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The Island of Poros in the Saronic Gulf of the Aegean Sea in Greece
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Poros: A Virtual Tour

Introduction
The Saronic Gulf
The Channel
The Bays of Poros
Sfairia and Kalavria
Neorion
The Love Bay
Askeli
Sinikismos
The Monastery
Conclusion
ColorMap of Poros
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Credits
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Introduction

The Island of Poros lies right next to Peloponnesus. The TownCenter of Poros is directly across from the Peloponnese village of Galatas and the two communities are separated by a body of water of about 150 meters in width. Small taxiboats --some people call them "the gondolas of Poros"-- connect the TownCenter with Galatas and contribute to the area's uniqueness.

The name Poros means exactly what was described above: "a small passageway." Aside from the topographical orientation of its name, it is said that Poros owns its name to a similar location that existed near Constantinople --the glorified capital of the Byzantine Empire.

Your journey to Poros begins at Piraeus, the port city of Athens. After you go through the havoc that is characteristic of the port in the summertime, your troubles are over. Poros is connected to Piraeus with a ferry line, which takes about two to three hours, a "Flying Dolphin," (hydrofoil) which takes only fifty-five minutes, and with many other medium-size boats that usually take about an hour and a half. Any ship you choose to arrive to Poros (the longer it takes the cheaper the fare), your short trip through the Saronic Gulf is a pleasure for the eye to see.
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The Saronic Gulf

The Saronic Gulf --a microcosm of the Aegean-- is sprinkled with islands, islets, and rocks, adding a unique color to the southern entrance to Athens. As you leave Piraeus, your first stop is the island of Aegina. A small church, located at the edge of the promenade, welcomes the visitor to the "whiteness" of the Greek Islands. After a short stop to disembark passengers, the ship will pass near a small chain of rocks called "Petrokaravo" ("The Rock-boat")because the rock chain resembles a small boat. Soon after that, on your right, you'll see (westward) the island of "Agkistri".

After Agkistri, and again on your right, you will arrive at or pass by "Methana," depending on whether your ship makes a stop. Despite its appearance --a protuberance of the Peloponnese deep into the Saronic Gulf-- Methana is not an island. This mostly mountainous peninsula is a tourist attraction for its "therapeutic hot baths."

After you reach Methana, Poros is only a few kilometers away. As a matter of fact, from the promenade of Methana you can see the back, northern, side of Poros.
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The Channel

There are two entrances by boat to Poros, one from the East and one from the West. Regardless of which route you take, both entrances are magnificent. Coming in from the northwest, you pass a narrow channel where you will have Poros on your left side at a distance that is almost touchable. At this time you will not be able to see the TownCenter but as you make a sharp left into the main channel that divides Peloponnesus and Poros, the TownCenter of Poros and its famous ClockTower will become visible.

On your left, as soon as you made the turn, you will also see a small bay called the "Russian Naval Base Bay." This is a 19th century naval base, located on a naturally protected bay, that presently serves as one of the less frequented beaches of Poros (since it's the farthest from the residential areas). However, the natural bay where the "base" is located, with its serene waters and with Peloponnesus on the opposite side of the channel as its landscape, makes it an attractive point of anchorage for many yachts that visit Poros.
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The Bays of Poros

Having turned into the main channel, Peloponnesus will be on your right. A steep mountain range ("Aderes") extends almost up to the tip of the shore, adding an imposing presence to Poros and creating a myriad of spectacular views from the promenade, especially during sunset. As soon as you pass the Russian Naval Base, you will see a picture perfect islet, with a small church on it, called "Daskaleio." Sandwiched between Poros and Peloponnesus this little islet is about 50 meters away from the shore and it is only a little bigger than the small Aegean-white church that is built on it. Ironically, during the Turkish occupation of Greece, "Daskaleio" served as an execution place. Presently, however, it serves as a heaven for the romantics who choose "Daskaleio" as a place to wed. You can visit "Daskaleio" by a small boat, canoe, and of course by swimming.

Continuing slowly into the channel you will have a difficult time absorbing the natural beauty that unfolds in front of your eyes. The private, picturesque bays, the sandy beaches of "Neorion", the famous "Love Bay," and trees that hug the breaking waves are breathtaking and facilitate in creating one of the first bonds between the island and its visitor.

