SYMI



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Symi - The port (Gialos) and the old town (Chorio) and their vicinity - Nimboreio

From here a scenic track rounds the headland, with views of the adjacent islet of Nimos (Ancient Hymos), which has vestigial remains of ancient and mediaeval fortification and habitation, into the tranquil bay of Nimboreio. In the last century Simiots would often keep small houses for the summer here. Nimboreio—as its name implies— was the ancient ‘emporeion’ (trading centre) of the island, much later to be superseded by Gialos. The bay has few houses and many churches. Its Early Christian remains lie at the very northern end of the western shore of the bay. (Beyond the end of the drivable track, continue along the narrow pebble shore as far as the last walled enclosure on the water front: from here follow a dried stream-bed inland for 40m. The site is just above, on the left.) Three contiguous vaulted chapels—dedicated respectively to the Panaghia (the Virgin), the Aghia Kara (the ‘Holy Head’), and the Soter[as] (the Saviour)—now occupy what was the panoramic setting of an Early Christian basilica; a substantial area of mosaics can be seen just to the north of the three chapels. They are dusty and inconspicuous, but a splash of water on them reveals considerable figurative interest—a boy reining in a camel, a goat chasing a roebuck, a kantharos flanked by two birds. The subject-matter suggests that these may possibly be from a late Roman villa on this site. The Early Christian church—elements of which are visible in the construction of the central chapel (the old est of the three)—was later erected over this. The church was probably built in the 6th century; the mosaics may be 150 years earlier. About 50m above and to the south of the churches (where the stand of trees to the left finishes, and almost overlooking the bay) is a hole in the ground which leads into an underground vaulted catacomb (locally called the dodeka spilia, ‘12 caves’), with ten lateral loculi. This may well have been a burial area or possibly the crypt of a now vanished building above, used later as a secret refuge or even as a storage area. Cut masonry for reinforcement directly under this area, can be seen from the shore below.


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



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


access

Symi Island, Greece.

 

The island has no airport, and only three or four ferry services a week from Piraeus (16 hrs). Access is easy from Rhodes, however, where there is a selection of fast daily (c. 1 hr) services by hydrofoil (Aigli), and catamaran (Dode kanisos Express), or by regular ferry (Symi I and II): these are all managed by ANES Co., T. (Rhodes) 22410 37769; (Symi) 22460 71444. F/B Kalymnos runs local routes to Kos, Kalymnos, Astypalaia, Rhodes and Kastellorizo, once a week
Symi Travel Guide

eating

Symi Island, Greece.

 

On the south waterfront of Gialós are two good eateries of quite different character: Mythos serves ambitious variants on traditional Greek dishes—mostly imaginative and successful (especially with simpleredients such as courgettes and aubergines): both chef and wine-list are acclaimed. Further out along the same waterfront is Dimitri, for those seeking a simple, unostentatious mezedopoleion, serving fresh fish mezes, expressly prepared. Similar in style, Meraklis (set back from the port near the Metropoli tan Church of Aghios Ioan nis) has good home-cooked dishes that are less specifically fish-oriented.
Symi Travel Guide

further reading

Symi Island, Greece.

William Travis, Bus Stop Symi, Readers Union, Newton Ab bot, 1973.
Symi Travel Guide

lodging

Symi Island, Greece.

Historic, with painted ceilings and delightful views from the rooms, the Hotel Les Catherinettes (T. 22460 72698 & 71671) on the north water front of the harbour (close to where the ferries dock) is not expensive, but the comfort is basic and the balconied rooms can be noisy at night. Garden Studios (T. 22460 72429)—quiet, in a Symiot house surrounded by a garden—are set some way back from the southwest corner of the harbour; just beyond this, Opera House Hotel is similar in concept, but is larger and less intimate (T. 22460 72035). Both have comfortable studio apartments at moderate price. More expensive and stylish is the Hotel Aliki (Apr–Oct only) in a restored mansion on the south waterfront (T. 22460 71655), with a pleasant roof terrace. Monastic lodgings can be arranged at the Monastery of Panormítis in the south of the island (T. 22460 71354).Symi Travel Guide

practical info

Symi Island, Greece.

856 00 Symi: area 57sq. km; perimeter 88km; resident population 2594; max. altitude 617m. Port Authority: 22460 71205. Travel and Information: 22460 71397, www.symi-island.com
Symi Travel Guide

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