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The ancient temples, Byzantine and post-Byzantine churches play an important role in the island of Samos. Their exquisite architecture and majestic locations attract many visitors every year. Above the town of Pythagorio, on 125m altitude above the sea lies the Monastery of Panagia Spiliani (The Virgin of the Cave). It was founded in 1586 into a cave by two monks and it owns a beautiful icon of the Virgin Mary.
The Metamorphosis church is one of the oldest samples of religious architecture located in Potami. Inside you will find great pieces of art. Northeast of Karlovasi, on top of a hill, lies the monastery of Prophet Elias. It was built in 1739 by the monk Grigorios over the ruins of an ancient chapel. The monastery hosts remarkable icons and it is accessed through a trekking path.
Of major historical interest is the church of Agios Spyridon located at the homonymous square in Vathy, the island's capital. It is the place where the decision to unite Samos with the rest of Greece was taken. A big festival is organized on its feast day where local food is served. In the wider area of Vathy, you will also see the Metropolis church of Agios Nikolaos, the church of Zoodochos Pigis and the three churches rising above Vathy.
Holy Cross Monastery is among the oldest monasteries of Samos built in 1582 by two monks. It took its present form in 1838. The monastery's library hosts a fine collection of books and manuscripts and a big festival is held there on the feast day, September 14th where many locals gather with local food and dances.
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