Art & History
Our main destination is the old village of Chora, the island's capital, which stands high on the hilltop looking down over the port of Skala. From here we will have the opportunity to photograph the breathtaking panoramic view, learn a little about the island's historical background and discover the stunning architecture of houses dating from the fifteen to eighteen hundred.
After a short walk through the winding cobbled streets, we arrive at the House of Simandiris. Here we will have the unique experience of seeing the interior of a traditional Patmian house along with antique furniture, embroidery and paintings collected over 8 generations of the Simandiris family members. Just around the corner is the tiny Convent of Zoodochos Pigi built in 1607. On one side of the cobbled courtyard is the chapel, where we discover an array of recently restored 17th-century frescoes, the timeless art of the icon along with a beautifully carved icon wall. On the other side is a small gift shop where one can purchase handicrafts made by the nuns.
We will continue by foot through a labyrinth of atmospheric lanes winding their way past the foot of the Monastery of St. John to the Mansion of Nikolaidis. This historical homestead has recently been restored under the supervision of the Greek Ministry of Culture to protect Byzantine Antiquities. After the fifteen hundred, Patmos enjoyed an influx of wealthy ship owners and merchants who built large luxurious houses displaying their powerful class and allowing them protection against numerous pirate attacks.
The Nikolaidis Mansion, built in the seventeen hundreds, is a wonderful example of these grand houses - an excellent exhibition showing not only the islander's way of life but also a varied collection of local archaeological finds. On the ground floor, we find storerooms for foodstuffs, a cooking area with its original oven, water tanks for the collection of rainwater and its own private chapel named after St. Nickolas.
Three staircases lead to the 2nd floor where we find verandas, the formal reception room and the sleeping area, along with a magnificent ambataros (a separating wooden partition), decorated with traditional folk paintings. The ambataros is a grand status symbol of that time.
Before returning we can conclude our tour with refreshments in a beautiful environment with a spectacular view. A bit of shopping in Chora is also an option!