A cave on a steep slope on the western side of Samos, is said to have been home to renowned mathematician Pythagoras for a very long time. Opinions on his presence in the cave are divided. Some reports say he was there, banished by the tyrant Polycrates, accused of “corrupting” the youth of the island. Others argue that that’s the place he resorted to, when in need of some quiet time, to meditate, to think, isolated in this cave, which has since been named after him. Whatever the prevailing version, the space exudes a mysterious aura and, very reasonably, is accompanied by numerous legends.
The mountain of Kerkis stands majestically in eastern Aegean Sea, hosting this cave among other (hidden within it) natural treasures. A rocky side a few kilometers from Marathocampos was the home of the great philosopher, before immigrating, for political reasons, to “Kato Italia”, Southern Italy, rich in Greek presence and influence in his time.
Undoubtedly, the most interesting part of the site is the entrance of the cave, where there is the church of Panagia Saradaskaliotissa, which was built in the 10th century by Saint Paul (obviously not Saint Paul the Apostle, but one with the same name), who is said to have been influenced by the story of Pythagoras, and wanted to follow into his spiritual steps. Right behind the small church, there are two ways going down steeply. To some extent, they can be followed, although visitors can see warning signs posted by Authorities, making them aware of the -existent- risk that comes with going further down inside the cave.
Once inside, the visitor can see some beautiful frescoes. A few meters further, there is another small cave, which is revealed in its entirety. In the entrance there is a simple stone construction. To reach that spot, some climbing is required, and for that reason there is a rope placed alongside.
The cave is located about 4 km from Marathokampos, half of which is a narrow paved road, while the rest is a simple but good enough dirt road. It’s much better to drive a vehicle that is up to such challenges, rather than a simple car, which COULD cover the whole distance, but definitely risking minor damages, especially on the lower part, due to small rocks scattered all over in a part of the road. To reach the departure point of the small path that leads to the cave, someone can also start from the Plain of Marathokampos. It’s a 3 km ride (or walk), through a narrow but rather well-paved road. At the end of that, there is a small cafeteria, as well as space to park. From that point, the entrance to the cave is a 320 stairs climb up.
Despite access being somewhat demanding (due to road conditions), the visit to the cave was definitely worth it. In a way, it was an imaginary journey into the past, where legends meet with history, and Orthodoxy meets with the ancient times. The mere fact that I got to walk at the very same places as the great Pythagoras, made this visit unique, and the climb look like piece of cake, a walk in the park.