The spotlight may fall on the island of the Revelation as a destination for religious tourism, but the soul of Patmos remains modest and open-hearted, as befits a true islander.
First impressions: We disembark at the leeward bay of Skala. Restaurants and cafés are lined along the spread-out waterfront. The Courthouse, built in the Italian architectural style, stands out.
All public services, travel agencies, gift shops, as well as the power factory are located here. The eye is drawn by the sparkling white Chora with its neighbourhoods spread out on the top of the hill. Excursion boats leave from Skala every day for the small nearby islands of Arkoi, Marathi and Leipsoi.
History facts: The name Patmos possibly comes from Mount Latmos, located on the Asia Minor coast across the sea, which is where the Ionians, the island’s first inhabitants, came from. The Holy Monastery of Patmos is dedicated to St. John the Evangelist who was exiled by the Romans and lived here for two years in 96 AD where he wrote the Book of Revelation of the New Testament.
Walks in Chora
The capital of Patmos is one of the most orderly cities of the Aegean. Old mansions, such as the Simantiris Mansion (1625), that operates as a museum (+30 22470 31360), or the renovated Nikolaidis mansion (18th century), that is open to visitors (+30 22470 32704), as well as the numerous ordinary houses with flower-filled gardens and freshly-painted doors and windows, compose an enchanting image.
Many places in Chora offer a magnificent view to the bay of Skala and the ocean (information at Municipal Tourist Office +30 22470 31666).
The Monastery of Saint John the Evangelist
In 1999 the Holy Monastery, the Cave of the Revelation and the medieval city of Chora were included in the list of UNESCO World Heritage Monuments.
The Ecclesiastical Museum with its rare exhibits is one of the most important of its kind. The library has more than 4000 manuscripts and printed books from the 6th to the 19th century (www.monipatmou.gr).
The cave of the Revelation
It is located between Skala and Chora. This is where John the Apostle wrote the “Book of Revelation”, that is included in the Canon of the New Testament. In the cave’s church you can see icons from the 12 century and the wooden hand carved screen from 1600.
The beaches: Close to Skala and accessible even on foot are the beaches of Meloi, Aspri and Merikas. The best and more beautiful beaches, such as Vagia, Livadi Geranou and Lampi with its colourful pebbles, are found on the north part of the island. More organized are the sandy beaches of Kampos and Agriolivado.
The popular beaches of Groikos, Kalikatsou and Petra are located south of Chora. Further south, in the bay of Stavros, you can find the beaches of Kouvari, Alykes and Diakofti. From Diakofti, a path (45 minutes) will take you to perhaps the loveliest beach of the island, Psili Ammos (it has a tavern).
The north-western and steep beaches of Lefkes and Mersini may be more peaceful, but they are exposed to the north winds.
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Copyright photo & text: Germaine Alexakis/ Views Of Greece
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