Samothrace

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WorldMediterraneanAegean SeaGreeceNE AegeanSamothrace
Samothrace
40°27.62′N, 25°35.3′E Chart icon.png
lat=40_27.62_N | lon=25_35.3_E | zoom=11 | y
Greece SamothrakeS.jpg
Magnify-clip.png
Satellite view of Samothrace
The Victory of Samothrace

Samothrace (Σαμοθράκη) or Samothraki is small island of 180 km2 and about 2900 inhabitants is located in the NE corner of Greece. It is a remote and rugged, wind-swept, island with it highest peak, Mt. Fengari at 1676 m (5500 ft) which is covered with snow for about 9 months of the year. Here sat the God of the sea Poseidon to watch the Trojan War.

Samothraki is best known today for the famous statue of Victory, alas not here but at the Louvre Museum. In the antiquity, however, Samothraki was one of the best known and most visited islands, because of it was the center of the cult of the Great Gods of the Underworld, people flocked here to be initiated to the cult's mysteries.

Charts

BA
1068 Srimonikos kólpos to Edremit körfezi
Imray-Tetra
G2 Aegean Sea (North)
NIMA
54360 Thessaloniki to Canakkale Bogazi Dardanelles
54363 Akra Akrathos to Dardanelles
Greek
32 Thrakiko Sea
321 Thassos, Alexandroupolis

Weather

See Aegean Sea.

Passages

Islands

None.

Communication

  • Coast Guard - VHF channel 12, Tel. +30 5510 41 305
  • Olympia Radio - VHF channel 82

Also see World Cruiser's Nets

Navigation

Warning: When approaching Samothrace from the W the appearance of distances near Cape Akrotiri can be deceiving. Approaching the island from the W expect very strong katabatic winds from Mt. Fengari.

Berthing

Ports

Samothrace does not have any natural harbors or anchorages. There are only two artificial harbors: Kamariotissa and Loutra.

Chart of Kamariotissa

Kamariotissa

Kamariotissa/wiki/Samothrace#Kamariotissa
Harbour icon Kamariotissa [[Samothrace#Kamariotissa|Kamariotissa]] 40°28.4′N, 25°28.1′E

Kamariotissa (Καμαριώτισσα) is the main harbor for the island. It provides good all around shelter but a strong SW wind brings in an uncomfortable swell.

It is best to go side-to the mole and drop an anchor to keep the boat some distance from the concrete. The ferry boats and large trawlers can make some uncomfortable wakes.
The Harbor of Kamariotissa
Satellite view of Loutra

Loutra

Loutra/wiki/Samothrace#Loutra
Harbour icon Loutra [[Samothrace#Loutra|Loutra]] 40°30.2′N, 25°36.1′E
Loutra (Λουτρά) or Thérma (Θέρμα) is a new second artificial harbor that opened in 2002. It is reported to have depths better than 3 m and it looks as if it provides good or better protection from the meltemi than Kamariotissa. It certainly is a quiet place. The small village of Thérma is about 1 km inland and has several shops and restaurants which operate only in the summer. You can come side-to.
The Harbor of Loutra

Marinas & Yacht Clubs

None.

Anchorages

None.

Amenities

Facilities
Water N/A (Not Available)
Electricity N/A
Toilets N/A
Showers N/A
Laundry ?
Garbage There are bins around the harbors
Supplies
Fuel There is a fuel station on the road to Chora, about 2 km from Kamariotisa
Bottled gas ?
Chandlers None
Services
Repairs N/A
Internet In Internet cafés.
Mobile connectivity ?
Vehicle rentals These can be rented in Kamariotisa

Provisioning

There some modest stores in Kamariotisa.

Eating out

  • There are several restaurants along the beach to the W of the harbor in Kamariotisa
  • The local specialty is roasted kid (katsikaki) it is best served in Sotiras just NE of Chora (open only during the summer) in a lovely setting and in Paradisos (year round) in Profitis Elias, 16 km from Kamariotisa

Transportation

There are daily ferries to Kavala in the mainland.

