Archaeological site of Kastelli
The position of Kastelli is arguably the most important archaeological site of Patmos, where ruins of the ancient acropolis and foundations of the temple of Apollo are saved.
As a naturally fortified hill, Kastelli rises west of Skala and north of Chora and offers clear view of three bays: Skala (to the east), Chochlaka (southwest) and Merika (to the north), while on the horizon there are the islands of Naxos and Ikaria, factors that explain the choice of the ancient inhabitants of the island to build their citadel here.
Superficial sherds and stone tools made of obsidian and flint that were found in the area (and that are exposed in the Mansion Nikolaidis) show that there was already a residential installation from the Bronze Age (1600-1100 BC). At the same time, findings of Geometric, Classical, Hellenistic and Roman times denote the continued use of the hill itself throughout the historical period: 8th century BC – 4th century AD).
Today, impressive remains of the fortification dating to the end of the classical period (late 4th century BC) are kept in Kastelli and are visible while ascending Skala. Significant parts of the fortification and rectangular towers are preserved to a large extent, while the ruins of the southeast tower reach the height of 3.5 m. In the northwest tower (a little higher from the small church of Saint Constantine, who seems independent of the main fortification) the gate with a ladder section of six steps are also rescued.
To visit the ancient citadel of Patmos, you have to follow a trail of three kilometers, which starts from the port of Skala (about an hour and a half on foot), in a short distance from theBaptistery of St. John. The view of Kastelli will reward you for your journey to the top.
- Ministry of Culture: http://www.yppo.gr/5/g5151.jsp?obj_id=1389
- http://38north24east.com/e-patmos/skala-the-north-of-the-island-ren/e-patmos-skala-and-the-north-of-the-island-kastelli Access 23.05.2015
- http://www.aegeanislands.gr/el/islands/castles-pamtos/castle-patmos.html Access 04.06.2015
The Windmills of Patmos
The windmills of Chora
Built in the east of the Holy Monastery of Patmos, on the top of the hill with view of the sea, the three windmills of Chora gave their name to the neighboring district of Mili. From the moment of their restoration in 2010, they can be characterized as another jewel of the island, which was awarded by Europa Nostra.
Windmills (two of which date back to 1588, and the third was built in 1863) fell into disuse in the late 1950s, when the industrial milling replaced the traditional production. The mills in Patmos, as well as in whole Europe, were deserted .
The ruined mills, visible from the sea, moved the Swiss banker and yachtsman, Mr. Charles Pictet, a fervent friend of Patmos. He envisioned them with sails filled with the Aeolus like earthly sailing boats, contributing to both the landscape and the local community, as they had done for four consecutive centuries.
On his initiative and financing, as well as with contributions of individuals and of Stavros Niarchos Foundation, the project of restoration was assigned to the Greek architect Daphne Becket and was completed with the cooperation of people from different horizons, but with the same love and respect for tradition: local shipbuilders, French millers of the eighth generation, Swiss specialists of sailing sails and Greek and French engineers, responsible for the reoperation of the mechanisms. Everyone’s purpose was not only to restore the building shell with traditional materials, but also to restore their utilitarian value, their “soul”, for them to be dynamic and living organisms, friendly towards the environment.
Today, the first mill reopened as a flour mill, with the aim not only to offer its visitors the image of the traditional flour production technology, but also to assist in the revival of the traditional crafts of flourman and baker and the production of products of the past.
The second windmill, because of the replacement of the grindstone by a generator and the installation of a metal rolling beam with mechanical brake for the waterwheel, is able to generate electricity from wind power. Finally, the plan for the third windmill is water production.
The windmills of Chora are reasonably some of its attractions; they are, however, above all a living monument, a bridge connecting the past with the present and the future.
- To read the review of the project by its initiator, Mr. Charles Pictet, click here.
- To read the history of their restoration by the architect Daphne Becket (in English), click here.
- To see the windmills as they are presented by Europa Nostra, click here.
The Rock of “Kallikatsou”
According to the legend, the Stone of Kallikaltsou is nothing but the curse of a mother that was really effective: Lured by the beautiful sea of the bay, having just received Communion, a girl wanted to dive in its water. Her mother forbade her to do so, but she insisted, causing the anger of the first. Furious, she shouted: “Go and become stone”. And so did she.
