Patmos. Scala. As seen from Chora. Photo Credit: Sophia Yiannakou.
Patmos is a small Greek island in the Aegean Sea, in the complex known as the Dodecanese, most famous for being the location of both the vision of St. John the Theologian and the writing of the Apocalypse, the Christian Bible's Book of Revelation. The book's introduction states that its author, St. John, was supposedly on Patmos when he was given and thus wrote, a vision from Jesus himself. Early Christian tradition identified this writer as John the Apostle, though some modern scholars are uncertain, and thus call him the less specific "John of Patmos". Because of the Book of Revelation, Patmos has a long history as a destination for Christian pilgrimage. Visitors can see the Cave of the Apocalypse, where John is said to have received his Revelation and several monasteries on the island are dedicated to Saint John. In 1999, the island's historic center Chora, along with the Monastery of Saint John the Theologian and the Cave of the Apocalypse, were declared World Heritage Sites by UNESCO.
Patmos has a population of close to 3,000 people in an area of 34.05 sq km (13.15 sq mi). The highest point is Prophetis Elias, 269 m (883 ft) above sea level. The Municipality of Patmos includes the offshore islands of Arkoi, Marathos, and several uninhabited islets and it is part of the Kalymnos regional unit. Patmos' main communities are Chora, the capital city, and Skala, the only commercial port. Other settlements are Grikos and Kampos. The churches and communities on Patmos are of the Eastern Orthodox tradition.
In 1088, St. Christodoulos the Latrinos, a gifted and educated monk from Bithynia, was granted funds by Imperial Decree by the Byzantine Emperor Alexios I Komnenos, to establish a monastery in honor of St. John the Theologian. Built on top of Chora, the monastery dominates the whole island and reminds of a Byzantine castle. Archaeological findings indicate that it was built on the site of an ancient temple of Goddess Artemis and of an early Christian basilica. It is surrounded by an irregular rectangular defensive enclosure dating from the late 11th century until the 17th. Its Catholic, bank and cells have been preserved since the Byzantine period. Patmos is also home to the Patmian School, a notable Greek-Orthodox seminary.
Patmos is too small of an island to have an airport. The longest distance between sites you wish to visit will never exceed 10 km or 6 miles. So, transportation to and from is available by sea, from Piraeus, taking 8 to 10:30 hours depending on the island stops. To search and book a car rental among the most reputable car rental companies worldwide so that you may visit any of Greece's wonderful destinations visit Auto Europe. To easily book your ferry tickets to Patmos and the islands of the Aegean, go to BookaWay now! There is a heliport for the jet-setters, the Scala marina for secure berthing and marine services, and plenty of bays for mooring.
Other than religious attractions, Patmos offers a cosmopolitan nightlife, high-quality shopping and a multitude of excellent beaches. Our favorites include Lampi, Vagia, Psili Ammos, Meloi and Petra Bay at Groikos, with the barren island of Tragonisi, at a short distance across the sea. Several luxurious mega-yachts, a plethora of sailing boats and motorboats, as well as several cruise lines include Patmos as a must-destination. There is a good number of charter boats of varying length and luxury that will take you from Scala to one or various of the many beaches or even nearby islands close to Patmos. You may ask the representatives that line the port of Scala. Others are available for private charter.
When in Scala, and following your dinner of Mediterranean flavors at Yiamas or sushi at Mostra, you may want to visit Christodoulos Pastry Shop, for a scoop or two on the go of his delicious home-made ice-cream! Sophia really enjoyed Houston, a traditional place for ouzo, meze, coffee or a drink, and music selections with an attitude. Our 19 y.o. son recommends Ta Souvlakia tou Pappou on the North end of the Scala promenade for a decent Greek souvlaki.
Patmos. The Monastery, Chora. Photo Credit: Sophia Yiannakou.
Monastery of Saint John the Theologian The Monastery of Saint John the Theologian, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is a Greek Orthodox monastery, and a place of pilgrimage for Christians of all dogmas, founded in 1088, in Chora.
Cave of the Apocalypse The Cave of the Apocalypse, where St. John is thought to have written the Apocalypse, which now is part of the Bible, is situated about halfway up the road between Skala, the port town and Chora, the capital of the island.