Nissiros or Nisyros, a small island in the middle of the Dodecanese complex, has lots of natural beauties and a rich cultural heritage whose inhabitants maintain alive up to day.
The geomorphologic feature most characteristic of the island is its volcano. It is said that Nisyros was born after a series of successive eruptions of the volcano, which is unique of its kind in Greece. The volcano of Nissiros island is considered to be still active and because of the easy access to its craters, thousands of tourists and scientists from all over the world visit it every year. The volcano and the serenity that one experiences in the picturesque villages of Nissiros island are two of its main attractions that will truly captivate you.
Lastly, the island has a very rich fauna and flora that specialists have pronounced to be unique.
INFORMATION ABOUT NISYROS ISLAND
Nissiros with an area of 41,6 square kms and coastine of 28 kms, is situated at the centre of the Dodecanese island complex. It lies between the islands of Kos and Tilos and the promontory of Knidos of Asia Minor. Nisyros has an almost circular shape and thereofore its coastline is not rich in geophysical formations. It is comprised of mountains which have originated from volcanic activity while the huge volcanic caldera, of length 2400 m and width 950 meters, situated at the centre of the island attests to its volcanic past. The visitor will admire from close the impressive craters the largest of which has a diameter of 260 m and a depth of 30m. Thermal springs are found at many points on Nissiros, themost well known of which are located a short distance from Mandraki. The capital of Nissiros is Mandraki which boasts, whitewashed houses, colourful narrow lanes and the beautiful piazza "Ilikiomeni" (the old woman's piazza) which is shaded by large trees. The town has a small folklore museum with interesting exhibitions. The small mountainous town of Emporios is found 8 kms south east of the capital and just a short distance from it is the monastery of Our Virgin Lady which is built on a hill 500m high and offers a panoramic view. To the south is Nikia in which is found the remarkable monastery of St. John. The beautiful beach side settlement of Pali is situated some 4kms north east of the capital. An important pilgrimage site on the island is Our Lady "Spiliani" (of the Cave). It is perched magnificently of the top of a precepitous rock in which is the cave which legend has it was the keeping place of the miraculous icon of the Virgin. The island's paths are ideal for trekking lovers.
HISTORY OF NISYROS ISLAND
According to ancient mythology, Poseidon helping Zeus in his battle against the Titans, chased the fearful giant Polybotis over land and seas. When Poseidon reached the island of Kos he broke off a piece of the island with his mighty trident and throwing it at Polybotis he buried him under it. This broken off piece of Kos became the island of Nisyros. The volcano was created over the mouth of Polybotis and the constant rumblings are the sighs of the buried titan! The name of the island possibly derives from pre Hellenic aegean place names. Homer refers to the cooperation of the Nysirian islander in the Trojan expedition. The inhabitants of Nissyros worshipped Delfinios Apollo as well as the sea god Poseidon, a temple to whom was once located where Pali are today. The historical fortunes of Nissiros is common with the fortunes of the other islands of the south eastern Aegean. Pirates harboured in the area until the Knights of Rhodes took over the island in 1312. In 1522 the Turks occupied Nissiros and in 1912 the Italians took over and with the end of World War II Nissiros was incorporated to Greece.
Of exceptional interest is the island's volcano which has both scientific importance and a unique natural beauty. Also, do not miss the following :
- Monastery of Our Lady Spiliani
- Historical & Folklore Museum
- Chapels of Announciation, the Holy
- Cross, Virgin Lady and St. John the Theologician
- "Palaiokastro" - the acropolis of the ancient city
- The ancient ruins of Argos
- Ruins of Early Christian basilicas scattered all over the island
- The traditional settlements of Nikia, Pali and Emborios with their traditional houses, colourful balconies and white washed yards.