Chora of Patmos
Lying in the southern central part of the island, Chora is the capital of Patmos. Ιt is built around the towering Monastery of Saint John and is home to many religious and secular buildings. The picturesque settlement is one of the best preserved and oldest in the Aegean. The colonization of the Chora took place gradually around the fortified monastic complex and expanded by new quarters in the 15th century for refugees from Constantinople and in the 17th century from Crete.
The town stands on top of a hill overlooking the harbor and the Aegean Sea and is characterized by whitewashed houses, elegant mansions, narrow winding alleyways and a number of fine small churches, dating mostly from the 17th and 18th centuries. Some of the churches have important mural paintings, icons and other ecclesiastical furnishings. Chora is a lovely place to spend some time, wandering around. The maze of alleys and passages is an ideal place for a tranquil walk surrounded by a somewhat silent and spiritual atmosphere. Originally built to avoid pirates, the alleyways are now perfect for romantic walks and offer great photo opportunities. Visitors can revel in the numerous charming restaurants, cafes, and shops within the capital.
The Monastery of Saint John is a top religious and spiritual center in Greece and offers one of the most impressive views from anywhere on the island. It was founded in 1088 by Osios Christodoulos and is a unique creation, integrating monastic values within a fortified enclosure. It has the external appearance of a castle with towers and crenellations and is home to precious relics, vestments, icons and liturgical artwork. It also has a remarkable library with over 2,000 volumes, 13,000 historic documents and 900 manuscripts. Always up the hill and not far from Chora, there are three stone windmills dating back to the 16th century. The three windmills are a real jewel for the island and visit is worthwhile.
The town of Chora on the island of Patmos is one of the few settlements in Greece that have evolved uninterruptedly since the 12th century. Along with the Monastery of Saint John and the Cave of the Apocalypse, constitute an exceptional example of a traditional Greek Orthodox pilgrimage center of outstanding architectural interest. They all maintain their basic morphology to the present day. The town is still inhabited and continues to be extended but always within specified boundaries and under the strict control and regulations of the appropriate authorities. Its authentic character survives due to the protective legislative regulations implemented in the area already since 1948 when the island of Patmos was integrated to the Hellenic state. Any intervention in the area is prohibited without the approval of the Ephorate of Antiquities of the Dodecanese. Secular and ecclesiastical authorities have ensured that many of the tourism abuses have been avoided, preserving the tranquility appropriate to the sacred values of Patmos.