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PATMOS



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Patmos - Chora and the south of the island - the architecture of Chora

The architecture of Chora
Following the wishes of Christodoulos, little was built in the area around the monastery walls until the Sack of Constantinople in 1453, when ‘a hundred’ refugee families from the capital settled here, creating the new neighbourhood of Alloteina, to the west of the monastery. The arrival en masse of these sophisticated urbanites into the midst of a community of tenant-farmers gave rise to a flourishing of vernacular architecture which is particular to Patmos. But these were not the only refugees to arrive: in 1669 a further ‘fifty’ families from Crete sought refuge on Patmos after the Ottoman capture of Candia and created the area of Kritika, this time to the east of the monastery. Then, in the early 19th century, the successful ship-owners of the island created their own neighbourhood, between the monastery and the eastern area of Aporthiana, on the steep northern slope of the hill—the only point from which the harbour and their boats were clearly visible. At first the separate mansions of the 16th and 17th centuries were large complexes set in their own plots of land or in walled gardens; then, with increasing prosperity and population, and an economy that required artesans and labourers, the spaces between these mansions were filled with smaller dwellings, until the whole area became a contiguous urban texture of tiny streets and houses, in which the original mansions were only distinguishable by their larger bulk. Two kinds of stone, both local, were used: a grey granitic rock, and a softer beige limestone. Characteristic of the whole settlement are the dressed stone corners of houses, and the beautiful carved window and door-frames. These are set off by the plaster and whitewash applied over the stone filling of the walls in such a way that the accents of the architecture—arches, cornices, frames—are clean and clear, and stand out enhancing the beauty of the town scape. Roofs are flat for the catchment of rainwater, which is channelled into deep, flask-shaped cisterns cut into the ground below. A balance between openness, ventilation and privacy is achieved by the use of a walled court or avli­; but, in Patmos, this is often repeated on the upper floor, and in the large mansions such a space becomes a grand roofed verandah, vaulted with arches between two blocks of the house. This may be seen, for example, in the Simandi­ris Mansion, which is one of the few open to the public today. All these buildings, small and great, grew organically and were added to over time, giving them a rambling asymmetry and pleasing irregularity of volume. This, in turn, has created the winding irregularity of the street plan, where streets and alleys vary constantly in width and often pass through passageways under projections of the houses overhead. In the end this has led to the formation of few open, public spaces, and Patmos remains to this day strangely bereft of the traditional central plateia.


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


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access

Patmos Island, Greece.

By boat: Patmos has no airport but is well connected by sea to Piraeus, Kos and Rhodes , by Blue Star Ferries (twice weekly) and GA Ferries (five times weekly); the latter also calls at Kalymnos and Leros en route between Patmos and Rhodes .
In the summer season there are daily services by catamaran (Dodecanese Express) on the Dodecanese route between Rhodes , Kos, Kalymnos, Leros, Lipsi and Patmos;
and four times weekly the car ferry, F/B Nisos Kalymnos, runs this same route up from Kos and ex tends it onwards via Arki and Agathonisi, to Pythagoreion on Samos .
Flying Dolphin hydrofoils ply the same route daily in summer only, including twice-weekly connections to Ikaria and Fourni. Caïques run local services to the small er islands, including Maráthi, in high season.

 

Patmos Travel Guide

eating

Patmos Island, Greece.

Chiliomodi, 100m inland of the harbour, to the left of the road to Chora, has excellent seafood and fish, prepared simply and with no frills, in plain taverna atmosphere: the wine is good, and the urchins, small fish and shrimp are the best in Skala.
Also in Skala, Grigoris, on the waterfront, looks unpromising, but is nonetheless reliable, especially for meat. Lambi, on the beach  of that name, provides only what is available that day and so can be variable, but the place is quiet and the setting beautiful; Stefanos, often just referred to as ‘Meloï’, with a terrace overlooking Meloï beach, is more consistent and lively and has carefully prepared home cooking. 

Patmos Travel Guide

further reading

Patmos Island, Greece.

The full text, translated and surprisingly readable, of the Rule written by Hosios Christódoulos in 1091 (edited by John Thomas and Angela Constantinides Hero), which contains his ‘autobiographi cal’ introduction, can be consulted in Dumbarton Oaks: Byzantine Monastic Foundation Documents (published 2000); or at www.doaks.org/ typikaPDF/typ033.pdf

Patmos Travel Guide

lodging

Patmos Island, Greece.

Patmos offers a remarkably wide range of hospitality from basic lodgings to overly pretentious hotels: a good halfway house, combining comfort and style is the Petra Hotel in Groíkos Bay (T. 22470 34020, 32567, www.petrahotel-patmos.com )
brand new studio-apartments, overlooking the main bay, can be taken at Irini Traditional Homes (T. 22470 32826, 32556, www.traditional.gr).
For old-fashioned practicality, the Hotel Skala (T. 22470 31343, 31747), set back in its own garden, is reliable and convenient for ferries, though the breakfast leaves a little to be desired.
In the peace and quiet of Old Chora, there are mostly only rooms available; a couple of the nicest and simplest are those of Giorgia Triandáfilou (T. 22470 31963) and Marouso Kouna (T. 22470 31026).

Patmos Travel Guide

practical info

Patmos Island, Greece.

85 500 Patmos: area 34sq km
perimeter 72km
resident population 2997
max. altitude 272m.
Port Authorities: T. 22470 31231.
Travel and information: Apollon Travel, T. 22470 31324, 31819 ; Astoria Travel, T. 22470 31205, 31975, www.astoriatravel.com

Patmos Travel Guide

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