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My Favourite Planet > English > Europe > Greece > Northern Aegean > Samothraki
Samothraki, Greece Introduction to Samothraki
page 1
Mount Fengari which dominates Samothraki island, Greece at My Favourite Planet

Samothraki's north coast from the sea near Kamariotissa. The 1611 metre high Mount Fengari dominates.
introduction facts and figures area map
Samothraki – island of the Great Gods
 
The 1611 metre high Mount Fengari (Φεγγάρι, Moon Mountain) dominates the island of Samothraki and spreads itself wide to occupy most of its area. According to Homer, the sea god Poseidon sat on top of this mountain in order to get a good view of the Trojan War.

The main port of Kamariotissa (Καμαριώτισσα) lies low on the northwestern tip of a wide plain on the west of the island, and thinner coastal strips along the north and east allow roads to connect it with the other small villages. On the south side the mountain plummets into the sea, leaving a little room at its foot for a few isolated homes.

Chora (Χώρα, literally "village"), the capital, perches high on a steep hill around 8 km inland, east of the port, beneath the steep sides of one of the mountain's lower flanks.

The island sits near the western end of the Dardanelles, the sea channel which leads from the Thracian Sea in the North Aegean, through to the Sea of Marmara and on to the Bosphorus Strait at Istanbul and the Black Sea. This has been an important route for traders, colonizers, armies and pirates since prehistory. However, because of the island's terrain and the fact that it has no natural harbour against the often rough winds on the Thracian Main, it never became a large strategic military base like many of its neighbours.

Its isolation in modern times has meant that it has remained relatively unspoiled by "progress", and it has much to offer nature lovers and hikers in the way of beautiful wooded paths, small rivers, waterfalls, uncrowded beaches and marvellous views over the Aegean.

To people in ancient times, this remoteness and the huge brooding mountain rising dramatically from the sea made it seem mysterious, perhaps even forbidding, and the perfect place for the home of the enigmatic Cabeiri (Κάβειροι, Kabeiroi), otherwise known as "the Great Gods".

The worship of these archaic deities at the Pan-Hellenic Sanctuary of the Great Gods survived the predominance of the Olympian gods into Classical, Hellenistic and Roman times. Their secretive cult even grew in poularity, partly due to its democratic character - it permitted initiates from all classes, including slaves - but also drew the wealthy and rulers, including King Philip of Macedon and his wife Olympia (the parents of Alexander the Great who first met here) and Roman emperors.

The fascinating archaeological site of the Sanctuary of the Great Gods and the adjoining small museum, at Paleopolis on the north coast 6 km east of Kamariotissa, are the island's most popular attractions for tourists, the majority of whom are Greek.

The small island has a very limited choice of accommodation and restaurants, and in summer they tend to get booked out very quickly.

Samothraki Facts and figures
name: Samothraki (Greek, Σαμοθράκη),
also known as Samothrace
country: Greece
location: Geographically, Samothraki is one of the northernmost islands of the Northern Aegean islands, in the Thracian Sea, which is part of the northeastern Aegean Sea.

It is around 43 km southwest of Alexandroupoli, on the Thracian coast in northeastern Greece.
periphery: (administrative region) East Macedonia and Thrace, which is part of the larger semi-autonomous Macedonia Region.

Capital: Thessaloniki

For further information about Greece's administrative regions, see our introduction to Greece, Greece page 4: Facts and figures.
regional unit: Evros (Έβρος), capital Alexandroupoli
municipality: Samothraki
capital: Chora (Χώρα, literally means "village"), also known simply as Samothraki. The hilltop village, around 8 km of Kamariotissa port, is the island's second largest settlement (population 653).
communities: The largest settlement and main port Kamariotissa (Καμαριώτισσα, population 1,069) is at the northwest tip of the island.

The other villages are:
Alonia (291), Ano Karyotes (22), Ano Meria (57), Dafnes (16), Kato Karyotes (41), Katsampas (15), Lakkoma (317), Makrylies (12), Palaiopoli (36), Potamia (6), Profitis Ilias (189), Therma (106), Xiropotamos (29)
area: 178 square kilometres

Samothraki is 22 km long, from west to east,
and 12 km north to south.

