Areas & Sights

the castle of himara - The old town of Chimara, the Castle (Barbakas) is itself an important monument requiring protection so that it doesn't suffer irreversible damage. It has signs of constant habitation for over 3,500 years with major and important sights in the Castle. Here one finds many important Byzantine churches, mansions, depilated buildings, stone paths and of course the remains of the ancient Hellenistic walls, the foundations of the castle that was built in the late 5th century BC with large polygonal and trapezoidal stone blocks...traces of the prehistoric land of Phoebus.

panagia kasopitra – A Byzantine church of the 16th century situated on the south-western side of Chimara's castle next to the highest peak of the hill. It took its name from the econ of the Virgin Mary that emanated from the church of Panagia Kassopitra in Kassiopi, North Corfu. The image was considered miraculous and in periods of drought the people of Chimara would parade the icon and sing hymns. Strong rain would follow shortly. Decorations on the interior of the church include partly damaged frescoes dating from the same period as the construction and a unique mural iconostas.

the church of the episcope - A Byzantine church that lies within the Hellenistic walls of Chimara's castle with a very prestigious and rich architecture. It was built over the foundations of an ancient building considered to have been the temple of Apollo.Here was found the ancient inscription "ΦΟΙΒΟΣ ΑΠΟΛΛΩΝ ΧΙΜΑΙΡΑΝ ΕΠΟΛΙΣΕΝ" meaning: Phoebus Apollo founded the city of Chimaera.In front of the deteriorated building of the Bishop's residence, on both sides of the entrance,bears a marble relief of the Byzantine two-headed eagle with imperial crowns on top of each.

spyromilios residence– The old mansion house of the Spyromilios family that played an important role in the history of Chimara. Spyros Spyromilios was born in 1864 in Chimara and was major of the Greek Gendarmerie. On November 5, 1912, he was given the command to disembark in Chimara. With 2,000 volunteers, mainly Chimariotes and Cretans, liberated the entire region.

By the end of the Balkan Wars, Greece was obliged to withdraw its army from Northern Epirus. Spyromilios did not execute the order of withdrawal though and

on February 9, 1914 proclaimed the autonomy of Chimara. Later Major Spyros Spyromilios was elected deputy in the Greek Parliament with an ongoning interest for his homeland. He retired in 1926 with the rank of colonel. Died in Athens on May 19, 1930.

agioi pantes (all saints) - Church was built at the instigation of Kosmas the Aetolian around 1775 at the entrance of the Castle. The Saint Kosmas arriving at Chimara was surprised to find out that there were 150 churches already. The old saying that on Sundays and holidays 300 bells sounded in the village. Every family had its own church and they worship separately. Wanting to conciliate them, he prompted them to build one church for all the saints, and persuaded them to go to the Orthodox liturgy altogether. In the years of communism, All Saints became a warehouse and suffered severe damage and destructions. Now renovated, is once more the Cathedral (Metropolis) of Chimara.

the akrokeravnios school - The Greek school of Chimara, next to the church of All Saints, was also built at the instigation of Kosmas the Aetolian, around 1775. After the Second World War the communist regime closed the school and banned any teaching or speaking of the Greek language. After many years of efforts, a Greek private school opened on May 2006, almost 60 years later. Today the Akrokeravnios School of Chimara has been renovated and is once more fully operational for its native-speaking people.

monastery athaliotissas - On the mountain slopes above Chimara there is the old monastery of Panagia Athaliotissa. Athali, like the people of Chimara call it otherwise, is a pilgrimage to the Virgin Mary. The church was built in 1795 and has several dilapidated buildings in the monastery yard. From here, the town of Chimara literally lies beneath your feet with a wonderful panorama of the city. The Monastery of Athaliotissa celebrates on August 15th, the day of the Assumption. It can be accessed only by foot.

monastery agiou theodorou - Between the villages Liates and Drymades on a hill with a magnificent sea scenery is situated the monastery of Saint Theodore, known for its dozens of miracles to the faithful. It was built in the 14th century over the ancient temple of god Zeus and Artemis, goddess of hunting, but it was not finished until nearly 500 years later. In 1946 it was closed by the regime and became a military outpost for the Soviets and the Albanian army. Today, a new asphalt road leads to the monastery.

monastery panagias- drymadon - Monastery and Church of Saint Mary (Panagia) is a pure white building; located on the peak over the village of Drymades with a very distinctive architecture. The basilica type church with a Byzantine-style dome and a single nave was built in the 14th century. Its interesting frescoes still in good condition were commissioned by the Archbishop of Chimara and Delvina Ioannis in 1781. The old church of the Monastery serves as the communion area. It can be reached only by foot.

