What to See in Amorgos

Una porta ad Amorgos

KATAPOLA

in the central-western area, is the main port of Amorges, and one of the turistic areas with hotels, pensions, rooms and shops. The city is composed by the suburbs of Xilokeratidi, Rachidi and Katapola. The port, natural and deep, one of the most protected among the Cycladic islands, played a fundamental role for the history and the economy of the island. Since ancient times it was an important business centre for commerce between Greece and Asia.
During daytime it’s a picturesque port, liven up by colourful fisherman boats, small artisan shops, many taverns, bars and Kafenions.Una porta a Chora, Amorgos
We suggest taking a walk along the waterfront in the evening, when the lanterns of the taverns illuminate the perimeter of the bay creating a yearning atmosphere.
Right in front of the Skopelitis Ferry pier there is the Naftilia Kafenion, one of the oldest kafenion  and for sure one of the most characteristic in the island.
Inside, surrounded by walls adorned with old pictures and old TV sets you will feel that here the old-times still linger. Outside, local customers spend their time listening to local music, eating pistachios and drinking ouzo. Genuine Greece.
The kafenion is also a travel agency where you can buy tickets for the main ferry companies. Here you can find tickets for “Ferry Skopelitis”, the ferry that connects the port of Katapola the Small Cyclades islands. Timetables are available in the travel agency.
Katapola is 5 Km from Chora. The distance is covered by a regular bus service.
From the port of Katapola to the beach of Maltezi there is a caique service (right in front of the mole).


CHORA
Chora, capital of the island of Amorgos, one of the most beautiful and best preserved of the entire archipelago, is located in the central eastern part of the island. Chora is a snow-white village, surrounded by hills. Is was built about 400 m above the sea level in order to be protected from pirate attacks that were frequent during ancient times, It is dominated by an impressive rock around which, during the XII century, was built the Katro and was controlled by windmills that now are in ruins.Chora
Chora is the heart and soul of the island, breathtakingly beautiful, shrouded in an almost unreal silence.
It can be considered divided in four suburbs: VORINA north, VLYHA south, KATO GHITONIA west, APANO GHITONIA east.
The houses are like simple cubes in whitewash lime, with the blue, red and green of doors and widows standing out against the perfect white of the walls, one next to the other divided by narrow cobblestone streets. Picturesque taverns line the maze of narrow streets and small squares with colourful tables outside, offering any sort of local delicatessen.
The light surrounding Chora is so dazzling that only the spots of colour created by bougainvilleas, rhododendrons and geraniums decorating terraces and small squares offer some rest to the eye.
Scattered through the lanes there are about 40 small churches, dating back to the Byzantine and post-Byzantine period that are worth a visit.
Minimarkets, greengrocers, bakeries, artisan shops, drugstores, restaurants, taverns, ouzerie café, snack bars, kafenions can be found here.
Una via di ChoraThe street connecting Chora to Katapola offers wonderful sights.
Leaving Chora, as soon as the Prophet Elijah’s mountain gets out of the way, the whole gulf view that lies underneath is breathtaking: where the view is at its best you can find also some benches…overhanging on the gulf.
The distance from Katapola, the main port of Amorgos is 5Km. 

Looking above we are struck by the view of an impressive 50mt high rock, the well known Kastro that Venetians turned into a real fortress that marked the beginning of the construction of Chora. Beside the stairs that are cut out of the rock and are leading to Kastro is the church of AI GIORGIS. Climbing the stairs we find a door, we open it and find ourselves on top of the hill. The slits carved in the rock are perfectly preserved. From here the view is incredible, Chora below us, snow-white houses roofs, the city church on the left, on the right the suburb of Troulos with the windmills on top of the hill.
Behind the windmills is the sea.

AEGIALI
The colourful village of Egiali is in the northwest of the island and is divided in three suburbs: Laganda, Potamos and Tholaria. The distance from Chora is 15Km and there is a regular bus service connecting the villages.
Aigiali is also the second port of Amorgos. The horseshoe shaped bay, gives shelter to fine sand beaches and turquoise incredibly transparent sea, wonderful. IMAGES OF EGIALI BEACH.
The beach, wide, with fine sand and crystal clear water is partially furnished and shaded by tamarisk trees. Along its perimeter there are bars, cafes, ouzeries, small restaurants and typical taverns. This is the touristic centre of the island, with hotels, pensions, rooms and apartments. In the picturesque port there are small colourful fisherman boats, taverns, restaurants and small shops. Easy access to beautiful beaches, to shops and all that is needed make the Aegiali area the perfect place for families with children.

The Aigiali port is connected with the small Cycladic archipelago (Iraklia, Koufonissi, Shinoussa e Donoussa) by the Blue Star Ferries e Ferry SKopelitis, leaving from Katapola, main island port, and stopping three times a week at Eigiali. From the port of Eigiali there is a service of caiques and small boats to the island of Nikouria (in front of the Agios Pavos beach).

