The island's capital Patmos or Chora (Hora) is built 3 km southwest of the harbour (Skala).
It spills under the walls of the monastery of St.John like roots of a tree. Many islands have villages called Hora. They are usually the main village s and first settlement s making them the oldest developed areas on their island.
Hora of Patmos is many times been referred to as the queen of all Hora's, not only because of the monastery, but for the Byzantine residences that are unique to the island and said to be the strongest built in the Aegean .
Whitewashed houses, mansions, captain's residences, narrow streets and alleyways, all of which date back to the 15th century, are one of the reasons why this Hora is evidently one of the most expensive areas in Europe. Bought out mainly by foreigners the houses in Hora are in high demand.
Walking in Hora during a sunny mid day would not be recommended, the whitewashed houses reflect the sunlight making it tiring and straining for the eyes and skin. The afternoon and morning sunlight really give the alleyways a more Byzantine aura and a night walk is considered very romantic.
There is a donkey track going from Skala to Hora build in 1794 by the metropolitan of Sardes, Nektarios. It starts about 1 kilometre in from the port, and takes about 25 minutes to walk up to Hora . We recommend you take a bus or taxi up and walk your way down the donkey track through the pine forest to the cave of the Revelation and then to Skala. Otherwise it's a 4.5km drive on asphalt road lined with eucalyptus trees and pine forests.
HISTORY AND HOUSES OF HORAThe first dwellings were built around 1130 when the monastery monks called upon the remaining inhabitants (mostly builders of the monastery and their families) to take up resident close to each other and the monastery walls forming anouter wall, so when invaders came they could seek refuge behind its walls keeping the community and Christianity safe.
The houses were built in rows, their thick walls were much higher than the roofs to discourage climbing over them. Inside the walls five doors locked interconnecting passageways. Other islanders near and around Asia Minor flocked to Hora to escape from the Turks for centuries to come.
As more came to seek refuge a new outer wall of houses had to be made, this meant the breaking up of some of the old homes, into smaller ones to accommodate more people.
Extension of the passageways and two more locked doors also had to be made. As time went by and the fear of pirates died away, homes and mansions turned into ruins and locals relocated taking remainders of the old buildings (stone and wood) to new locations reforming Hora into what it is today.
One of the oldest buildings still standing in Hora would have to be the Sophouliou mansion (1522), it was built as a self sufficient complex with large ovens, storage rooms and rooms for security personnel . Another traditional Patmian home is the Simandiri mansion, which today serves as a museum.