The Monastery of the Archangel Michael Panormitis is a Greek Orthodox monastery built on the southwest coast in the early 18th century. The monastery is built on the tip of a beautiful bay, Panormos, from which it takes its name. The name of the Panormos bay is derived from antiquity. The Monastery of Panormitis on the island of Symi is a huge marine shrine. Considered to be the patron saint of sailors and sponge-divers, he helps them in their quest to pluck the 'sea-flower' from the depths of the sea. In the Ecclesiastical Museum of the Monastery there are exhibits of wooden replicas of caiques, bottles, boxes, etc, sent in from all over Greece with names to be recited in mass for health, or for their souls to rest in peace. Sometimes some money, wax or incense is inserted into bottles, thrown in the sea that brings them to shore. Ships collect them and bring the to the monastery harbour. The bells of the unique baroque-rococco bell-tower ring out and the head monk recants a prayer to the Archangel. Symian fishermen built a village in Laconia and settled there. They are called Symoyiannades. They built a small church dedicated to the Archangel, from which the village took its name. From there they emigrated to Africa and took to fishing on the open seas. The silver coating on the miraculous icon of the Saint in the monastery was built by Iannis Peloponnesios sponsored by the captains, sailors and sponge-divers of Symi.
www.SymiGreece.com is a not for profit website that cotains a directory of every business on Symi...a webpage for every shop & business! It also has a blog, up-to-date news, hundreds of great photos, and a chat page. By far the best page about Symi I have ever seen!
Life on a greek island: in the morning, the shopowners start to prepare their shops for the masses coming over from Rhodes for a daytrip, arriving around 11 or so. Maybe a regular ferry unloads people and cars meanwhile. Watch tourists passing, see them coming back to the feries and leave... poooh... ;-)
See "harbour-cinema", when the chartercrews come in to the harbour - 5-9 more or less experienced sailors, men mostly, in July and August families, especially italian ones. See them try to drop an anchor and get the boat moored... don´t laugh on them, it´s not easy, what they try (once a year in their holiday), but it´s funny.... some make a real big deal of it, others a drama, a few come in, check, drop and are ready, before you realize, what´s going on...
That´s the main thing one can do - ah yes: fishing from the boat in the water of the harbour (which is clear mostly!), many fishes, some big ones a s well (the port is 35m deep, so bigger ones come in to hunt the smaller ones...)
Although my visits haven't co incided with this event, it's something that the island is rightly proud of.
A festival of song, music and dance. Traditional and modern music from artistes of Symi, other Greek Islands and nearby Turkey.
Please check the symivisitor web page for upto date information about dates/artistes etc
Near the clocktower in Yialos, is this landmark. The statue of "Michalaki" The young fisherman, which was created by Costas Valsamis - a Symiot sculpter.
Nearby seating provides a pleasant spot to spend a while admiring the views of the harbour, and over to Chorio, and the windmills.
See the same statue in Black n White below.
Arriving by Ferry you alight in the harbour of Symi - Yialos and above can be seen the hills of Ano Symi or Chorio which is the island's capital - more on that later. The harbour is a colourful area lined with souvenir shops and tempting tavernas on one side and the water taxis and boats on the other. More popular now are the turkisk gulets which make the short trip over from nearby Turkey.
The Chorio area also provides a stunning view of Yialos harbour - its worth coming up here for this view alone! Fine views too from the road leading up to the windmills - windmills are soon reached from the Kali Strata - take a left hand turn just before you reach Georgios taverna and in a few minutes you will be there.
Of course the hill advantage of Chorio provides wonderful views - especially from the high part of Megali Panagia Church. This is the view looking away from Symi over to Pedi Bay. Don't forget your camera here!
Ok time to explore the higher part of Symi - Chorio.
Chorio is at the foot of Symi's highest mountain, Vigla. - over 2500 of Neo-classical houses are clustered on the hillside here, looking for all the the world like a venetian village :-) Its unique being the only one in Greece so you just have to see it!
After the square of Chorio some of the steps are no longer white but blue! So picturesque with the vine trellis overhead - its just a great place to explore and get lost among the narrow streets here and discover hidden gems. Careful of these steps though as you can see from this pic they are quite worn and uneven in places.
Many of the windmills were ruins but several have been restored and are being lived in - some have even been turned into holiday apartments - a novel place to stay in Symi I would think with its fabulous views. Conveniently the Symi bus stops near them too so no wories about carting luggage all the way up here!
Also high up on the crest of the hills of Chorio these old windmills can be seen. No sails on them and long since disused but stillnice to see.Late afternoon they took on a lovely golden hue as the sun was going down.
The main site of the old castle is dominated by the church of Megali Panagia - situated on of the highest part of Chorio. This present church is fairly modern being a replacement for the one destroyed during World War II. Often the churches may be closed when a service is not in progress but an old greek man selling herbs in the courtyard here beckoned us inside to have a look - highhly decorated with chandeliers, icons and other such artwork. Beautiful to see but I felt too timid to take pitures when this place meant so much to him
Just wandering around Chorio you will happen across many other imaculate beautifully painted churches with lovely ornate belltowers. Often I though I'd walked around in a circle and was seeing the same one but no it was a different one!
An interesting feature of the chuch of Megali Panagia to look out for is that ist has two bells and one of them is made from the nose cone of a bomb shell. It was a photo opportunity that Dave could not resist!
Climb the steps right by the bell for a great view down too.