Tourism

History

Owing to its strategic position, at the entrance of the Dardanelles, the island was heavily populated since Neolithic times. Indeed, the name of straits was from the native of Samothraki, Dardanos, the legendary founder of Troy. The early inhabitants of the island were from Thrace, most likely Pelasgians. Samothraki was colonized on the 8th century BC by Aeolians from Lesvos who mingled with the early natives. They were worshiping Athena and the Great Gods. The early Thracian language survived, in the religious rituals to the 1st century BC. By the 5th century BC, Samothraki had reached the height of its importance and had joined the Delian League. The sanctuary had become the religious center of the North Aegean, attracting pilgrims for all the Greek world. Important visitors from the mythical Argonauts, to Herodotus, Philip II the Macedon (Alexander's father), and the Ptolemies; all came here to be initiated to the cult.

Hellenistic and Roman rulers, also used Samothraki as a naval base but by the Roman times the island started a decline caused by pirate attacks and earthquakes. St. Paul visited the island but failed to convert its inhabitants to Christianity. They held on to their belief in the Great Gods and kept their sanctuary running until the 4th century AD when the Byzantines outlawed paganism and destroyed many statues. Most of the island was depopulated. The few remaining inhabitants retreated up the mountain to Chora to avoid the frequent raids of the pirates. The Byzantines were succeeded by the Genoese, Gatttilusis who built the castle of Chora. They in turn, were followed by the Ottomans who forced the island inhabitants to re-settle in Istanbul. From that point on the island went into obscurity until 1821 when its few inhabitants joined the Greek War of Independence, but the island continued under Ottoman domination. Samothraki joined Greece in 1912.

Places to Visit

Samothraki4.jpg
The Altar of the Great Gods
Samothraki Paleo1.jpg
The Temple of the Great Gods
Samothraki3.jpg
The Ancient Theater
Samothake1.jpg
The Falls
Samothrake2.jpg
Swimming under the Falls
Paleopolis

The excavation site of the Sanctuary of the Great Gods of the Underworld at Paleopolis (Παλαιόπολις) [about 6 km from the harbor] and the near by Archaeological Museum are the island's "must see" places. Both site and museum are open every day except Mondays from 8:30-15:00.

According to Plutarch, the mysteries of the Great Gods were held every year at the end of July and beginning of August. Not much is know about the mysteries, there is some supposition that they were not too different from the Eleusinian Mysteries. There were two levels of initiation and they were open to both male and female, freemen or slaves. Not very much more is known. The Great Gods have been associated with Demeter, Hecate, the Kaviroi sons of Hephaestos (they also have a temple in Limnos) and with the Dioscuri.

The site has been excavated since 1856. First by the French who discovered the in 1863 the famous statue of the Victory which they immediately sent to France and is now at the Louvre Museum (the local museum has a replica). One can see the base of the statue overlooking the Aegean and can only fill the void of the missing statue. Excavations continued from 1938 by the School of Classical Studies who also built the present museum.

The Falls of Fonias

These are located about 1 hr walk inland from Cape Fonias. The walk is shaded by large plane trees. The water is crystal clear and it very refreshing to swim in the pool right at the falls. The only similar scenery that I know of in an Aegean island is [[Samos#Potami|Potami] near Karlovasi in Samos.

Chora

The village of Chora is the capital of the island. It is laid amphitheatrically at some elevation and under the old castle. The houses are of traditional Thracian architecture. All together it is an attractive village.

Friends

Contact details of "Cruiser's Friends" that can be contacted for local information or assistance.

Forums

List links to discussion threads on partnering forums. (see link for requirements)

Links

References & Publications

See Greece.

Comments

We welcome users' contributions to the Wiki. Please click on Comments to view other users' comments, add your own personal experiences or recommend any changes to this page following your visit.

An old House
The village
For Sale
A Street

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Date of member's last visit to Samothrace and this page's details validated:


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Names: Lighthouse, Istioploos, Atheneoflymington


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