NISYROS



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Nisyros - Mandraki (Chora) and environs - The castle and Panaghia Spiliani

The Castle and Panaghia Spiliani
The approach to the Castle of the Knights of St. John is designed so that it is entered through no fewer than three ‘double-back’ gateways, and one tunnel. On the way up is a small cave whose use as an anchorite’s hermitage doubt less predates the existence of the castle. Near the top the south bastion bearing the triple escutcheon comes into view: just beside it, to the right, can be seen much larger blocks appertaining to ancient fortifications. A wide variety of carved escutcheons of Knights and Grand Masters of the Order of St. John are visible at different points. The castle dates from the first Venetian fort built here in 1312 and was enlarged by the Knights in the course of the same century. Unlike those in Tilos, Chalki and Alimnia, it is not built on top of the largest area of preceding, ancient fortifications (which here lie on the higher summit, 750m to the south, and would have provided the builders with very substantial existing walls): the choice of this lower position was so as to preserve greater control of the harbour and town.
   A gate beneath a bell-tower leads down into the monastery of the Panaghi­a Spiliani­, which has grown up around another sacred spot associated with an anchorite’s cave in the rock, and whose origins long predate the castle. (In the vestibule before entering the church, a number of icons and pictures relate a local, symbolic story of the infidel attempting to steal sacred liturgical objects, whose wrists have been severed in the act by Divine intervention.) A long narthex on a lower level gives access to the main catholicon through a fine carved marble doorframe, composed of pieces probably taken from a 12th century templon screen of an earlier church on this site. In the atmospheric sanctum of the cave, the natural form of the rock has meant that the present, wooden iconostasis, which bears many silver-cased icons, is divided into two distinct sections.


Nisyros Island is part of the Dodecanese Island Group, Greece.


access

Nisyros Island, Greece.

The only service from Nisyros to Kardamaina on Kos to run regularly, weather permitting, throughout the year is the local M/V Aghios Constantinos (dep. Nisyros 7.00 am; dep. Kardamaina 14.30; 60 min.). From May to October, M/V Panaghia Spiliani plies the Kos (Main Port)-Nisyros route, 4-5 times weekly (dep. Nisyros 7.30; dep. Kos 15.00; 90 min.)
   Both have capacity for about two vehicles. GA car ferries call at Nisyros 3 times (summer) or 2 times (winter) weekly on the main Dodecanese route, with stops at nearly all the islands between Rhodes and Patmos, and connections with the same frequency to Piraeus. The Tilos Catamaran, Sea Star, provides fast connections with Tilos and Rhodes 2 times weekly from June to mid October.

Nisyros Travel Guide

eating

Nisyros Island, Greece.

Kleanthis, by the waterfront in Mandraki, is both welcoming and serves good seafood and many homemade vegetable dishes and salads.
   Hidden and sheltered from the wind is the Taverna Nisyros in a narrow street (Od. Iannides) perpendicular to the shoreline in Mandraki, with unexceptional food but a pleasing atmosphere.
   The panoramic Restaurant Andriotis, just at the entrance to Nikià, provides the most ambitious variety of food on the island, including well-prepared local goat dishes.

Nisyros Travel Guide

lodging

Nisyros Island, Greece.

Lodging is not plentiful on the island and is mostly in or around Mandraki.
   The Hotel Porphiris (T.22420 31376, fax 31176), open May to end of September, though simple, is the island’s most comfortable and friendly solution providing breakfast and a pleasant sea-water swimming pool.
   For atmosphere and a taste of times gone by, the Thermal Baths at Loutra have basic and inexpensive rooms (no private facilities) from mid June to end of September (T.22420 31011).
   Out of season, there is very little choice: the gloomy Hotel Charitos (T.22420 31322) at least has heating.

Nisyros Travel Guide

practical info

Nisyros Island, Greece.

85 303 Nisyros: area 41 sq.km; perimeter 30 km; resi dent population 915; maximum altitude 698 m.
Port Authority: T.22420 31222.
Information: general www.nisyros.gr 
travel: Enetikon Travel (T.22420 31180).

Nisyros Travel Guide

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