A few years ago Karin and I took a three day trip to Amorgos with a ferry stop at Donousa. We had a delightful time exploring this dramatic island. It was quite a contrast to our home on Paros. We could see the telltale signs of summer tourism and related activity such as tour buses and active hotels and restaurants but this month it was calm, relaxing, mostly shuttered and small. Our village of Aliki was comparable to their main port of Katapola; their capital of Chora was equivalent to our isolated mountain town of Lefkes. We also found the local people were consistently warm and friendly--everything had an old fashioned appeal.
This is a typical view.
Please click on thumbnail photos to enlarge.
Aigiali (North port) Traditional shipping agent Clouds flowing down Katapola (South port)
Amorgos is said to be the easternmost island of the Cyclades, the southernmost of the Sporades and westernmost of the Dodecanese.
Monastery of the Panayia Khozoviotissa (Chosoviotissa):
The following description from the official monastery guide book nails the feeling of awe you get from visiting this simple yet majestic location.
“In consequence, the Holy Monastery will become known to a wider public and more people will be able to experience the wonder and enchantment and the spiritual tranquillity which all affirm who have visited it. They too will become acquainted with the place of recollection and prayer, the blessed place where mortals are made more intensely aware of God’s presence on earth and where they sense that here heaven approaches nearer to earth and to man and the soul is uplifted.”
Quoted from Archimandrite Epiphanios Artemis, Abbot, 2002.
Walking, hiking or trekking on Amorgos: Well into the late 1980’s the main connections among island communities were footpaths. Now they are still maintained and sign-posted, making some of the best walking we have seen anywhere in Greece.
The lady in the photo lives in a mountain village without mechanical transportation. She usually walks many kilometres per day--up and down.
Amorgos is noted for its food. We had beautiful meals there but did not take any pictures of them. We did bring back two bottles of their local drink, a distillation of grapes with honey and herbs. This recipe is mass-produced in Athens under the brand name Amorgion. We bought the one made on Amorgos. By the way, those who succeed in climbing up to the monastery are rewarded with a small nip.
The traditional island specialities are: patatato (lamb with potatoes)
fava (large tan broad bean) prepared many ways
--As an aside, Fava beans are the main commercial source of the drug L-DOPA. Some consider it a natural alternative to Viagra; maybe that is why Amorgos is such a friendly island.
pasteli (sesame seeds and honey)
Amorgos has a Pasteli festival in August.
The ancient history of Amorgos is fascinating. Even before the golden age of Greece there were three city-states on this small island, each with its own coin. There are a few remaining huge stones which fit precisely together; much better done than more modern stone work.
You can visit the ruins of all three. The most well preserved is Minoa above Katapola (which means lower city). Below are photos of the old city entrance now and an architect's sketch. Click to enlarge.
A popular garment in ancient Greece was the Amorgian chiton. These were made from a flax-like plant on Amorgos; they were shear and sexy according to literature such as Aristophanes' Lysistrata. They were also used as the conventional adornment carved into marble statues.
This is my favourite photo from Amorgos; it is a side street in Xylokeratidi.
P.S. The better photos on this page were taken by Karin, not me.
This photo shows about 90% of Donousa, an island for those who don't require other people to have fun. I know a couple who spent two days and one night there. They reported very pleasant Greek hosts and wonderful traditional meals.