Coastline 59 km
highest point: Saos Mountain (Σάος), more usually known as Mount Fengari (Φεγγάρι, Moon Mountain),
1611 metres above sea level. The mountain takes up most of the area of the island.

The height of the mountain's peaks:
Marmara (Μαρµαρά) 1611 metres;
Louloudi (Λουλούδι) 1475 metres;
Agios Georgios (Άγιος Γεώργιος) 1455 metres;
Ai-Lias (Αϊ-Λιας) 1403 metres.
population: 2,859 (2011 census)
local time: Eastern European Time (EET)
Daylight Saving Schedule:
Summer (from last Sunday in March)
GMT/UTC +3 hours
Winter (from last Sunday in October)
GMT/UTC +2 hours
currency: Euro (€)
climate: Mediterranean (temperate, with wet winters and hot, dry summers)
language: Greek
post code: 680 02
telephone code: +30 25510
website: Samothraki Municipality
samothraki.gr (Greek only)

Much more interesting (and useful) is Ralf Scheel's website dedicated to the island www.samothraki.com (in Greek, German, English, Bulgarian and Romanian).
Further information for Greece can be found
in our introduction to Greece pages.

The national Greek flag at My Favourite Planet
The symbol of East Macedonia and Thrace, Greece at My Favourite Planet

The symbol of East Macedonia and Thrace
Samothraki

photo gallery

Photos of the coast of Samothraki island, Greece at My Favourite Planet

the coast
Photos of Mount Fengari, Samothraki, Greece at My Favourite Planet

Mount Fengari
Photos of Paleopolis Archaeological Museum, Samothraki, Greece at My Favourite Planet

Paleopolis
Archaeological
Museum
Photos of the Sanctuary of the Great Gods, Samothraki, Greece at My Favourite Planet

Sanctuary
of the Great Gods
Photos of Chora village, Samothraki, Greece at My Favourite Planet

Chora
Photos of Kamariotissa harbour, Samothraki, Greece at My Favourite Planet

Kamariotissa
harbour
 
photos of Samothraki island, Greece at My Favourite Planet

photos of Samothraki island, Greece at My Favourite Planet

photos of Samothraki island, Greece at My Favourite Planet

photos of Samothraki island, Greece at My Favourite Planet

photos of Samothraki island, Greece at My Favourite Planet

photos of Samothraki island, Greece at My Favourite Planet

photos of Samothraki island, Greece at My Favourite Planet

photos of Samothraki island, Greece at My Favourite Planet

photos of Samothraki island, Greece at My Favourite Planet
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A circle dance in Kamariotissa, Samothraki, Greece at My Favourite Planet

A circle dance at Kamariotissa harbour before a fireman's wedding.

Musicians leading a wedding procession in Kamariotissa, Samothraki, Greece at My Favourite Planet

Musicians lead the wedding procession from Kamariotissa harbour along the narrow street to the church.

The fire brigade and selfie brigade in Kamariotissa, Samothraki, Greece at My Favourite Planet

The local fire engine and selfie brigade bring up the rear of the wedding procession.
Samothraki Area Map
Interactive map of the Northern Aegean islands at My Favourite Planet

Interactive map of the North Aegean islands

Colour key for Greek island groups (west-east)

    Argo-Saronic       Sporades       Cyclades       Northern Aegean       Dodecanese

See also our interactive map of Greece.
Maps, photos and articles: © David John 2004 - 2015.

All photos and articles are copyright protected.

Images and materials by other authors have been attributed where applicable.

Please do not use these photos or articles without permission.

If you are interested in using any of the photos for your website,
blog or publication, please get in contact.

Higher resolution versions are available on request.

Some of the information and photos in this guide to Samothraki
originally appeared in 2004 on davidjohnberlin.de.

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

Dion

Kastellorizo

Meteora

Pella

Polygyros

Thessaloniki

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