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Amorgos Sites & Villages

Ancient Arkesini
Located on the coast north of Vroutsi. It is one of the three ancient towns of Amorgos. Most probably founded by settlers from Naxos. Only a few remains are to be seen. The chapel was built over the foundations of a temple dedicated to Aphrodite. Spectacular view to the North with Katapola, the port, Chora and the Profitis Ilias.

Pyrgos
Close to the chapel of Agia Triada (north of Arkesini) you will find an impressive watch tower from the Hellenistic period (built during the 4th century BC). It was erected from to protect the local people

Venetian castle - Chora
The few remains of the Venetian castle (13th century) are located in Chora on a rock pinnacle of a height of 20 meters. The entrance you find at the church of Agios Georgios.

Vigla - Ancient town
Vigla is located opposite of the village Tholaria, overlooking the bay of Mikri Glyfada. Here was the ancient acropolis of Aegialis. 

Minoa ancient town - Katapola
Minoa is located above Katapola at the top of Moundoulia hill. The ascent to this sacred area follows two routes.  the main one is the main road which cuts through parts of the Sakkas Valley and climbs up to north eastern slope of Moundoulia and finishing up to the entrance to the archaeological site. On the other hand the most popular one is from Katapola's Apano Geitonia trough the stone paved track that climbs to Minoa.  (30-35 min walks).

The construction of this ancient site date back to the Geometric period (10th century BC) and it was constantly populated to the 4th century AD. The foundations of the Geometric period have been preserved. A temple of the Hellenistic period is situated on the far left with the body of a statue in the middle; the long 4th century B.C. Gymnasium building dominates the archeological site. A characteristic building on the south side of Gymnasium site is the Lavatory which has been preserved almost intact with its duct cut into the rock.
The upper part of the city, the Acropolis is to be found about 25-30 meters above the site of Hellenistic temple, by steps which are clearly visible. The view from there is unique.

Santa Irini chapel - Lefkes 
Behind and above the settlement of Lefkes is situated the chapel of St. Irini. This chapel itself, according to the indications of the excavations of 1979-81, was built on the top of an ancient sanctuary.   In its surrounding area many relics have been found.  Fragments of Archaic pithioi (earthen jars), an Ionian work of arts an Archaic "Kouros" torso (statue of youth) and many other works of the Classical and Hellenistic periods.   

Double chapel of Agii Saranta (Katapola Countryside)
From St. Thekla settlement the way becomes a downhill stepped stone paved track. 
At the foot of the hillside opposite of the point where the main Varmas torrent bed meets a smaller gorge and close to running water stands a unique modest and lonely "double" chapel dedicated to the Agii Saranta (forty Saints). A rare monument, important though the centuries forgotten in the Amorgean countryside.   It's a union of ancient, medieval and modern worship elements in a single place.  Everything here present an Ancient sanctuary where one can see Ionian column-capital in the first church, Dorian column-capitals and other ancient parts prove the long abandonment of the second church, Christian remain and Byzantine relics wherever one looks.  The roof with a pointed arch indicates also a sign of Venetian influence at some point.

Churches

Panagia Katapoliani - Katapola
Inside the picturesque higher parts of Katapola town, on the way towards the Apano Geitonia (upper neighborhood) will find the jewel of the town, the oldest Christian monument over the island, the Panagia Katopoliani.  Through the years it has been repeatedly restored but its Cycladic ecclesiastical architecture style has remained untouched.
 
It's a large early Christian Basilica and apart from the ancient building materials that are visible embodied in the walls, there are isolated monolithic columns and capitals around the exterior of the Church.   
 

Taxiarchis church - outskirts of Katapola

This small church is situated on the old stone paved road Katapola -Chora and it's an early Christian building with many ancient remains that was built in a commanding position over the plain coast.  In the area there is a half ruined neighboring building, (most probably from a sanctuary from the historic period) an abundance of ancient materials have been used are It use on this church that use to be a small worshipping place.

Evangelistria chapel - Xilokeratidi 
In the outskirts of Xilokeratidi, continuing along a small path we find the historic Evangelistria chapel, hidden from the sea in a small gully.  Dated from the early Byzantine era, this hidden position proves the need the security measures against "the dangers from the sea" throughout those troubled years.
Its unusual architectural formation is impressive. Also in the first of the three layers of the church, a simple mode of decoration without human images from the iconoclastic years (9th century A.C) is visible.     
 

