According to geologists, Kerkis Mountain used to be a volcano. This we can assume by the many caves found all over it. Some of the caves have great depth. These would be active craters which later on died down. The most important caves are the following:
The cave of Kakoperato (bad passage in greek): It is located on the Southwest of Kosmadeoi village about 45 minutes’ distance from it. Before the cave there is a Metochi by the name Chatzimanolis with a little temple of Zodochos Pigi and a two storey building with cells. Further on walking for another fifteen minutes and with great difficulty on a most narrow path hard to walk along and dangerous for about 300 meters one meets the entrance of the cave where Pious Hermits had built a small temple also of Zodochos Pigi. The cave is 30 meters high and 8 meters wide. In its deepest end there is a small hollow where water is gathered from stalagmites. The sound creates a feeling of fear and when the wind blows small rocks fall from the eastern harsh side of Kerkis above.
The Cave of Panaghia the Sarantaskaliotissa: It is located at the south eastern side of Kerkis, in the region of the village Marathokampos. Upon ascending 40 stairs one enters the cave. On its outer side there is a small temple dedicated to the Genethlion of Theotokos. In the cave there is a little hollow which fills with water by stalagmites and further on the chasm starts.
The Cave of Panagia the Makrini: Setting out from the village of Kalithea and after walking for more than an hour, one reaches the Northwest side of Kerkis where at a height of 800 meters above sea level there is the cave of Macrini. This cave is rather high and wide. In it, a temple is built called Kimisis Theotokou ( in the past, it was the holy place where the ascets lived).
The Cave of Agia Triada: This cave is situated above the cave of Makrini and it is reached after a difficult climb of about ten minutes. At the left of the entrance there is a temple worshipping the Agia Trias. On the side and to the south of the temple there is a narrow path which people can penetrate for about 70 metres. Afterwards the passage becomes too narrow for further walking.
The Orifice of Panaretou: This is located south of cave of Kakoperato. It’s only fifteen minutes away from the latter. It bears no resemblance to the other caves but it’s more like a deep well. Its circumference is thirteen meters. Around 1815 A.C and on the day we worship Saint John, priest Panaretos from Fourni felt especially joyful and wished to go down into it. He tied a rope to a rock and started descending. After a while he felt dizzy and fell in. According to others, he carelessly brought the flames of his candle too close to the rope, burned it, and thus fell in the chasm. His two companions Ionnikios and Adreas tried to go down as well in order to save him. Unfortunately, they fell in as well. Because this priest died there, the cave took his name.
The Cave Kandyli: It is situated on the north west side of Kerkis at a height of 800m above sea level. During dark and cloudy nights a light shines from the cave, seen by many. A shepherdess who had led her goats to the pasture, suddenly realised that a goat had fallen in the hole. With extreme difficulty she managed to go down after the goat. There, dumbfound she saw the dead body of a holy man lying with burning incense and candles around him. She also heard beautiful psalms being sung. Full of ecstasy and panic, she went up the precipice and ran to her relatives to announce the vision. When she came back with her relatives, she was unable to find it. This incident was incorporated into the local tradition, that in the above mentioned cave there must lie the body of John the Evagelist according to the Lord’s words to Apostle Petros.
The Cave of Pythagoras: This is situated to the south east side of Mount Kerkis. Its area is approximately 200 square meters. The ascend is most difficult. It is believed that the philosopher Pythagoras was an ascete there.
- According to the Greek speleological Association, in Samos there are 67 caves.
- There are not organised tours through the caves and individuals who visit them are strongly recommended to take great care!
In Samos there are many small castles, which were built by the Samiots for protecting against the pirates.
CASTLE LOULOUDAS: Is 600m above sea-level, about 30 minutes north-east of the Monastery of Vrontiani. It was named from the daughter of a priest who committed suicide on this rocky peak. Today one can see the foundations of a temple being 2 metres high. Also there are traces of an aqueduct and of a tank.
CASTE LAZAROU: It is located in one of the summits of Mount Ambelos, West of Kastro Louloudas, and South of the Monastery of Vronta. It is about one hour from the Monastery. One can see part of the walls and the foundations of a temple.
CASTLE SARANTIDON: Above the village of Kontakeika and to the East, there is the castle of Sarantides. One can see the walls of a Byzantine church which was built on the ground.
CASTLE LYCOURGOS: The most well-preserved castle on the island. It is located in Pythagorion next to the church of the Transfiguration. It was built on the foundations of an older Venetian castle and it served as a jumping-off point for attacks against the Turks.
TOWER OF SARAKINI: On the outskirts of Ireon is the Tower of Sarakini. Sarakinis, was the Turkish captain’s bosun, who first pointed the island out to Kilitz Pasha who in turn gave this tower to Sarakinis. The Tower belongs to the Monastery of St’ John the Divine on Patmos.