As for the name of the place, Kallikatsou is the name often given to searavens (Phalacrocorax aristotelis desmarestii) of the islands, a black seabird that reminds of the cormorant, and whose nests are on this cliff.
Researchers believe that the Stone – also known as the Rock – of Kallikaltsou, is actually an archaeological site where, from prehistoric to historic times (1100 BC-4th century AD), there was an open-air sanctuary with continuous worship, probably dedicated to Aphrodite. Carved stairs, the cave, artificial cavities and niches for the placement of the offerings and water tanks are elements that would be necessary for the ancient rites. Other findings in the area of the archaeologist Paul Triantaphyllides tend to support this theory; namely, stone tools and superficial pottery, prove that this rock was inhabited during the Late Bronze Age (1100 BC).
As it often happens, the elements of the ancient temple have changed use with the establishment of Christianity, when it was converted into a hermitage, and the monks used the existing sites as hermitages until the 14th century AD
Finally, it is worth pointing out that, geologically, the Rock of Kallikatsou is a volcanic rock since the era of volcanic activity in the region (four million years ago), that was formed by the splice of many volcanic bullets, while its figure proceeds from the way of connection of the materials of the basaltic lava from which it came.
Other Major Sight
Two – storey building with Gothic features, Nikolaides Mansion was built between 1705 and 1796 in Chora of Patmos and is a typical example of the urban architecture of the island. Downstairs there are the fournario (galley), cisterns and the private chapel of Saint Nicholas, while the first floor consists of “hipnous” (bedrooms) and “Noda” (living room and guest host at the same time) with “ampataro” (a wooden ornate “curtain” with shelves, which also served as a storage area) as a partition between them, and the upper terraces.
For a detailed description of the house, click here.
After the earthquake of 1956, the mansion was severely damaged, and since 1959, after its donation by its owners to the Greek government, it was restored and organized in an exemplary way as a showroom by the Archaeological Service. The purpose of the exhibition that is hosted, is for the residents and the visitors to come into contact with the mansions and the lifestyle of the people who lived there and get to know the history of the island from prehistoric to modern times, through archaeological findings and information material. Besides its museum nature, Nikolaides Mansion hosts also cultural events.
Ανοικτό μόνον το καλοκαίρι
It is open only in summer
Opening hours: Monday-Friday, 11: 00-14: 00
Tel .: (+30) 22470 32709
The oldest building in the country after the Monastery, located near the renowned Monastery of Zoodochos Pigi, Simantiri Mansion was built in 1625 by Smyrnian artisans and is a characteristic patmian two-storey mansion, which now operates as a folklore museum. Its interior includes furniture, paintings, heirlooms (mainly from Odessa) and a rare iconostasis with icons of Russian style of the 14th, 15th and 16th century. House-museum, the tour is given by its eighth generation owner, Mrs Morfousa Simantiri, who leavens the objects with stories from the past and jokes about their acquisition and use.
Open all year round
Hours: Daily, 09: 00-13: 30 and 17: 00-19: 30
Tel .: (+30) 22470 31360
Stavrakas Mansion was built approximately in 1870-1880 in the northern part of the country, just beneath the walls and near the gate of Theologos Monastery. It is a classic example of the traditional Patmian house in the neoclassical era. Architecturally, it extends over the steep slope and it has three floors and a small courtyard.
It was restored by the Patmian Culture Company (EMCO) and now is open as an international environment and culture center.
Reference: Greek Society for the Environment and Cultural Heritage. Click here for the brochure.
The Italian Building (Skala)
Built in 1932, by order of the Italian Governor Mario Lago to house the barracks of the Constabulary, the Post, the Customs and its warehouses, the “Italian Building”, as it is called today, is located in the central square of Skala.
With a rectangular shape that encloses two inner courtyards, its facades have a number of openings of various shapes inspired by the Italian medieval decor, while in the facade of the square there is a gallery with arches. In its corner lies an imposing two-storey square tower.
The Italian building is a typical Italian architectural monument of the era of the Italian occupation in the Dodecanese (1912-1943), and today it houses the Police Department of Patmos, the Customs, the Post and various municipal services of the island.