Exactly below the verdurous Mountain Knimis on the Southeastern tip of the Gulf of Maliakos, the Municipality of Kamena Vourla sprawls in a stately manner. It combines the sea with regulated and unregulated beaches, mountains, hot springs, sports, entertainment and easy access to “Strongili” Island and the Lihadonisia.
History – Monuments – Sights
According to Homer, Kamena Vourla and Kenourgio are built on the site of the ancient town Thronio, while Renginio is built on the site of ancient Tarfi (native town of the Locrean hero, Aeas). Present day towns have been built near the streams of the Voagrios River, as was also the case in ancient years. The healing water of the hot springs which contributes to the development of Kamena Vourla comes from the heart of Knimida, which lies very close to the bath town.
Gastronomy – Entertainment
In Kamena Vourla, the visitor can savour delicious fish from the area at the numerous picturesque tavernas along the coast right next to the sea and other cooked delicacies and local dishes at the various restaurants of the region. Visitors of all ages can enjoy a cup of coffee or other beverages, ice-cream or delicious local sweets at a multitude of cafe bars and sweet shops. Strolling along the promenade is delightful in the afternoon and the evening when the promenade is humming with activity. Rich vegetation lends the area vivid colours with olive-trees, pine-trees, poplars, oak-trees, willows and plane-trees. Both its climate and its hot springs, as well as the combination of mountainous and seaside surroundings make the area a place of attraction throughout the year.
Cultural and other events
Carnival festivities during Carnival time. Fairs on 27 July (Agios Panteleimonas Day) and 5 August (Sotiros Day). Cultural events and sports events in July including the crossing of Maliakos from Kamena Vourla to Rahes by swimmers.
The Holy Monastery of Metamorphosis Sotiros is located above the spa town of Kamena Vourla at an altitude of 330m in a beautiful natural environment. It has an enchanting trail at a distance of 4 Km. with a paved road and it is possible for someone to reach the Monastery for an outstanding experience.
In the western part of the mountain “Knimis” is the monastery, which was originally founded in the early 11th century and is characterized as the oldest in the area. The cathedral of the Holy Monastery has a three nave basilica and is painted with rare frescos of the 12th and 18th centuries. Large-scale stones have been used for masonry from buildings dating from the 5th or 4th century BC. century, while fragments of ancient columns that formed part of the temple of the goddess Artemis support the temple and other decorative marbles are found south of the cathedral.
During the Ottoman domination, the Monastery offered important and valuable services to Christians, revolutionary militants and, more generally, to the Homeland and the entire genus. According to intense local testimonies, a “secret school” was functioned in the Monastery and this is proved by the existence of the constructed small crypt above the narthex of the cathedral.
The monastery was maintained until 1833, the monastery and 4/5 of the monasteries of the Greek state were dissolved by the decision of the Protestant regiment of Otto. The relics, the sacred relics and the monastery’s property were scattered or broken.
According to the Patriarchal Sigillas, who were rescued and kept in the Monastery, and some oral traditions, the monastery covered the most part of the village Karia until the villages of Zeli and Arkitsa.
According with other buildings of the Monastery, the Tower, the today’s belfry, served as an observatory where a monk was always watching the Turkish movements. Furthermore, the Holy Chapel of the Monastery, Our Lady of Blachernon is located a few meters away from the monastery, where a large cross illuminates at night.
In about 1500 BC. the monastery, due to its wealth and revolutionary activity, became a target and was attacked by the sea from a Turkish official. This resulted in its cathedral collapse. In the old Turkish firman, who is preserved and kept in the monastery, the Turks themselves describe a paradoxical and miraculous fact, that on that day their boats were marbled and they were feared for the evil that they did, they gave thousands of rupees for the repair. The iron cannon from the Turkish fleet, is saved inside the temple.
The icon of the Virgin Mary, found in the Great Pilgrimage, is the only one which was saved during the Turkish occupation because of its black color, was cut in the middle and used by the priests as shelves until they discovered it.
In addition to written and oral traditions about the extensive rural, livestock and forest areas of the Monastery, there is further information on the large quantities of milk which was produced and the way it was transported to the monastery. For this reason, a pipeline was made of clay tubes, which was started at the top of the mountain and ended up in the Monastery.
The monastery worths a visit. The view from the balcony of the monastery to the Maliakos Gulf and the town of Kamena Vourla is unique for visual enjoyment and photography. The Monastery of Metamorphosis Sotiros is open all year round for both passing visitors and pilgrims.
The Monastery celebrates Divine Liturgy on August 5th and 6th with a veneer and rite of passage and honors its Saints on June 23th .