They are glorious, they are beautiful, they have amazing stories to tell and they are a very good reason to visit these islands. Introducing…
Sitting on a cliff, Panagia Hozoviotissa’s monastery stands tall, at 300 meters above the sea, since 1088. During the iconoclastic years, locals recall when monks tried to protect the image of the Virgin Mary by putting it into a boat, that travelled from “Hoziva” or “Koziva” in the Holy Land, all the way to one of the island’s beaches.
The sight of this all-white church as you go up the large, wide and seemingly endless stairs will definitely give you goosebumps. Once you reach the top, you will find a yard with enough space and shade to rest, until you are ready to go inside. After facing a few more stairs, you will find yourself in a small room with a breathtaking view, where a glass of cool water, a shot of liqueur or coffee and a traditional treat await.
Hidden in the southeast part of Tzia, you will find the church and community of Agios Symeon. This is not just a church. It is a place where you can get a taste of the traditional Greek island hospitality. Awe, beauty and authenticity.
Built right where Aphrodite’s temple used to be, this church reflects the goddess’ beauty, with marbles from her temple and a memorable view. Standing on its yard, you can take a sneak peek of the islands of Kythnos and Serifos, while on September 1st of every year, you can live like a local, in the “Ai Symiou” fair, the biggest event of the island. Before you go, don’t forget to try the local green pies, the cheese, the red wine, the handmade bread and the streaming, fresh local dessert “galaktoboureko”.
Virgin Mary of Dormition
It was the 1st of May 1790 when 18 ships carrying Algerian pirates, the toughest kind, were seen approaching the island. Locals ran terrified towards the church to protect themselves and prayed for their lives, holding the Virgin Mary’s image high above the ground.
Suddenly, a strong wind blew from the north, unsettling the sea and making all pirates disappear, except for a Christian one. The pirate managed to make it to the mainland, only to reveal to the locals in a distressed, weak voice that a lighting came straight from the church’s hill and hit all the ships. When you combine the magic of this story with the view, the all-white color and the glory you may find yourself with more than enough reasons to pay the church a visit. Just make sure you carry a bottle of water and wear your comfortable sneakers.
Mamma mia! It’s about time you learned more about this little church that hosted one of the most famous movie weddings of 2008. Once you arrive at the area of Kastri, just about 30 kilometers from the island’s center, you will see a large rock that stands tall in the Aegean Sea. Once you climb its 100 and something stairs and reach the top, you will discover the church of Agios Ioannis.
The story behind the church matches perfectly with its magic scenery: Late one night, a fisherman was on his way home from the Glossa area, when he noticed a light coming from the top of the rock. He saw the light every night, until a woman visited him during a dream and revealed that the light was, in fact, an image. The next day, the fisherman climbed at the top of the rock and found an image of St. John the Baptist. He took the image home with him, but every night, the image somehow returned to the top of the rock. Thus, the church of Agios Ioannis was built to protect the image.
We strongly recommend that you visit these unique churches, especially since you can mix them up with spending time in some of the most wonderful islands of Greece. Grab your notebook and mark the dates. To book your tickets, all you need is to enter Ferryscanner and pick the itinerary that best fits your needs.