With an island as rich in history as Patmos, Greece, it’s no surprise that there are a number of wonderful museums to be found there. Patmos is proud of its history and culture and it shows in its museums. Whether you come to Patmos on a religious pilgrimage to see the Cave of the Apocalypse (or even to see the island that Zeus gifted to Artemis) or you come for the sake of tasting its culture and folklore, there’s a museum you have to see in Patmos, Greece.
The Cave of the Apocalypse
Because of its religious significance, the Cave of the Apocalypse has been preserved as carefully as possible. When you visit the cave, you can still see the rock that St. John used as a pillow, and the irregular crack in the wall, through which many believe he received his Revelation from God. The cave is also full of mosaic depictions of his visions and alters for prayer and reflection. It’s no wonder this cave was made an UNSECO World Heritage site.
When you visit the cave, you’ll notice a “no fotos” sign. They’re very serious about that. This is something you’ll just have to experience for yourself rather than sharing with your friends back home on social media. It can be crowded at times, but there are also quiet moments when you can simply reflect on the significance of the place.
The Ecclesiastical Museum
If you visit the Monastery of St. John, you’ll find a museum inside near the bakery–small but significant, like the island of Patmos itself. In fact, it’s regarded to house some of the best collections of art and vestments in the world. It has two exhibition halls and showcases excellent Byzantine and post-Byzantine icons. Some of the most famous icons to be found in this museum are: an 11th century mosaic of St. Nicholas and a 17th century depiction of the burial of Hosios Christodoulos, the founder of the Monastery of St. John.
The Archives of Byzantine Documents is also an interesting portion of this museum. The most famous of the Byzantine archives held in this hall is the papers, marked with the golden bull seal of Emperor Alexios I of Komnenos, giving the island of Patmos to Christodoulos and founding the Monastery itself.
This small museum is in fact a mansion of the old Simantiri family, once great aristocrats in Chora in the 17th century. However, items in this museum date back to the 14th century, and the art has a touch of Russian as well as Greek. Despite the name, there’s not much of lore to do with this museum. Instead, it’s a still-life look into the daily life of the upper crust of Patmos in centuries past. Still, this is an interesting destination when it comes to seeing the history of Patmos. Unlike the Cave of the Apocalypse and the Monastery of St. John, the Folklore Museum does allow pictures.
When booking your stay in Patmos, consider Chris Hotel in Patmos, Greece for your accommodation. Situated in the main port town of Skala, it’s close to shops, grocery stores, and a tourist’s best friend–the bus station. It is 2 kilometers away from the Cave of the Apocalypse, 4 kilometers away from the Monastery of St. John. There are many hotels in Patmos, Greece, but Chris Hotel promises convenience to any of the sights you’d like to see in Patmos, and has some terrific views of its own, right from your own room.