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Chora Amorgou

Amorgos: Small Welcoming Pension

Amorgos: Small Welcoming Pension

Welcome to Chora Amorgou!

Everything in Chora Amorgou can be seen on any other Cycladic island: windmills; Venetian castles; uphill, narrow and winding stone-paved alleyways; steps enough, and some to spare; all-white houses and monasteries, and cultural treasures in abundance. Yet, everything in this village-capital of Amorgos is so spectacular that it will impress you, as if seeing it all for the very first time!

Chora Amorgou is not, unlike most everywhere else, the island’s main port. It lies 400 meters (1200 feet) above sea level and 5 kilometers (3.1 miles) from Katapola, the port of your ship’s arrival. The fact that it was most probably built during the 9th century AD, after Crete was occupied by the Arabs, and away and invisible from the sea, is telltale that the reasons were related to the people’s fear of attacks from the sea.

The main sightseeing interest here is the Archaeological Museum, housed in Gavras Tower, an island tower initially built in the 18th century and renovated during the last one. Exhibits here mainly consist of surface finds from the three ancient cities of Amorgos: Aegiali (also spelled Egiali), Arkesine (or Arcesine, or even Arkesini), and Minoa on Mt. Mountoulia (which also has some very decently preserved remains in situ - about a 45 minute hike from Katapola).

Another sightseeing attraction is the Venetian Castle, though not in the very best condition, built in 1290 AD. Some walls are preserved with their characteristic embrasures. What is most interesting is the co-existence of the Castle with the St. George Chapel and three Pelasgic (Pre-Hellenic or, more correctly, Proto-Hellenic) towers, as well as with antiquities dating to the Minoan Era. It is obvious that this easily defensible spot had drawn the attention of man long before the Venetians arrived.

In Chora Amorgou there are many post-Byzantine churches to be encountered, as you wander through the village. A visit to St. Thomas, the Cathedral (the Metropolis), St. Thalelaeos, Chiara Eleoussa (housing the splendid masterpiece of the Icon of Our Lady), The Cross (Stavrós), Aghii Pandes and especially the very old Metochi of Protodotis Christos will be rewarding and worth your time. For history fans, have a look at the historical building of the first Greek High School in post revolutionary Greece (1829).

A steep downhill road leads from Chora Amorgou to the Byzantine Monastery of Panagia Hozoviotissa, one hundred meters (300 feet) below. If you think that, from the safety of your ship arriving at Katapola port, that your first view of the Monastery perched on the rocks is impressive, it is certainly understandable. But wait until you actually visit the monastery itself. It is an architectural wonder! The building is eight stories high, with just a few meters of width, and clings miraculously to the precipitous rock. The view from here is positively extraordinary and may actually make you dizzy.

It was built in 1017, and again in 1088 during Alexios Komnenos Reign in Constantinople, and once again renovated quite recently. According to history, it was built in honor of a holy icon thrown into the sea by the inhabitants of Hozovo, a village in Asia Minor, to save it from the iconoclasts who, opposing their veneration, threatened to destroy all religious images. Against all odds, the icon was carried by the waves to the shores of Amorgos, precisely under the very spot where the monastery was later erected.

If you decide to stay in Chora Amorgou, we can help you book one of the rooms to let, there being no typical hotels here as we know them. It is definitely worth it, because here one can find fantastic tavernas serving very fresh fish, some souvenir shops and some cozy small bars with good music. A number of excursions can be arranged from here, either trekking expeditions (let us, by the way, repeat here that Amorgos is a trekkers paradise) or by an air-conditioned coach making an island tour and passing through, among others, the Hozoviotissa Monastery, the Tower of Arkesine and ancient Minoa.