SAMOS



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Samos - The north of the island, Mt. Ambelos and Karlovasi - Karlovasi

Karlovasi
The un-Hellenic sounding name is in fact Turkish—Karlıovası, meaning ‘place of snowy meadows’, perhaps refer ring to the noticeably white mantle which Mt. Kerketeus wears in certain lights, due to the high chalk content of its bare, upper screes: the city itself, almost as big in population as Vathi, also feels more Levantine than Greek. Only the picturesque quarter of Palaio Karlovasi, overlooking the port from a hill at the western extremity of the city, with its balconied houses, plane trees and tavernas, feels familiarly Aegean. The ‘shot-apart’ feel of the main city derives from the fact that there is a lot of space here, and the city has spread lazily across the wide mouth of the valley and along the shore: in consequence, it is hard to find its heart.
   Below the old town is Ano Karlovasi, inland from the sea; on the edge further behind are Meseo Karlovasi and Neo Karlovasi; all loosely connected, like the villages of the Attic plain which now have become suburbs of Athens. All these different nuclei have considerable architectural variety, however. The city saw a period of prosperity between 1880 and 1920, based principally on its tanning industry, which took advantage of a local abundance of the acorns and flowing water needed in the process. In 1920 there were 47 tanneries on the island: most of them were here in Karlovasi, in the area of Riva, east of the port, which accounts for the great number of empty warehouses and tannery buildings of the 1890s and early 1900s along the water front. They are well-constructed in lo cal stone, with characteristically long windows and tiled, hipped roofs. The mercantile and entrepreneurial families who controlled this industry constructed grand and impressive neoclassical mansions inland of the shore, a number of which have survived; the most ostentatious example is now the Samos Headquarters of the University of the Aegean, on Panepisti­miou Aigai­ou Street. The university also possesses another, more restrained, neoclassical building a little further uphill, in a square where there is a ruined, eight-sided Ottoman fountain, and the city’s small Ethnographic Museum (currently closed) opposite. Towards the sea, on Kanari Street, between the large church of Aghios Nikolaos and the shore are later villas of the 1920s, and two interesting bank buildings, now open to the skies, on opposite sides of the street. With the exchange of populations of 1923 in Asia Minor, and the closing of markets for Greek products in Turkey, the tobacco and tanning industries withered, leaving the city without a viable economy.


Samos Island is part of the Northern Aegean Island Group, Greece.


access

Samos Island, Greece.

By air: Domestic flights are frequent from Athens – four to five times daily with Olympic Air and twice a day in summer with Aegean Airlines.
There also direct flights by charter from destinations outside Greece.
By boat: Sea access to Samos is also plentiful, but a little confusing because it is split between three separate ports: Karlóvasi and Vathy, on the north coast, for the larger ferries plying the northern and western routes to Piraeus, Chios, Lesbos, Ikaria, Thessaloniki etc;
and Pythagóreio, on the south coast, for the Dodecanese and southern routes,
i.e. the F/B Nisos Kalymnos (4 days per week)
and hydrofoils (daily in summer) to Patmos, Lipsi, Leros, Kalymnos, Kos, and on to Rhodes , with the Nisos Kalymnos stopping at Agathonisi and Arki in addition, before calling at Patmos.
The summer hydrofoil service to Fourni and Ikaria (4 times weekly) also leaves from Pythagóreio. Crossings to Turkey (Kus¸adasi) run daily from Vathy, during the summer season only (Easter to mid October); thereafter more infrequently.

Samos Travel Guide

eating

Samos Island, Greece.

In Vathy, Christos (two blocks in from the water-front, and north of the main square) serves Asia Minor specialties, interesting salads, and good, fragrant wine.
The village of Vourliotes has several tavernas offering good mountain food in its picturesque plateia: less contrived, and more popular with islanders, is Pera Vrysi, at the entrance to the village. On the shore below, at Avlákia, the Mezedopoleío "Doña Rosa" has a pleasing touch of eccentricity, but nonetheless prepares excellent Greek dishes with localredients and good presentation.
Further west at Palaio Karlóvasi, the Oinomageireío "Dryousa", in the plateia where the paved road ends, is family run, providing fresh, home cooking.
The last true tavernas in Pythagóreio closed some time ago; the best remaining eatery there, with a pleasant view from its position at the beginning of the harbour mole, is Varka. For sunset views, however, few can match Balkoni tou Aigaiou at the south end of Spatherei;
while the taverna at Koutsi, up and west from Pyrgos, though not remarkable for food, is an unforgettable and cool refuge on a hot day, beside a spring below plane trees in the hills of central Samos .
Pure comb honey of high quality can be found at Melissa – a small supply-shop, a few metres up the main street of Pythagóreio from the harbour.

Samos Travel Guide

further reading

Samos Island, Greece.

Graham Shipley, A History of Samos 800-188 BC (Oxford University Press, 1987); Hermann Kienast, The Aqueduct of Eupalinos (Greek Ministry of Culture, Athens, 2005).

Samos Travel Guide

practical info

Samos Island, Greece.

831 00 Samos & 832 00 (Karlóvasi): area 477 sq. km; perimeter 163 km; resident population 33,999; maximum altitude 1,434 m. Port Authority: T. 22730 27890, 27318 (Vathy); T. 22730 61225 (Pythagóreio); T. 22730 32343, 30888 (Karlóvasi). Travel and in formation: www.samos.gr ; By Ship Travel, T. 22730 25065 (Vathy), 61061 (Pythagoreio), 92341 (Kok- kari), 37100 (Marathókambos) & 35252 (Karlóvasi).
Samos Travel Guide

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