"Samothraki town or Chora" Samothraki by StefanosS
Samothraki Travel Guide: 19 reviews and 47 photos
If you need info about the island of Samothraki, please start with my Samothraki Island Page.
The first stop in the tour of Samothraki island must definitely be Chora. It is situated inland, 6 km from Kamariotissa at an altitude of 210-250m. Amphitheatrically built, far from the sea, amongst the slopes of mount Saos, which are covered by characteristic Mediterranean pine trees (Pinus bruttia). With two-storey, red-tiled houses tightly packed one beside the other, a few old terraces made of earth and the cobble-stone lanes and alleyways, it looks more like a well-designed theatre than an ordinary island capital. It was built by the inhabitants who abandoned the ancient city of Paleopoli in the 10th century BC so as to avoid the raids of the pirates who pillaged the island.
A walk around the narrow alleys of Chora with the traditional houses is a must. The residences are ordered in a manner, which makes sure that one does not "block" the other’s sunlight. In 1978 the area of Chora was declared a preserved traditional settlement.
Driving from Kamariotissa or from Paleopoli to Chora, you will arrive to the lowest part of the village. You have to leave your car or bike there, as the narrow paved streets can not serve touristic traffic, but only the local needs. Continue on foot upwards and take the left branch, a sneaky alley which will lead you to the castle.
The ruins of the Byzantine castle at the edge of the cliff, a remnant of the rule of the Genoese Gattilusi family (1430 AD), is also a must see. This position was probably already fortified around the end of the 10th century AD when the inhabitants withdrew from Paleopoli to the interior, but for some reason there was the need of a new fort to house the new Greek-Genoese guard.
The old buildings at Chora of Samothraki can be divided into three categories according to their use:
1. Those buildings used purely for habitation, samples of the local, traditional type, where the house is uni-spaced and the building is almost cubical.
2. The Stone-built professional buildings, single or two-storeyed, workshops, groceries, bakeries, coffee shops, which constitute the paved backbone of Chora.
3. The buildings for combined usage are the most recent. The shop is on the ground floor, with the home on the second floor.
All sorts of multi-coloured flowers blossom on the windowsills and small yards and housewives compete with each other at to who will have the most beautiful flowers.
The Folklore Museum of Chora is also worth a visit, being a testament to the cultural heritage of the island. While ascending to the Castle, you will find it on your right, just below the big church of the village.
The church of the Dormition of the Virgin (Kimisis Theotokou) is worth a visit for its valuable icons dating to 1875 and the relics of the "Five Martyrs of Samothraki". Climb to the south side of the church to find out the traditional square of the village with a huge plane tree and a magnificent view. Here is the spot where traditional celebrations and feasts take place.
On your way to the Castle it is mandatory to stop at the bakery that makes traditional "gorgi" rusks as well as leavened bread. The same family has been lovingly kneading dough made from Samothracian wheat for over 100 years. Here they bake the seven - leavened Samothracian rusks and knead the round breads. The flame slowly bakes the well-kneaded bread and causes it to send vapours and aromas to the neighbourhood, a joy to both sight and smell.
It is worth watching sunset and having dinner in one of the local taverns with local delicacies and especially the semi-wild goat stuffed and baked in a traditional oven on wood fire. Also try the local sweets in one of the cafes of Chora which will offer you a mouth-watering experience.
Please check also my TRAVELOGUES below.
Climb to the south side of the church to find out the traditional square of the village with a huge plane tree and a... more travel advice
On your way to the Castle it is mandatory to stop at the bakery that makes traditional "gorgi" rusks as well as leavened... more travel advice
Written May 9, 2016
A visit to the Castle
Written May 9, 2016
The View from the Castle
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