Mount Kerkis is an extinct volcano, forming the bulk of the centre of Samos. It is the second highest peak in the Eastern Aegean. The mountain’s name means ‘belonging to Circe’ (the Goddess of magic). Mostly white in colour due to its high chalk content, Kerkis forms the backdrop for the surrounding villages. The mountain itself is a protected site and sanctuary for numerous plants and animals, some of which are endangered species. As well as vast, fragrant pine and olive forests, crevices and caves are dotted around the mountains slopes with mythical stories attached. One of these is the cave of Pythagoras, where the famous mathematician was supposed to have hidden when fleeing from the tyrant ruler Polycretes. Many visitors to the island of Samos will choose to hike up to the top of the mountain to get a glimpse of the wonderful views across the bay.
Marathokampos is a mountain village on the Greek island of Samos. The village is situated on the slopes of Mount Kerkis on the northeastern side of the island, 40K from the Island’s capital, Vathi.
Marathokampos village is one of the oldest settlements of Samos, founded in around 1550 in an area previously uninhabited. The first residents to settle here were Peloponnese migrants from islands nearby. The settlement was originally built at a lower location, close to a plain of fennel (after which it was named), but was later moved further up the mountain away from the threat of pirate invasion.
Historically, Marathokampos was a thriving agricultural village, with many of its residents working as farmers or sailors in Ormos harbour. Little about the village has changed over the centuries.
Marathokampos village is close to several archaeological sites and monuments and surrounded by many ancient ruins. As water is a scarce resource in Samos due to the long dry summers and its position in the Aegean sea, much of the architecture consists of historical sites of water use, many of these found near Marathokampos, including the Aqueduct of Ormos, the Bridge of Kampos, the tower of a water-mill, the creek above Kampos, the hydrolic oil press and the small rural springs in the Kerkis flanks built to yield water from the mountain.
Near Marathokampos you will also find many remarkable historical monasteries, including the Virgin Mary ‘40 stairs’ monastery, the Pythagoreian monestery, Evangelistria and the older Saint Vasilio. The temple of Hera is only 3 miles north of the village and the monastery of Panagia Spiliani is only 15 miles east (an amazing church hidden in a cave with an underground chapel for reflection and prayer, and ancient wall paintings).
Marathokampos village itself also has many authentic marks of historical influence, made up of traditional arches, stone fountains, rooftop cornices, narrow paved alleyways, neoclassical buildings and stone churches.
Described frequently as authentic and charming, Marathokampos port of Ormos is a tranquil and idyllic holiday location. Clean sandy beaches and crystal clear waters sit within a landscape of unspoilt natural beauty. It is considered one of the most picturesque villages in Samos. Down by the traditional harbour you can enjoy locally caught fresh fish and Samos wine at one of the traditional taverns and restaurants and look out over the turquoise waters of the bay in the mild warm weather.