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Samos, Greece Samos gallery 22 of 55

Panagia Spiliani Monastery, Pythagorio, Samos, Greece at My Favourite Planet

The bell tower of Panagia Spiliani Monastery, Pythagorio.

Panagia Spiliani Monastery

(Μονή Παναγίας Σπηλιανής, Monastery of the Virgin of the Cave)

The monastery is on a hill 125 metres above sea level, 1.5 km northwest of Pythagorio.

Tel: +30 22730-61361

Opening times

All year, daily 9am - 2.30 pm, 5 pm - 8 pm.

Admission free

Once you have climbed the hill to the monastery, you then descend 95 steps to the cave dedicated to the Virgin Mary (Παναγία, Panagia, All holy). We are informed that the cave is man made, excavated in ancient times as a quarry for the stone used as building material for the city and its walls.

Despite being an artificial grotto, a spring and the remains of an ancient temple discovered here indicate that this was a sacred place in antiquity. It has been suggested that it may have been inhabited by the Samian Sibyl (σίβυλλα, prophetess) Phyto (also referred to as Phemonoe or Foito), and that it was the Cave of Pythagoras (although another cave on Samos also claims this). The water of a pool in the cave, known as the Agiasma (Αγίασμα, Holy Water), is considered to be holy by Christians.

A church was built here in Byzantine times, and later a monastery. The cave contains a famous icon of the Virgin believed to have miraculous properties (see next page).

The cave was used by local people as a place of refuge during times of danger, of which Samos has seen many.

Monks no longer live here, and it has become increasingly touristy. Drinks and souvenirs are now on sale! It is often crowded in summer, probably because it is so close to Pythagorio and other tourist resorts.

However, the monastery remains an interesting place to visit, and the cave is quite eerily fascinating. The view over the plain and coast around Pythagorio also makes the uphill walk worthwhile.

Nearby are the remains of the ancient theatre and city walls, the entrance to the Tunnel of Eupalinos (see page 4 of the travel guide: Museums, sites and sights on Samos).

The gateway on the right of the photo is the entrance to the monastery, leading onto a forecourt in which the bell tower stands. In typical Samos style, the two-storey white tower is topped by a small dome painted with blue and white vertical stripes.

The bell tower of Panagia Spiliani Monastery, Pythagorio, Samos, Greece at My Favourite Planet

Summoned by bells

An inscription on a marble
plaque above the arch of
the bell tower's lower
storey is dated 1995.

An amphora in the garden of Panagia Spiliani Monastery, Pythagorio, Samos, Greece at My Favourite Planet

Amphora in the garden of Panagia Spiliani Monastery, Pythagorio.
Photos, maps and articles: © David John 2003-2019,
except where otherwise specified.

All photos and articles are copyright protected.

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have been attributed where applicable.

Please do not use these photos or articles without permission.

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Higher resolution versions are available on request.

Some of the information and photos in this guide to Samos
originally appeared in 2003-2004 on

My Favourite Planet makes great efforts to provide
comprehensive and accurate information across this website.
However, we can take no responsibility for inaccuracies or changes
made by providers of services mentioned on these pages.
See also
The Cheshire Cat Blog
photo essays and articles
about Greece:

Athens 1

Athens 2






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