Kera Leousa & Photododtis Christos church  - Chora 
Wedged into the rock for more than fifteen centuries is the famous Kyra Leousa (our Lady of mercy) church, possibly one of the oldest in Chora and the only one with a vestibule and other early Christian evidence.   This tiny church is itself a strong indication that there was human activity on the island before the end of the ancient world. Besides that and around 250 meters further down below the Metoxi (owned by Hozoviotisa Monastery) of The Photodoti Christou Church (at the eastern side of the village) we have the most ancient early Christian remains.  That reinforces the indication that between these two points the first Chora settlement was formed a bit later. This area today is known as Vorina (northern quarter).  
 

Photodoti Christou Church is a Byzantine monument that stands in a tree filled oasis behind the Gymnasium. A complex of monks' cells and store-houses built by the hand of an anonymous builder with local materials that surrounding the area.  Inside one can admire the exceptional frescoes and the icon of the Mega Archiereus (1629), as well as the wood-carved iconostasis and the bas-relief marble plaque with the two headed eagle in the floor. 

CHURCHES IN CHORA
Among the various neighborhoods of the Chora's paved streets, one can find a lot of interested and worth visiting churches.   Like
 St. Vasillios and Vlisani at Vlicha with Byzantine relics and post-Byzantine frescoes.  St. Pandes Church that was renovated in 1644 as it was inscribed on the post-Byzantine lintel. A similar inscription (1689) is found on the lintel of the Agii Apostoli church. Both churches are situated in the Kato Geitonia at the western entrance of Chora. 

In the centre of Chora, beside the Gavra Pyrgo is situated the church of 
Zoodochos Pygi, a Byzantine church that was renovated during the 17th century. On the floor of this church one can see a carved marble plaque from a sarcophagus with two-headed eagle dated back to 1683.  There are also four post -Byzantine icons from the 18th century.  In a short distance one meets the church of Treis Ierarches, in which the interested icons "Prayer" and "Treis Ierarches" (end of 17th and beginning of 18th century) have been preserved.  

Tris Ierarches church - Xylokeratidi
Xylokeratidi is located close to Katapola, to the left side of the port. Worth a visit is the church of Tries Ierarches at the beginning of the village.

Agia Triada church
This small church reminds of the Monastery Chozoviotissa. It is built under an overhang into the rocks and was constructed during the times of piracy. It served also as a shelter for the local population in case of attacks. The church is located close to the village of Lagada.

Panagia Epanohoriani - Lagada (Krikellos)
This pilgrimage church is located approximately 15-20 minutes' walk from Lagada, along a wide and pretty path.  It's also built in a vital and strategic position on the foundations of a large ancient temple. It's teeming with ancient remains. Like an Ionian anthemion above the entrance, a Doric column, a stele inscribed with a degree from ancient Aegiali's inhabitants, as well as post-Byzantine frescoes that adorn the church and increase its sanctuary. 
 

There are also three more, old Byzantine style churches surrounding  Panagia Church, which creates a unique complex of monuments.  Like an old age worshipping area. 
 St. George, St. Kyriaki (85-90 meters to the north) and the chapel of St. Mammas (in here there is another ancient inscribed stele).  Below the front of the main church there is a wide field with a series of water holes called Embigi. 

A big authentic festival is taking place here on the 15th of August (The Assumption), and there are all around necessary buildings like store houses, dining area and kitchen with fireplaces to cover all the needs for the festival.

Theologos church  -  Lagada (Krikellos)
Theologos is situated at a plateau around 1 hour walk from Lagada.  It's an early-Byzantine monastery, a great monument of ecclesiastical architecture.  Once it was also Metoxi of Hozoviotissa (part of its estate).  A rare composition of religiousness and antiquity.  Definitely was build all over the site of an ancient temple, while the quality of its relics (ancient parts and byzantine frescoes) and the complete abandonment leaves the visitor speechless.
 

