Samos is a large island that has something for everyone: from large beach resorts to rustic villages, forests and interesting sightseeing. As Samos is an island with a long history, there are many sights that date from ancient times, such as the Sanctuary of Heraion and the Tunnel of Eupalinus. A very interesting sight to visit in Samos is also the Monastery of Panagia Spiliani, located above Pythagorion. Apart from swimming in fantastic beaches and strolling around villages, Samos is a great place for hiking. Many hiking paths cross the green forests in the center of the island, leading to waterfalls and secluded coves.
Northwest of Pythagorion in Samos, at an altitude of 125 meters above the sea level lies the Monastery of Panagia Spiliani, or the Virgin of the Cave.
This small church is dedicated to the Presentation of the Virgin Mary and it is built inside a large cave. The church hosts a marble icon of the Virgin Mary that is considered miraculous.
According to a legend, the icon was stolen by some strangers and while they were unloading from the boat, the icon fell into the sea and broke into pieces. Over a long period of time, the pieces carried by sea traveled back to the island of Samos. At that time the locals collected the pieces and the icon was put back to its original position. Behind the church is a spring with holy water.
Archaeologists believe that even in the ancient times this cave was a place of worship, part of an ancient temple that was found inside the cave. In fact, it is said that this cave might be the hiding and teaching place of Pythagoras, the famous mathematician from Samos. Moreover, in the Byzantine times, this cave was a Christian church. The Monastery of Panagia Spiliani is located on a hill and gives a remarkable view to Pythagorion. A number of 95 steps lead down into the big cave.
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