As you approach Poros, the ClockTower that stands tall at the center of Poros with its dignified but towering presence welcomes the visitor to Poseidon's island. The TownCenter, built at a southeast and southwest angle, is bathed during the day by direct sunlight, making the little cafes on the promenade one of the first attractions that lure the visitor as soon as he or she arrives at the island.
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"Sfairia"and "Kalavria"

At this point an important distinction is important. Poros, as one can see from the map, is made up of almost two separate islands that are connected by a very small bridge. The TownCenter of Poros is built on the smaller of the two islands called "Sfairia." The other half of the island is called "Kalavria" and both are known as Poros (learn about the geology of Poros).

The natural "reaction," once you reach Poros ("Sfairia"), might be to wonder in the narrow streets and steps that find their way up to the ClockTower. And that will be a pleasurable reaction. Going up the little streets will bring you closer to what Poros is all about, to its hospitable people that will invite you in their verandas for a dessert and to the little tavernas and stores that are known only to the locals.

Like Zeus from top of Mount Olympus, the visitor will surrender to the views that he will encounter once he reaches the ClockTower. From the promenade beneath, where couples will hold hands and where families will stroll with their children to sense the aura of the sea, to the blue jagged channel with the taxiboats going back and forth like frolicking bees on an exotic flower, the ClockTower offers splendid images that will stay with the visitor for a long time. Descending from the ClockTower, any small street or path will eventually take you to the promenade where you can continue your tour of the island. Going westward (to the left as you get off the ship and to the right as you descent from the ClockTower) you will find the usual craft stores that you see on the Greek isles, car/bike rental shops, travel agencies and a souvlaki store that will be difficult to pass without stopping.
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"Neorion"

If you continue on the promenade for about 400 meters, you will see on your left the Naval Training Center. The naval building, which has been designated as an historic monument by the Ministry of Culture, is a marvelous architectural creation. Unfortunately, you can observe it only from outside since visitors are not allowed in because it still serves as a training center for the Greek Navy.

As you leave behind the Naval Training Center you come to the end of "Sfairia," the first of the two islands comprising Poros. By crossing the small bridge you enter "Kalavria," the bigger of the two islands.

As soon as you cross the bridge there will be a road on your left that will take you to the western part of the island. In other words, to Neorion, to the "Love Bay" and to the Russian Naval Base. If you continue on this road it will circle the island and eventually merge with the road that leads to the Monastery at the eastern part of the island.

The road to Neorion is one of the most popular choices for a walk underneath the stars, right next to the sea and without the cosmopolitan "side effects" of the TownCenter. Pine trees that invade the water, small bays, a few tavernas and spectacular views of the TownCenter rightly attribute the road to Neorion and generally the area of Neorion, as one of the best of Poros. The Neorion area, which is separated in "Small" and "Big" Neorion, has pristine beaches with placid waters that is a paradise for the swimmer and the water-sports enthusiast. Parasailing, windsurfing and water skiing in Neorion has many fans from Athens and Piraeus who visit Poros solely for these activities.
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The Love Bay

If you continue on the same road, one of the hallmarks of the island, the hotel "Poros" (formerly known as "Xenia") greets the visitor at the Small Neorion. The hotel located at the edge of a small cliff has direct views of the TownCenter and Galatas. Almost right above the hotel there are a few villas, built dispersely on the hill, that have a piece of local and national history attached to them.

As you leave the hotel Poros behind you the area at the next largest bay is called the "Big Neorion." A few restaurants, cafes, and small hotels are located on the bay and the area is serviced by the taxiboats from the TownCenter. Between the Small and Big Neorion, a small bay, almost hidden, abound with natural beauty and with godly gusto surprises the visitor: it is the known "Love Bay." Words and pictures don't do justice to this majestic corner of Greece that has rightfully gained international recognition as one of the most romantic spots of the world. Lacking words to describe the atmosphere and the feelings that the visitor to the "Love bay" is succumbed, only personal experience can come close to sensing its beauty. If you continue further along, which is strongly suggested, you will end up (1-2 kl.) to the Russian Naval Base and to the western corner of the island. Although the ruins of the Base are not much to ponder about the Base is located on a very nice bay that gives off the feeling of an isolated oasis.
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Askeli

If you reach the Russian Naval Base and you continue on the same road, it will take you around the back of the island. It is a relatively new road but does not have any access routes to the rocky shores below. However, the road pierces through a wooded area and due to its elevation and location one can see Methana, Aegina and a great sunset behind the mountain range of Aderes.

