Top Museums to Visit on Patmos

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Patmos is a small Greek island in the Aegean Sea perhaps best known as the location where the disciple John received the visions that resulted in the writing of the Bible’s Book of Revelations. The scenic and beautiful island comprises about 13 square miles and is among the northernmost of the Dodecanese island group.

Greek mythological legend has it that the island of Patmos was created through the divine action of Artemis, the goddess of the hunt. The island’s original name was Letois, after Leto, the mother of Artemis who was the daughter of the Titans, Coeus and Phoebe.

Patmos is a tourist magnet for many reasons. It also sports some of the most fascinating museums on the Greek islands. Two of the best are:

Patmos Ecclesiastical Museum

Located in the Monastery of St. John in the principal city of Patmos, Chora, this facility houses items from the Byzantine and Post-Byzantine Era. It also features priestly vestments, rare manuscripts and historic items that have been used to celebrate mass over the centuries.

A primary attraction of the Patmos Ecclesiastical Museum is the icon of St. Nicholas. This painting dates from the 11th Century and features an image of the saint who is making a blessing sign with his right hand as he holds a book in his left hand.

This museum also holds paper documents of priceless and enormous historic significance. These include a manuscript containing the foundation of the monastery along with the golden bull of emperor Alexios I Komnenos. He was the emperor of Byzantine from 1081 to 1118.

Folklore Museum

This is a small private museum maintained in the mansion of the Simantiri Family in the capital city of Chora. The mansion is of elegant architecture created in 1625 by the Turkish craftsmen of Izmir.

The collection housed here features items from the 14th up to the 19th century. That includes Russian icons, wooden furniture, various paintings, old photographs and authentic family heirlooms originating from Odessa. It’s a small museum but it provides a vivid window into the lifestyles of extremely wealthy people as they lived here two centuries ago.

Nikolaidi Mansion Museum

The small island of Patmos has other museums as well. One that is worth a visit is the Nikolaidi Mansion. This is a two-story building of gothic design originally built in the 17th Century. It was destroyed in a 1956 earthquake but has been exquisitely restored. In this remarkable construction, one can view the “ampataros.” This is a sophisticated storage space and room partition of extraordinary wooden craftsmanship.

Cave of the Apocalypse

Finally, one cannot consider the island of Patmos without acknowledging one of its most famous landmarks – the Cave of the Apocalypse. It is said that the Apostle John wrote the book of Revelations from the New Testament in the Bible in this very cave. The short hike up to the cave is worth the trip in order to see this landmark and there is a small museum at the site.

Located halfway up a mountain, the cave is situated along a road between Chora and Skala. This grotto has been declared World Heritage Site. Visitors can enter the space which contains wooden chairs, tables and various items of iconic significance.

While on the island of Patmos, you won’t want to miss the chance to visit these museums!

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