This monastery is located on the south end of Symi, taking pride of place on the sea front of the tiny village of Panormitis. It is in a closed in cove with a small sandy beach, protected by a narrow inlet that opens out into a wide harbour. The monastery is a large 18th-century Venetian style building with the highest baroque bell tower in the world. The facade of the main structure is white and it stretches along the coast on either side of the main gateway.
Once inside the monastery main gate, visitors are welcomed by an inner courtyard, decorated with exotic trees and plants, and paved with a patterned pebble finish. The church dedicated to the Panormitis is on the left. The exact date of construction of this church remains unknown but some suggest that it was built around 450 AD over the site of an ancient temple dedicated to the pagan god Apollo. It is known for certainty that the existing church underwent a major renovation in the 18th century. The monastery has two museums. One houses ecclesiastical art, and one exhibiting folk art. There is also a library with Byzantine manuscripts and editions of ecclesiastical, historical and philological content, as well as a gallery with paintings of the landscape of the monastery and its two chapels.
There is also memorial to a former abbot, two monks and two teachers, who in 1944, were executed for running a spy radio for the British commandos. The monastery receives multitudes of day-trippers from Rhodes. The monastery's dormitory can host up to 500 people. The only way to get to the monastery is via a ferry or excursion boat. If you are already on the island, there is a road that exists between the monastery and the town of Symi. This can take over six hours to walk or an hour using a local bus service or rented scooter.
In the church is the famous icon of the Archangel Michael Panormitis, who is not only considered the island's patron saint but also the guardian of sailors in the entire Dodecanese area. One story is that this icon appeared miraculously and, on several occasions, was removed only to reappear mysteriously in this same location. The church was then built on this site.
This post is part of the Scenic Weekends meme,
and also part of the inSPIREd Sunday meme.