Fodor's Expert Review Monastery of Taxiarchis Michael Panormitis

Monastery of Taxiarchis Michael Panormitis Religious Building/Site/Shrine Fodor's Choice

The main reason to venture to the atypically green, pine-covered hills surrounding the little Gulf of Panormitis is to visit this unexpectedly grand monastery dedicated to Symi's patron saint, the protector of sailors. The site's entrance is surmounted by an elaborate bell tower, of the multilevel wedding-cake variety on display in Yialos and Chorio. A black-and-white pebble mosaic adorns the floor of the courtyard, which is surrounded by a vaulted stoa. The interior of the church, entirely frescoed in the 18th century, contains a marvelously ornate wooden iconostasis, which is flanked by a heroic-size 18th-century representation of Michael, all but his face covered with silver. There are two small museums devoted to Byzantine and folk art. The Byzantine includes a collection of votive offerings, including an enchanting collection of wooden ship models and bottles with notes containing wishes and money in them, which, according to local lore, travel to Symi on their own after having... READ MORE

The main reason to venture to the atypically green, pine-covered hills surrounding the little Gulf of Panormitis is to visit this unexpectedly grand monastery dedicated to Symi's patron saint, the protector of sailors. The site's entrance is surmounted by an elaborate bell tower, of the multilevel wedding-cake variety on display in Yialos and Chorio. A black-and-white pebble mosaic adorns the floor of the courtyard, which is surrounded by a vaulted stoa. The interior of the church, entirely frescoed in the 18th century, contains a marvelously ornate wooden iconostasis, which is flanked by a heroic-size 18th-century representation of Michael, all but his face covered with silver. There are two small museums devoted to Byzantine and folk art. The Byzantine includes a collection of votive offerings, including an enchanting collection of wooden ship models and bottles with notes containing wishes and money in them, which, according to local lore, travel to Symi on their own after having been thrown into the sea.

If a day trip isn't enough for you, the monastery rents 70 spartan rooms (from €15 per night) with kitchens and private baths. Though the price doesn't include a towel or air-conditioning and there are insects (some rather large), the spiritual aspect makes for an enriching experience. A nursing home as well as a market, bakery, restaurant, and a few other businesses make up the rest of the settlement. The monastery is at its busiest for the week leading up to November 8, Michael's feast day, an event that draws the faithful from throughout the Dodecanese and beyond.

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Religious Building/Site/Shrine Fodor's Choice

Quick Facts

Symi  85600, Greece

22460-71581-museums

www.imsymis.org

Sight Details:
Rate Includes: Monastery free; museums €1.50

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