Backpedalling a little bit and going back to the point when you cross the small bridge that connects Sfairia and Kalavria, if you do NOT make a left to the road for Neorion and you continue straight, in 50 meters you will see a statue of the famous Greek orator Demosthenes. Immediately on your right, there is a beach that is frequented by a lot of people. It is close to the TownCenter and as a matter of fact it is the most centrally located beach of Poros since it is between the eastern part (Askeli), and the western part of the island (Neorion).
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Sinikismos

At the point where the statue of Demosthenes is located the road splits. The road on the right will lead you to Askeli and eventually to the Monastery. On the left, it will take you to the residential area of "Sinikismos" or in plain English "the Settlement" which is attributed to the refugees that settled in Poros by the Greeks of Asia Minor following the catastrophe of Smyrna in 1922. At Sinikismos, the tourist will find affordable rentals, either rooms or houses and a convenient location close to all the attractions of Poros.

If you go uphill from Sinikismos, very soon (500 m.) you will find yourself in a pine forrest that overlooks Askeli, Neorion and of course the TownCenter. A restaurant-bar-nightclub is built up there and offers unforgettable views of Poros, Galatas and all of the surrounding areas, especially at night.
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The Monastery

On the other hand, if you are going to make a right at the point where the road splits in front of Demosthenes' statue, the road will take you to Askeli and then to the Monastery.

Askeli --considered by some as one of the nicest residential areas of Poros-- has the lengthiest public beach of the island. Old and new hotels, restaurants and a small white church on the waterfront compose the picture of Askeli's Bay which seems to attract many tourists. Askeli, however, does not have a view of the TownCenter or Galatas and it is a bit densely populated ...but, people seem to like it since many tourists return to Askeli again and again.

If you continue on the road to Askeli westward you will end up at the Monastery. But before you even get there, the scenic road that follows the curves of the coastline with views of the Aegean and the Peloponnese make the "trip" (4 km. from the TownCenter) to the Monastery a memorable experience.

At the bottom of the Monastery there is a small bay with crystal clear waters. You can also go to the Monastery by sea, since taxiboats make frequent trips to its bay. For those who want to explore the island a little more and taste its history, on your way back from the Monastery, near the Hotel Siren, you will see a paved road that will continue its way up the mountain. If you make a right, and I would strongly suggest that you do, the road will eventually lead you to Poseidon's Temple, to secluded bays, to hiking paths and private beaches that for most tourists are unaccessible because they are not very close to TownCenter (7 kl.) and because you might need some kind of transportation (a small motorbike, vespa, or scooter is adequate).

Having taken the road near the Hotel Siren, you will have the privilege to see Sfairia from atop. Following the road signs you will end up at the Temple of Poseidon.

When you reach the Temple of Poseidon, you would have circled the island and visited almost all of its corners. However, aside from the archaeological value of Temple, these ancient ruins are representative of what Poros is all about: an interaction of the elements that produce a marriage between the land and the sea resulting in the creation of a perfect union.
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Conclusion

In conclusion, it seems as if when nature decided to stop at Poros, it also decided to play a few games, to intrigue and to create something different, something that would be difficult to characterize with one word but that it would be so easy to remember once you've seen it.

The Death of Demosthenes

Demosthenes, the great orator and political figure of classical Greece found his death in Kalavria, Poros. During the time that the Macedons had taken Athens, Demosthenes found refuge in Kalavria. However, he was followed by Archias, a fugitive hunter working for Antipatros.

Demosthenes retreated to a sanctuary at the Temple of Poseidon where he could not be arrested since it was considered sacred. Because Demosthenes was not coming out of the sanctuary, Archias isolated him and vowed not to leave until Demosthenes would come out.

The Athenian orator, preferring to die than fall in the hands of Archias, drank poison that he had stored inside a bamboo straw. Just before his death on September 23rd of 323 BC, Demosthenes cried out "I, my friend Poseidon, leave your temple and I go outside while I am still alive. But for Antipatros and the Macedons not even this Temple is sacred."

Demosthenes's marble bust is displayed at the bifurcation of one of the roads that leads into Poseidon's Temple.

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