...Athens By Taxi
TOURS & TRANSFERS
ARCHAEOLOGICAL SITES
GREEK ISLANDS GUIDE
USEFUL LINKS
TIPS BY PAUL
PRICES

 

SAMOS lies on the northeastern Aegean, about 324 km (200 miles) from Piraeus and, at the closest point.

The beginnings of Samos history are lost in the mists of time. We do not know exactly when it was first inhabited but it is believed that it was as far back as the Neolithic period, i.e. in the 3rd millennium BC. Historians believe that the first colonists of the island were Phoenicians, Leleges, and Carians and also mention the Pelasgians, who brought to the island the worship of the goddess Hera. The first colonists from Asia Minor were followed in later years by a wave of Myceneans, who, around 1300 BC, are supposed to have been the companions of the mythical king Angaeus, a monarch who had taken part in the Argonaut expedition and was recognized by ancient authorities as the founder of the city of Samos. Samos reached its apex during the time of Polycrates (532-522 BC). It was then that the island grew into a great naval power and founded its own colonies. A new, 50-oar ship was invented around that time in Samos shipyards, the famous samaina. In later years, its fame and reaches drew Anthony and Cleopatra, who who found a haven here for their love making. Samos, a conduit between Greece and the flourishing Greek colonies in Ionia, as Asia Minor was known then, managed to remain independent for many years due to its power, and prospered, while fending off constant attempts to conquer it. This is perhaps one of the reasons that Samos produced so many eminent men, like the astronomer and mathematician Aristarchus, who was the first to study the movement of the earth and the first to suggest that it is a planet around the sun, Callistatus, who was responsible for founding or establishing the Greek 24-letter alphabet, the architects and sculptors Rhoikos and Theodoros, who built the famous temple of Hera, and the painters Saurias and Calliphon.

Yet probably the most exceptional and famous of all who called Samos home is Pythagoras (580-500 BC). A philosopher, mathematician and musician; he was never a man to take things for granted and he established a set of mathematical principles, including the Pythagorean theorem and the the Pythagorean arithmetic tables, that are still of fundamental importance to mathematical theory to this day. The visitor has the feeling of being on the mainland yet it is much more relaxed and laid-back. Samos features a solid infrastructure, owing to a large military presence, with wide and smooth roads in excellent condition, by any standards and especially Greek. Samos can be reached by plane from Athens and by ferryboat from Piraeus. The island is a worthy destination. It is a gorgeous, verdant place, covered with pure white sand beaches, picturesque villages, fishing harbors, vineyards that produce Samos' famous muscat sweet white wines, and flower orchards that yield beautiful orchids. The island's interior, untouched by tourism, features unspoilt villages and mountain vistas. Vathy, the capital, sits at the end of a long, pretty fjord and maintains a lot of its turn-of-the-20th century charm, with its elegant buildings lining the harborfront and the traditional neighborhoods up the hill. Karlovassi, at the western end of the island is equally picturesque but more laid back, with a slightly bohemian atmosphere due to its hosting a couple of departments of the University of the Aegean. Pythagorion, just south of Vathy and across the straights from the Turkish coast is the island's most pretty settlement, and the site of most archeological finds. The town used to be Polycrates' capital, in the 6th century BC, and, back then, its population exceeded 250,000. Today, it is a pleasant summer resort. Pythagorion, named thus in 1955, at the 2500th anniversary of the founding here of the world's first school of philosophy by Pythagoras, is both traditional and cosmopolitan. A picturesque fishing harbor, it also features the island's only marina, and its restored traditional houses and mansions offer elegant accommodations. The area is dominated by Dutch and German tourists during the peak months of July and August. The best beaches on the island are Kokkari, 10 km west of Vathy, that is also a nudist beach, Potokaki and Psyly Ammos, west and east of Pythagorion, respectively.

The island off the coast is dominated by Kerky mountain in the west and Ambelos mountain in the middle. Their peaks stand at an impressive 1,433 and 1,155 meters, respectively, and, uniquely among Aegean islands, are often covered with snow during the winter.

 

Copyright 2009-2012. All rights reserved.