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Symi town, Yialos and Chorio and the monastery of Panormitis

The capital in the north of the island, called Symi, is divided in upper and lower town. Yialos, the lower town surrounds the harbour with a wide waterfront. - The square at the end of the harbour has recently been filled in and was once a boatyard. It has a nautical museum, which shows how the island has always depended on the sea for its livelihood. Around the harbour are shops and excellent restaurants to eat and drink, as well as providing space for mending fishing nets, an important occupation in a fishing community such as Symi. Local sponges, herbs from the surrounding hills and spices are all for sale.

Symi Symi

Chorio, the upper town, is at top of the hill and can be reached by climbing the grand staircase of some 400 steps - there is a bus and four taxis if you prefer. The bus stop is next to the taxi rank and a bright green mini van leaves every hour on the hour. Up in the village is a folklore museum, which reflects the life of the island. It contains many fascinating arte facts and photographs. The acropolis - which it is claimed, has foundations some 2500 years old, dedicated to Athena, was reconstructed by the Knights of St. John in the early 15th century. Above the main gate are the arms of the Grand Master, Filibert de Niallac. Much of what remained of the castle, along with the church dedicated to the Virgin Mary, at the top of the crest, was destroyed in WW2. Symi was badly bombed and the castle was unfortunately damaged. There is also a beautiful old pharmacy in the main street, still used as a doctor's surgery, continuous used for more than a century. You will have a view over the most amazing collection of French imported jars in which drugs and pharmaceuticals were stored.

Most day trips to Symi include a stop at Panormitis , a lush green valley with a large monastery dedicated to the Archangel Michael. It is the island's most famous monastery. The original church was built around 450 AD on the site of an ancient temple to Apollo. You cannot go into the church wearing shorts but do not be worry, skirts are available at the entrance. Inside is a fabulous silver icon of the Archangel. You will also find Byzantine wall frescos, an important library and a museum on its premises. 

Panormitis Symi Panormitis

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