Samos, one of the most easterly and closest to Turkey Aegean islands, is famous for its wines, especially for its sweet white Muscat wine found nowhere else.
Among the island’s first inhabitants were the Pelasgians, who established the worship of the goddess Hera on Samos. Samos reached its greatest prosperity during the reign of the tyrant Polycrates, becoming one of the most powerful city-states of Ionia. The birthplace of many philosophers and mathematicians of antiquity, such as Epikouros, Aristarches, Pythagoras, Samos attracts today’s visitors with its lush greenery, varied landscapes and fascinating archaeological sites.
The capital, Vathi aka Samos Town, is built on the green slopes surrounding the island’s deepest bay. It has retained its individual appearance, with its attractive neoclassical houses, old mansions with pastel facades. The town houses two major museums of which the Archaeological Museum displays ancient sculptures, including the famous Kouros of Samos, vases and objects from the Geometric and Archaic eras, most of which were found at the Heraion (Sanctuary of Hera), the island’s chief ancient site; and the Byzantine Museum with heirlooms from Samian monasteries.
In the area of Pithagorio is the archaeological site of the Heraion, with its sanctuary to Hera of Samos, one of the biggest of antiquity. Within its precincts, where tradition maintained that the goddess was born and raised, are the ruins of a temple dedicated in her honor, Hellenistic and Roman buildings and even part of an Early Christian basilica.