Stavros church - Lagada (Krikellos)
Stavros is 1 hour and 40min walk away from Lagada. It's situation and the church's ancient origin are enough to emit a primitive sense of Holiness.  Here a big traditional festival on the 14th of September the day of the Life-Giving Cross.

Monasteries

Monastery of Panagia Chozoviotissa
A visit to this Byzantine monastery hooked in the fissures of mount Profitis Ilias for almost one thousand years, is a must on Amorgos.  For both the spectacular scenery it is built in - 300 meters above the sea - and the monastery itself.   It dates back to about 1017 with renovations under the emperor Alexios Komnenos in 1088.  There are also renovation lintels with inscriptions 1632 and 1668.  According to tradition a miraculous icon from Hozova in Palaistini was found below in a small boat. According to tradition this icon was put into this boat by a wealthy woman during the years of the iconoclastic conflict.  And also that this icon was made by Evangelisti Louca.

The stone paved steps that climb up to the Monastery are literally carved out of the rock and enjoy a magnificent panoramic view over the open sea.  Approaching the monastery it's amazing the harmony shared between this building and the landscape.  The only difference (between natural and men made) seems to be the use of whitewash.  This characteristic whiteness, it seems to declare that there is human presence in the area and that is a special place of worship.

When one passed the low entrance door will notice the post-Byzantine sculptured marble door frame which is "crowned" with an older Venetian arch of the 15th century.   Monks are willing to offer their hospitality and a tour to this holy place.  It is unbelievable how a complete monastery settlement exist for centuries in such a building that is only 4, 5 meters wide and with 8 floors, while most of its parts carved out of the rock.
 

There are many cells, cistern of rain-water, ovens, kitchens, olive and wine presses, larders for oils and wine and of course the dining room. There is also a small reception hall and the priceless ecclesiastical treasures of the monastery.
 
Many narrow staircases, one following the other (often an extension of the natural rock) create a labyrinthine system of communication from one floor to the other. 
 

The small church built in the rock, together with the small monastic dwellings (cave like hollows that were later made into cells) during the first ninth century. There two Byzantine icons of Hozoviotissa.  The historical " Hozoviotissa Lady" and the one known as "Prossessor" or the "Dark eyed Virgin Mary" are displayed in the monastery. There is also an icon knows as "Yiennadio's Prayer" (1619) that is rare proof of the brotherliness and the exchange of monks between the Hozoviotissa and Patmos Monastery during the 17th century.
 
While a visit to the Monastery modest dress is required (long trousers, long skirt, shoulders covered). Every year thousands of visitors come here. Also a big festival is held every year on the 21st of November for the celebration of the Panagia.
 

Agios Georgios Valsamitis - monastery
This monastery is located close to the road on the east side between Chora and Kamari (Kato Meria) within a green and blossoming landscape. The monastery was built on a magical place with a long history. It used to be an independent monastery throughout the Byzantine years and much later became Metoxi of the Hozoviotisa Monastery.  Of special interest is the church, a three aisle basilica of the 16th century built on the foundations of a succession of Byzantine churches.  The holy spring today has run dry but is still a symbol of metaphysical energy which Amorgos continuously releases in the fight of times.  Tradition holds that the water has healing and mystic powers. Agios Georgios Valsamitis is referred to old travelers' writing as "Pythia of the Archipelago" On the mountain above there are the remains of a Venetian watch tower.
 

Place of interest

 Gavras Pyrgos - Chora

This is one of the few gentry's houses in Chora.  It's the most eye-catching and the oldest one.  Dated since 16th century in the Venetian style. In its construction ancient and early Christian materials have been used. During the 18th century this house belonged to the large merchant family Gavras and it was a very nice building before the years of the revolution.  Today this building houses the Archeological Collection of Amorgos.
The surrounding wall and courtyard decorated with column capitals from the island's numerous ancient sites discloses the fact that the house is used as a museum.
The collection contains a huge range of antiquities dating from early Bronze Age to the end of the ancient world.  

Kato Lakkos - Chora
This is the medieval cistern which supplied the population with water and whose initial use corresponded with the first organized habitation of Chora in the early Byzantine era. During the Venetian domination (15th century) this place changed into a aqueduct and took today's form.  
It has remained almost untouched since then. 

Read 956 times Last modified on Sunday, 23 March 2014 08:22
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