chapels stand on what was the nave of a large Early Christian basilica, with the extensive remains of a 6th century mosaic floor of abstract patterns, executed primarily in five colours, visible beside the gate and all along the south side. The south chapel of Aghios Kirykos (11th century) has damaged vestiges of 13th century wall-paintings, with some fine faces discernible among the Saints on the north and south walls: its threshold is composed of carved marble fragments of the Palaeochristian church. A fine example of an Early Christian public omnibus stands rusting under a tree beyond the eastern end of the site, from where the apse of the 6th century church is visible below the north chapel (erected in 1955). Continuing a little further towards the sea, past burgeoning walled-gardens, you reach the attractive 13th century church of the Panaghia Kyra Chosti, also built inside a larger 6th century predecessor, whose walls, standing to the height at which the vaults spring, are visible to the south side of the existing church, and fragments of which have been used to fashion its window-frames. Two campaigns of wall-painting are visible inside: the lower level of the 13th century, and the superimposed patches of the 15th century. The themes are predominantly Marian, be ginning with the Virgin and Child in Majesty in the conch of the apse.
Rina—a corruption of ‘Aghia Irini’—is a tiny harbour, crowded with small fishing boats, perfectly out of sight of the open sea, and protected by its long narrow inlet. In this safe haven a large Early Christian community—known then as Hellenika—flourished from the 4th to 7th centuries and covered primarily the north-facing slope to the south of the harbour. The ruins of churches and houses are everywhere on the hillside. Immediately above the water on the south side, is the Early Christian church of the Anastasis—its original size deducible from the position of the retaining wall to the south. The church’s unusual dedication to the Resurrection is interesting in light of the fact that, from where it stands, the sun is seen to rise over the water at the entrance of the inlet for a substantial period of the year around the equinoxes. Above the church is a cave-like ledge which was cut into the rock, probably in Antiquity. Further above, was the church of Aghios Giorgios: the mediaeval chapel on its site preserves vestiges of wall-painting. From here, the dense remains of the main settlement are visible on the hillside to the west, with the vaulted arch of Aghia Sophia conspicuous in the middle. Across the harbour to the north, reached by steps behind the busy boat-yard, is Aghia Irini, where a tiny chapel and a rose garden have been built on the north side of the site of a large, apsed basilica of the 5th century, with another ruined basilica, of unknown dedication, beyond to the east. A few pieces of rectangular masonry cut and dressed in typical Hellenistic fashion suggest the pre-existence here of what was perhaps a 4th century bc fort or watch-tower.
At this point you are above and a little to the west of the cave of Daskaleio at the north side of the harbour entrance. This can be visited only by boat, either from Rina or from Pothia. It is the island’s largest cave, whose importance lies in the finds from Late Neolithic, Minoan and Mycenaean occupation which have been made in side it—among which is a small 17th century bc, Minoan figurine of anadorant in solid bronze, similar in many respects to those found at the mountain-top sanctuary of Aghios Giorgios sto Vouno on Kythera and which are now in the Archaeological Museum of Piraeus. Immediately inside the cave is a chamber, about 25m long, from which another, with stalagmites and stalactites and a cavity full of brackish water, opens out (right) at a lower level.
Kalymnos Island is part of the Dodecanese Island group
Pothia, the Vathys Valley, and the south of the island.The Churches of the Rina area.