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 Nimboreio—as its name implies— was the ancient ‘emporeion’ (trading centre) of the island, much later to be superseded by Gialos.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.

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