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SAMOTHRAKI

The beautiful island of Samothraki is at the northeast Aegean Sea and is famous as the "Holy Island" since the ancient times as here were performed the Kaveirian Mysteries rival to the Eleusinian ones.

It is also the highest (1650 m) mountainous mass in the Aegean that combines the verdurous nature, the lakes, the water falls and the vernacular waters. Te rich tradition, the great archaeological place, the famous ancient spas, the traditional settlements and the local tastes give a special feeling and a reality that is indelibly traced in the visitor's memory.

Chora is a traditional preservable settlement, amphitheatrically built at 300 m height at the pine-clad slopes of Saos Mountain. Rocky houses with tiled-roofs, beautiful cobbled roads, rock springs, tiled squares and small houses all of them pieces of one of the most primitive residential units in the Mediterranean that impress in memory visions indissolubly joined to the Aegean aura.

Kamariotissa, the biggest port is scenic picturesqueness and owes its name to the icon of Holy Mary in kamares that is kept in the homonymous church. At the cape next to the lagoon, the hydro-biotope of Agios Andreas, imposingly tower some wind generators. Paloiopolis was a mystical center at the ancient times. The unversed and the insiders are imposed by the Sanctum of the Great Gods, the Oracle and the place where the famous stutue of Niki tis Samothrakis was found. The archaeological area, , the Archaeological Museum and the Middle-age Towers of the Genevian Gattelouzoi compose a unique archaeological park.

Therma is the only area in Greece that combines the mountain with the sea and the wild flora with platens, chestnuts, arbutuses, myrtles, plenty running waters and the famous cataracts of Gria Vathra, all of these monuments of natural beauty that surround the settlement under the unique oak forest of Martini and the shadow of Saos mountain. The spas were already known since the ancient times for their big curative value and hide a giant geothermic field and tower at the entrance of the settlement.

Lakkoma is the core of the olive grove area and the fishing refuge of the south part of the island. Three old oil-mills are still saved and represent of impressive pieces of the proto-biomechanical architecture od Samothraki.

The tour in the Ancient City of Paliopoli begins from the small parking area in front of the tabernacle of Agia Paraskevi. The tiled road leads at the Museum and Temple of the Great Gods. Eastern, at the foothills of Ai Giorgis Mountain the ancient city of Samoothraki is built with a part of its surrounding walls can still be seen at the depth of the scene. This medieval fortification is dated since 1431-3 and is a part of a construction and reconstruction plan of the Gatillousi that would ensure the defence of the island against the Turkish and Venetians. This fortification group is represented by a sunk fence, a courtyard and tree towers with the southeast still saved and representing its most impressive part.

The Art has especially prospered in the island of Samothraki since the ancient times. The melan-shaped vessels, the amphoras, the earthen statuettes and the potter manufactures of the Hellenistic period represent of exhibits that proclaim the growth of pottery and while in Ephcharides, the painter is credited the painted vessel (490-500) b.C. that represents of scenes of a wine-press and the assay of wine.

Anaglyphs and sculptures make evident the development of plastic art and statuary in the island such as the famous statue of Kini tis Samothrakis, the hypothesis of previous existence of the big statue of Aphrodite and Pothos that is credited to sculptor Skopas and numerous other sculpture troves and columns at the area of Kaveiroi. Also developed was the minting that gave some excellent pieces and the jewelry.

Somothraki has also many beautiful Aegean beaches. Pachia Ammos is the most beautiful and has big sand at its southern part and Vatos is a scenic sandy beach surrounded by high rocks and caves. Eastern there is the famous cataract Kremastos with its crystal-clear waters falling straightly into the sea creating a fantastic picture. Kipos is another sunlit and rocky beach at the southwest coats of the island, approachable by boat from Therma and Kamariotissa.

Samothraki has also two great museums that the vistor should surely visit. The Archaeological and the Folklore Museums

The Archaeological Museum is at Palaiapolis. It contains troves found on excavations or by the locals and also the collection of Nikolaos Fardis. The area of the museum also contains troves of the excavation to the Temple of the Great Gods and is assembled into for halls.

In the central hall there are the architectonic restorals of the main buildings of the Temple, like the entablature of the Courtyard, the Altar, the Sanctum and the Vault of Arsinohi the 2nd that is decorated with Tauruses and Margaritas as also parts of the upper-structure of the Hall of the Anathematics, a marble epigraph that forbid the entrance for the unversed to the adytum of the Palace.

In the second hall there are parts of the anaglyph marble frieze of Propoulos of Temenos, the bust of Teirasias the clairvoyant and the whole headless shape of Persephone.

In the 3rd hall the visitor can see a stand with marble footholds from the Holy Fireside. At the depth stands the headless statue of Niki tis Samothraki made of marble from Paros and 2,75 m tall.

At the showcases are exhibited metal articles with distinguishing the persian ouch of the lion shape.

Eventually in the 4th hall are exhibited the findings from the Necropolises and a mold of Niki tis Samothrakis that today is exhibited at the Louvre Museum.

In a showcase there are the most of the valuable jewels and silver coins from the excavations at the Necropolises and contains of silver and golden ear-rings, barrettes, rings, a golden necklace, golden garlands and more that are dated since the end of the 56h century b.C. until August's Era.

Some years ago in Chora was found the Folklore Museum by the Municipality and the Cultural Union of Samothraki with many articles that synthesize the cultural legacy of the island. Today the visitor can see "Kechagias" (stockman in the local dialect) gear, agricultural tools, tolls for the processing of crewel and a traditional jacquard.

Ascending at the first floor, the visitor can see the representation of the traditional household of Samothraki where overlooks the wooden wardrobe of the start of the 20th century. The walls are decorated by the "marmachades", the silken and cotton weft-knitted towels and the rich photographic archive. In the Folklore Museum you can also see local clothes such as tsirvoulia, kaltsoun, vraka, znar, pkamsiou, gileki, aba and skoufos. The female cloths are severe and beautiful and among the others you can admire the blue, red or green skirt with the belt with the silver inflatable ouches.

Here you will also find the beautiful chests and decorative plates from the coastline of Mikra Asia and the rich collection of textiles with the woolen rugs, the cotton and the silver-cotton slop whose raw material were always been processed in Samothraki and eventually the woodcut iconostasis of the beginning of the 20th century with the rare icons from the churches of the island.

Map of Samothraki

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