grammata - North of Palassa, on the cape of the same name, and along the small bay nearby, more than 1500 epigraphs are carved out in Greek writing, letters and symbols. The name Grammata is clearly associated with the letters and symbols engraved and that in Greek justifies the name "Γράμματα" of the bay. The study of the inscriptions shows that the tranquil bay was not only a refuge for mariners who fled there to escape the storms, but a real place of worship and vigilance of Dioscuri (> Διός + Κούροι), the twin children of Zeus, protector of sailors and ships. Inscriptions belong to the last centuries BC and in most cases, the formula used is "Εμνήσθη παρὰ τοῖς Διοσκόροις" and followed by names in genitive: this verifies that travelers did not accidentally visit Grammata Bay but it was turned into a place of pilgrimage. Travellers in their graven inscriptions were evoking not only for themselves but they addressed to Dioscuri in the name of their family members and friends. There is a bay named Grammata in Syros Island in Greece. It's also named after the many rock inscriptions that were found there as well. Access to Grammata Bay is possible only by sea.

inscriptions grammata
One of the inscriptions found in Grammata Bay, dedicated to Dioscuri. The Dioscuri (> Διός+Κούροι), Polydeuces and Kastor were the twins children of Zeus and Leda and brothers of Helen of Troy. They were gods of light and for the Greeks personified honesty, generosity, courage, kindness and virtue. They were patrons of the ships and sailors. Greeks worshiped and venerated as gods, often asking them support and help during difficult times. They were the protectors and saviors of mortals. The Dioscuri having grown up in Sparta, in the royal household of Tyndareus, they were particularly important to the Spartans, who associated them with the Spartan tradition

of dual kingship. When Spartans walking to meet the enemy they sang a paean in honor of the Dioscuri. As the myth says they once had found refuge in a sea cave near Grammata Bay and there in a small temple were worshiped since antiquity. The historical references speak of an impressive worship cave with graven inscriptions in ancient Greek relating to euploia and navigation.

panormos castle (and palermo) - South of Chimara, on a small peninsula in the closed and safe bay of the same name, lies Panormos Castle. It's a true natural fortress that locals simply call it Kastri (Castro-castle from Greek). The well preserved castle is wrongly asserted to have been built in early 19th century by Ali Pasha of Ioannina. In fact, the castle was reconstructed on the designs of a French military architect on the ruins of an older Venetian triangular fortress of 1453 and on the site of a pre-existing monastery that was there, according to the description of the English traveler of the time Leake. It has the same triangular plan with round towers found in the Venetian fortress of Vouthroto (Butrint) and probably of the same period. At the entrance of the fortress, Ali Pasha ordered to place a stone plaque with a poem in his honor, carved in the folk language. The fortress is still in excellent condition today and stands as a major tourist attraction and one of the most important historical monuments of the region.

Agios Nikolaos - Saint Nicholas Church - Near the neck of Panormos peninsula, at the beginning of the isthmus of Palermo, is a small church dedicated to St. Nicholas which is linked with several stories and legends with the construction of the castle. It was built on the orders of Ali Pasha, to replace the one that was demolished to build the castle. Despite the fact that Ali Pasha was a Moslem, he ordered the French engineer to build a new chapel outside the peninsula, where still stands today. Another small church, also dedicated to St. Nicholas, is located in the isthmus of Panormos. Only the ruins reminiscent its existence today...

palaio kiparo (old upper kiparo)– High on the hill Old Kiparo perches precariously, a veritable museum of local architecture with wonderful old houses and churches. The entire village is picturesque, with its traditional architecture, the stone cobbled streets, monasteries, composing an overall magical image. Of particular interest are the erection inscriptions on many houses.

monastery agiou dimitriou - At Kato Kiparo (Lower Kiparo) there is a white, renovated monastery dedicated to Saint Demetrius with a church of the same name. Build round in 1730. The wooden iconostasis with carved angels and thorn leaves are part of the cultural wealth of the village, but unfortunately the antiquities have been the victim from various aspiring thefts and illicit dealers.

sopoto castle- Near the village Borshi, along the mountain line, on top of the hill lie the ruins of the Byzantine castle of Sopoto. It took its name from the hill on which it is located (Sopot meaning running waters, springs). In antiquity the region was called Maeandreia. The ancient acropolis was built around the beginning of the 3rd century BC with trapezoidal style wall on the basis of which is set the medieval castle, and received its present name. On the hill, excavations brought to light several findings from the ancient city, fortifications of the 4th century BC, houses and the necropolis with both simple and monumental tombs with cylindrical vaults.

There also were discovered many ceramics, amphoraes, vases and lekytes. Among the items was an iron symbol of lightning, and two gold olive leaves. The archaeological site finds date from the years 280-275 BC. The castle is hard to reach and the only access is on foot.