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Patmos, one of the most northerly islands in the Dodecanese, is a small place with an enormous profile. But it’s not about ancient Greek history and legend, it’s about Christian Greek Orthodoxy, for it was here that John of Patmos, a.k.a. St. John the Apostle, had a vision of Christ which he recorded in the Book of Revelations, the final book of the New Testament. Known also as ‘the island of the apocalypse’, not surprisingly Patmos has been a site of religious pilgrimage ever since.
The two main attractions, both UNESCO World Heritage sites, are the Monastery of St. John, which was founded in 1088, and the Spilaion Apokalypseos (Cave of the Apocalypse) where John received his vision. The monastery is a unique creation in that it combines holy monastic discipline and philosophy with castle-like fortifications. Around the cave you’ll find small churches, chapels and monastic cells.
Surrounding it all is the old settlement of Chora, which itself contains many interesting religious and other buildings with important icons and murals. UNESCO celebrates the whole place as the only example in Greece of an organised settlement around a fortified monastic complex that has evolved without interruption since the 12th century.
You don’t need to be a pilgrim to see the sights, wander the narrow alleyways of Chora or find a taverna to have a drink and take in the traditional architecture, whitewashed houses and wonderful views of the Aegean. On the north side of the island you’ll find some stunning beaches, elsewhere tiny secluded ones. Skala, the main mooring and waterfront, is well accustomed to providing creature comforts for pilgrims and tourists alike.
Our recommendation: If you’re in the area it would frankly be rude not to come and visit. Whilst the island has been a tourist hot-spot for hundreds of years it combines great spirituality with authentic hospitality and some lovely beaches.
We can assist you with:
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