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

For 7km west of Aghios Konstantinos, the road follows the shore, until it meets the low expanse of the central valley of the island at Aghios Nikolaos. At this point a branch-road south, leads through the village of Kondakei­ka, to Ydroussa (4.7km south). Northeast from the main church at the centre of the village, which is decorated inside with 19th century paintings, is a signed track to Petalouda. Turning left at a T-junction after 20 minutes by foot, you continue until the track crosses a stream bed; shortly after this, down a path to the left is the church of the Koi­misis tis Theotokou (Dormition of the Virgin), standing alone in a shaded space, beside a spring—whose presence suggests there could possibly have been a pagan predecessor on this spot.
   This is a simple, barrel-vaulted, rural church, of the 12th or 13th century, decorated inside with contemporaneous *wall paintings of exceptional quality, and (except on the ceiling) in good state of conservation, given their age. What impresses most is the quality of the faces, especially in the row of standing saints, and in scenes, such as Christ raising Lazarus: they have open faces, with strangely unexpressive eyes, yet with a delicate stylisation of features and hair, and an arrestidignity. The hand of one painter throughout is clear, and his style and the colours he uses, are typical of the very early 13th century. There is a waxy, impasto to his paint preparation, similar to that found in Roman wall-painting, and deriving from an admixture of soap and wax so as to create a mixed encaustic technique. This would suggest that the painter may have come from a major artistic centre, if not from Constantinople itself: during the 13th century, the Byzantine rulers still maintained control of Samos from Nicaea. Noteworthy is the scene of St. Peter (4th century Bishop) of Alexandria, remonstrating with the tiny figure of Christ in a canopied aedicule; the iconography is identical to that in the apse of the church of the Archangel Michael on the acropolis of Tilos. It is an infrequently encountered piece of visual propaganda against the heresy of Arius (see MGi, Vol 16, p 73).

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

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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


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: ; By Ship Travel, T. 22730 25065 (Vathy), 61061 (Pythagoreio), 92341 (Kok- kari), 37100 (Marathókambos) & 35252 (Karlóvasi).
Samos Travel Guide

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