Nostalgia

ZONA DI KATO MERIA
The south of the island is well worth a trip. There are beautiful bays and its vegetation is much more abundant providing a less dramatic scenario than in the north, more gentle, with green hills sloping down to the sea and forming small valleys.
The first village we meet is KAMARI, 12Km from Chora, a handful of white houses scattered on the hills, moving on there is ARKESINI, at 15 Km from Chora. Here you can find a mini-market, groceries, and taverns.
18Km from Chora there is KALOFANA, a small fertile valley with some cafes and taverns.
Passing through, visiting these villages is like going back in time, surrounded by peace, tranquillity, smiling people that are quietly busy working their fields, in their houses or just relaxing and enjoying the shadow of their garden.
Each hairpin of the road discloses a striking view and offers some image of the past.
Moving on towards KALOTARITISSA we see the remains of a wrecked ship, the Liveros close to a small beach.

ChiesaMINOA - (Katapola)
Above the port of Katapola, over the hill of Mountolia is the place where during ancient times MINOA was raised, one of the oldest villages of the island.
Tradition tells that the ancient town of MINOA was the residence were Minos , king of Crete, used to spend his summer vacations.
This is the place in the island where the oldest traces of human settlement were found, dating back to the IV millennium B.C.
The place can be reached either by car (3Km from the port of Katapola), or on foot following the trail that starts from the suburb of Rachidi (Katapola), after about 40 minutes of walking.

TOWER OF GRAVA, now archaeological museum. Chora (Chora)
It is located in a central street of Chora and the museum could not be placed in a more appropriate site since this is the oldest building in town, dating back to the 16th century. The building, once owned by a rich merchant family, was a splendid construction before the period of the revolution. Inside there are archaeological findings from the bronze age to the roman age.

KASTRO   Kastro bar
It was built approximately during the XIII century around the impressive rock overlooking Chora in order to accomplish a fundamental task: protect itself against pirate attacks, very frequent in the Aegean Sea.
The making of the first fortification is to be attributed to Geremia Gizi.
Kastro is located in the north of Chora, in a zone called Vorina. Besides the stairs that are cut out of the rock and are leading to Kastro is the church of Ai Georgis. Climbing the stairs we find a door, we open it and find ourselves on the top of the hill. The slits carved in the rock are perfectly preserved. From here the view is incredible. Chora below us, snow-white houses roofs, the city church on the left, on the right the suburb of Troulos with the windmills on top of the hill.

THE MONASTERY OF HOZOVIOTISSA. Area of Chora
monastero di HozoviotissaVisible also from the parking lot next to the beach of Aghia Anna, on the left, snow-white, impressive, silent, shaded by the Prophet Elijah’s peak, perfectly set in the rock overhanging the sea, appears like a vision, dedicated to the Virgin who saves the life and protects the fishermen, the Monastery of Hozoviotissa is the most important religious and cultural monument in the entire island of Amorgos.
It is 3Km far from Chora, on the same road that takes to the beach of Aghia Anna, the distance is covered by a regular bus service.

The road that takes to the monastery is asphalted and ends up in a small parking lot. From here a 300 steps stairway leads to the spectacular monastery where the monks who live here (they say there are 4 of them, but the real number is not sure), welcome the tourists and show them the inside. monastero di Hozoviotissa, Amorgos
In order to be allowed to visit adequate clothes are required, as a sign of devotion. Offers at the end of the visit are welcome. The monastery is open all week from 08.00 a.m. to 01.00 p.m. and from 17.00 p.m. to 19.00 p.m., in summer it is open only in the afternoon.
Before the monastery was built this area was named Diavolotopos that means land of the devil, in order to express how harsh and inaccessible this part of territory is. The monastery was built after the finding of an icon of the Virgin Mary right in the bay below. Someone says that the icon was from the village of Hozovo in Palestine, most likely from the monastery of Hoziva, which existed during the first ages of the Christian era and has several similitudes with the monastery of the Virgin Mary of Hozoviotissa. The icon was brought to the island probably during the 9th century. According to the tradition the small boat with the icon docked right in the bay where the monastery is now sitting.
The news of the discovery of the icon by two young persons who lived in the island was so important to reach Constantinople that used to be engaged in commercial business with Amorgos. The emperor at that time, Alexiou Komneos, devoted man, as soon as he got the news of the discovery, issued an imperial ordinance that ordered to begin the construction of the monastery. It was the year 1088. To that emperor are now attributed the small church and some of the cells where the monks moved in. The construction of the monastery as it is visible today dates back after the XI century.

Traditions and legends – According to the tradition in the beginning they tried to build the monastery on the seashore, right where the icon was discovered, but inexplicably all the work carried out during the day was mysteriously found destroyed the day after. One day the master builder lost his toolbox. They searched for it everywhere till they were exhausted, but could not find it; then they eventually looked above and saw it hanging by a nail on the Prophet Elijah’s mountain. It was interpreted as a sign sent by the Virgin Mary indicating where they should have built the monastery. All the projects were then modified and the construction of the monastery could begin.

The first school (Chora)
It is located in Chora not far from the Oriental entrance. Funded by the monks of the monastery of Hoziovitissa, it was the first Greek high school to be established after the revolution of 1821.

ST GEORGE VALSAMITIS – Area of Chora

 It is one of the most important churches of Amorgos, located just outside Chora, on the way that connects the suburb of Kato Meria which ever since ancient times was a pilgrimage destination for the spring that flows underneath. The name of the church is due to a smelling variety of mint plant having antiseptic properties, the VARSAMOS, which grows in this area.