Nisyros is a small island.
Sixteen square miles and 5 miles across, it resides in the far corner of the Aegean sea, off the coast of Turkey. It is one of the Dodecanese islands of Greece, just south of Kos and two islands north of Rhodes.
I had the opportunity to spend a summer on Nisyros when I was a freshman in college. Much of the work on this site is from my return trip to the island many years later. To this day I am continuing to make work based my experiences and research from that visit.
Tucked away as it is, between the larger islands of Kos and Rhodes, Nisyros is easily passed by.
This has left it with few tourists but an authentic cultural experience if that is what one is looking for. When I traveled to Nisyros the first time, not much had been written about it.
Writer and philhellene, Lawrence Durrell, described it in his travel guide to the Greek Islands as
“A depressing place, with its burning stones and lack of shade;”
All I can say is he must have not looked very closely because in my experience nothing could be further from the truth.
Despite the fact that Nisyros has no known fresh water source, it is a very green island with a lot of trees and gardens. The volcano has made the soil very fertile. Hot water springs feed bath houses that date back to Greek and Roman times.
Much more has been written about Nisyros since my first trip and it gave me the opportunity to learn about what a long history it has, including a mythological birth mentioned in the writings of Homer.
Nisyros is dense with archeological sites dating back two millennium, but you need to know where to look for them.
This satallite drawing/map is abridged, only naming a few of the sites I have documented in my artwork, but much more can be found in the books listed below, particularly the one by Richard Economakis. It is so informative and the photographs are so lovely, I used it as a travel guide, despite the fact it is a rather heavy!
Join me as I begin a new series of work that will take us on a pilgrimage from the streets of Mandraki, Nisyros's largest village, up through the winding pathways leading to the 17th century church Panagia Spilliani, (Virgin of the Cave).
Websites about Nisyros:
Books about Nisyros
- “Porphiris of Antiquity", by Michael Emm. Arfaras, European Tourist Publications “Kamiros”
- "Nisyros, History and Architecture of an Aegean Island", by Richard Economakis with photogrtaphy Cornelis de Vries, Athens, Meliss, 2001, www.melissabooks.com, English ISBN: 960-204-232-X
- "Nisyros, Nymph of the Aegean" by Nikos Cartofylis, Athens, Fytraki Publications, 2001