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Samos, Greece Samos gallery 7 of 55

Panoramic view of Pythagorio harbour, Samos island, Greece at My Favourite Planet

Pythagorio (Πυθαγόρειο), Samos. Panoramic view south-westwards across the harbour.
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Pythagorio (Πυθαγόρειο) is on the south coast of eastern Samos, in Pythagorio Bay, which is part of the much broader Tigani Bay (see photo below). It is connected to the island's capital Vathy, around 11.5 km to the northeast, by two well-paved roads, and is only 3 km east of Samos Airport.

A relaxed and friendly place, Pythagorio has a good choice of restaurants and bars, an adequate number of shops and a number of interesting sights in and around the village (see travel guide page 4: Sightseeing). There are also several pensions and small and medium-size hotels. The few larger hotels are further away from the village. Some hotels offer a free shuttle bus service to and from Pythagorio and the airport (check for this service when booking your hotel).

It is difficult to believe that this small seaside village was once the ancient capital of a powerful island state. It reached its height of prosperity and fame in the 6th century BC during the rule of the tyrant Polykrates (Πολυκράτης, ruled circa 538-522 BC) who built the original harbour here as a base for his large navy.

The port later became known as Tigani (Τηγάνι, frying pan) until 1955, when it was renamed in honour of Pythagoras, the mathematician and philosopher who was born on Samos (see gallery page 11).

The harbour was rebuilt over the ruins of the ancient port in the mid 19th century. The German engineer Carl Humann (1839-1896) worked on the project, and was also involved in the archaeological excavations at the Sanctuary of Hera (the Heraion), before going on to discover the Great Altar of Zeus in Pergamon. [1]

Today Pythagorio harbour is used by local fishing boats, private sailing and pleasure craft, excursion boats and a ferry which does a day trip to the nearby island of Patmos five times a week. The quay for larger vessels and ferries is on the west end of the harbour (left).

The harbour is too small for the enormous cruise ships which visit the island, and they usually anchor offshore in the deeper water of Pythagorio Bay.

In the centre of the photo, on the headland which forms the western end of the harbour, can be seen the Tower of Logethetis. Beyond the headland stretches a wide coastal plain, along which there is a Roman baths and gymnasium, the Sanctuary of Hera (the Heraion) and Samos Airport (see How to get to Samos).

The goddess Hera on a coin from Samos at My Favourite Planet

Coin of Samos showing the cult
statue of the island's patron
goddess Hera. 254-268 AD.

Boats and restaurants in Pythagorio harbour, Samos island, Greece at My Favourite Planet

Close-up of the above scene, showing (among other things) the boats moored
in Pythagorio harbour and the row of restaurants along the promenade.

The Tower of Logothetis in Pythagorio harbour, Samos island, Greece at My Favourite Planet

On top of the hill which forms the headland at the western end of Pythagorio harbour
is the Castle of Logothetis (or Tower of Logothetis), in which is the 19th century
Church of the Transfiguration (see gallery pages 12-14).
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+30 22460 49 109


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+30 22460 49 286


Panoramic view of Tigani Bay, Pythagorio, Samos island, Greece at My Favourite Planet

The view westwards across Tigani Bay (Ὁρμος Τηγάνι) from the hills to the east of Pythagorio.

An airliner takes off from Samos Airport, 3 km west of the village (see travel guide page 3: How to get to Samos). Fortunately, it is not as noisy here as one might imagine, except at Potokaki, 2.5 km west of Pythagorio and right next to the airport.

The coastline of the broad bay is fairly straight, stretching southwestwards to a broad headland formed by the southern end of Mount Bournias (Μπουρνιάς) (see gallery page 31).

The airport is on a large coastal plain known as Kambos Horas (Καμπος Χώρας, Village Plain), at the western end of which is the Heraion Archaeological Site near the modern seaside village of Ireo (Ηραίο), which is visible in the background, in the centre of the photo.

Most of the buildings visible in the foreground are hotels, typical of the medium-size 2-3 star accommodation around Pythagorio. Many of the outlying hotels are built in their own grounds, usually with a garden, terrace, a small swimming pool and rooms with good views.
Notes, references and links

1. Carl Humann and the rebuilding of Pythagorio harbour

The few historical sources we have found so far concerning Carl Humann's involvement in the rebuilding of Tigani harbour are quite vague, ambiguous or contradictory. The project appears to have taken from 1842 to 1862, however Humann first arrived on Samos in 1861 and stayed no longer than a year, during which time he was also involved in the archaeological excavations at the Heraion.

He had moved to the warmer climate of the Aegean because he was suffering from tuberculosis. His elder brother Franz Humann (1832-1893) was working here as an engineer for the Ottoman Empire, and helped him find work. Other sources name the brother Wilhelm (Franz Wilhelm, perhaps?) and state that he was a "building entrepreneur" or even a "Roman Catholic minister". It is unlikely that he was a priest, but rather that, as the engineer in charge of planning and construction of various works on the island, he may have had a particular title (something like Minister of Public Works?) in the nominally autononomous Principality of Samos of 1834–1912 (Turkish, Sisam Beyliği; Greek, Ηγεμονία της Σάμου).

Tigani-born Miltiadis Aristarchis (Μιλτιάδης Αριστάρχης 1809-1893) was the Ottoman-appointed Prince of Samos from 1859 to 1866. As part of his attempt to make his hometown the capital of Samos he ordered the rebuilding of the port and redesign of the street layout. However, his strict policies and tax system made him very unpopular with the islanders. Following his use of the Ottoman army to suppress a rebellion in Mytilini (north of Pythagorio), he was overthrown by a popular uprising in 1866.

Carl Humann has also been credited by some sources with discovering the ancient harbour of Polykrates.

His experience in Samos appears to have awakened his interest in classical archaeology, and he travelled to many ancient sites in Turkey. Famously, his fascination for Pergamon began while he was working as the supervising engineer on road construction, and stayed in Bergama during the winter of 1864-65. He was eventually able to gather the necessary support and funds, expert help and official Ottoman government permits to carry out successful excavations at Pergamon from 1878 to 1886.

* The bust of Carl Humann was unveiled on 18 December 1901, when Kaiser Wilhelm II opened the first Pergamon Museum (demolished in 1908). In the present Pergamon Museum (opened 1930) it has been relegated to a back-lot, and has stood for years out of sight and inaccessible to the public, in a corridor leading to a lecture room behind the Pergamon Altar, opposite the bust of another German archaeologist, Theodor Wiegand (1864-1936, see photo below right). Wiegand also excavated at the Heraion on Samos (1910-1911) and at Pergamon (1927), and in 1898 rediscovered the site of the ancient Panionion, near the Turkish village of Güzelçamlı, on the coast opposite Samos (see gallery page 29).

Currently the hall of the Pergamon Altar and the entire left wing of the Pergamon Museum are closed for renovation work until at least 2020.

Carl Humann, German engineer and architect at My Favourite Planet

A bust of Carl Humann
by Adolf Brütt (1855-1939) * ,
Pergamon Museum, Berlin.

Prince Miltiadis Aristarchis of Samos at My Favourite Planet

Miltiadis Aristarchis,
Prince of Samos.

Theodor Wiegand, German archaeologist at My Favourite Planet

A bust of Theodor Wiegand
by Carl Blümel,
Pergamon Museum, Berlin.
Photos, maps and articles: © David John 2003-2019,
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Some of the information and photos in this guide to Samos
originally appeared in 2003-2004 on

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