SAMOS



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

West to Potámi
The church known as the Panaghi­a tou Potamou or, more correctly, of the Metamorphosis tou Sotiros (‘Transfigiration of the Saviour’), in Potami Bay, is one of the oldest and most unusual churches on Samos (1.5km west of Karlovasi Port). A track which leads inland from Potami village up the valley of a stream, passes first the ruins of the early, apsed church of Aghios Nikolaos; after 150m, it reaches the church of the Metamorphosis, whose high bulk of un-rendered stone stands to the left in a beautiful setting among trees. The church has no deco ration outside or paintings inside, but is remarkable for its unusual proportions: the floor-plan of the interior is approximately 5m x 5m, while the (inside) height to the ‘shoulders’ of the building is about 7m , and to the crown of the minuscule cupola, 9m. Four monolithic columns in Samian marble, surmounted by finely carved, 5th century capitals support the arches of the crossing; but these do not dictate the height of the building, since they are only a little over one third of its total height.
   The church was once the catholicon of a small monastery complex whose ruined buildings extended to north and south; the vestiges of a baptistery, with an immersion font, can be seen outside the southeast corner, once communicating with the sanctuary through a (now blocked) door in the south wall; the narthex on the front has also gone, exposing the block of the threshold, which is a piece of ancient stylobate that once supported a column. There are Early Christian spolia lying nearby, and the columns, capitals, and a fragment of decorated frieze in the church’s masonry templon, all must come from an important 5th century basilica that stood on or near this site: this may have been destroyed around the 7th century, during the period of Saracen invasions, and the present church built later on its site, in the 13th century.
   Further into the shaded valley, the path leads to a series of cascades and natural pools; another path, climbing steeply up the east slope beyond the church, leads to a small castle with a cistern, contemporary with the church below, for which it must have functioned as a vital look out post.
   The roads and tracks all end 2km west of Potami­, beyond which there is 10km stretch of wild coastline where vehicles cannot go, punctuated by the two bays of Mikro and *Megalo Seitani, although there is an intermittent service to the latter by cai―que from the port of Karlovasi during July and August. It is a particularly attractive 90 minute walk from Potami to Megalo Sei―tani; but it is re warded by a bay of exceptional tranquility and beauty, of ten completely deserted outside of the high season. Chios lies 70 km to the northwest; the shoulder of Mt. Kerketeus rises 1200 m directly behind. The area was designated as a refuge for the endangered Mediterranean monk seal over 20 years ago, but discouragingly few have been sighted in this part of the island in recent years.


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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