Nisyros has been known since antiquity for the scattered hot springs that gush in many parts of the coast, due to the geothermal volcanic crust of the island. One of the most famous springs of the island is the spring of Mandraki at the site Loutra or Skopi, just 1.5 km east of the settlement.
The famous Nisyrian Nikolaos Apostolidis was the one who first operated the baths in 1872, a makeshift shack structure, where he managed to treat his psoriasis. The founder donated these first primitive facilities to the Community of Mandraki. Gradually the site began to attract Nisyrians and foreigners, who suffered mainly from rheumatic conditions.
The first large-scale hydrotherapy center was established in 1885. It contained seven rooms and eleven private baths. Due to the high attendance, a westward new extension was built in 1895. In 1897, a new extension adjoined the two older buildings. The last extension, a short distance from the first building at the eastern end of the complex, opened officially in 1912. It is the only part of the hydrotherapy center that still operates to this day.
The three wings were built within three phases, funded mainly by wealthy residents of Nisyros. They were advertised and priced separately as economic categories A'(1911), B’ (1895), C ‘(1885), depending on the services they provided. Each one bears the morphological elements and is equipped with the technological advances of its time, depicting the historical development of the complex. The rectangular stone-built buildings have two-stories and tiled roofs. The spa complex occupies a total area of 2,550 sq.m. It is surrounded by a large courtyard and includes a small church, dedicated to Ayios Georgios. Auxiliary facilities could be found in the south of the buildings, while a jetty in the north was used as an anchorage for small vessels. When it reached its peak, the sanatorium had more than three hundred beds, each one with its bath offering services of European standards: airy, bright, and clean rooms, elegant marble baths, a restaurant, a poolroom, a reading room, and electric lights in all areas. Its coastal location, very close to the island’s capital, as well as the leisure activities offered in line with the trends of the time, such as sea excursions, fishing, and hunting, were also advertised. Visitors flock from the Dodecanese, the coasts of Asia Minor, Egypt, and other places. At the same period, Pantelidi’s Baths in Pali operated simultaneously. The two hydrotherapy centers contributed energetically to the development of the island, which became for a while one of the most famous spa destinations in the Mediterranean.
Besides the additional amenities, the therapeutic importance of spring water was the main reason for the attraction of a large number of visitors. Chemical analyses have shown that it is suitable for the treatment of a wide range of diseases, such as rheumatism, arthritis, skin, heart, respiratory diseases, and circulatory problems, while it was considered equal to the famous European baths. The spring is classified as a thermal hydrogen sulfide nitrate hot spring, reaching a maximum temperature of 46o C.
The Mandraki Baths were officially identified as a spa town and characterized as municipal after a law had taken effect in 1939. Even though numerous actions have been taken from time to time for the restoration and maintenance of the facilities, special consideration was never given. As a result in the ’80s, the operation of the two older buildings ceased. In 1987, the S.A. “Nisyros Municipality Tourist Enterprise” was formed in order to manage the Baths, as well as prepare the restoration project plan, secure funding, and of course complete the project. In the same year, the Ministry of Culture listed the whole complex as a historical heritage monument and since then it is protected by the Service of Modern Monuments of the Dodecanese.
Nowadays, only the most recent building, measuring 1,216 sq.m., at the eastern end of the complex operates. The building is considered to be in a mediocre state of conservation and the services offered are far from making it a modern hydrotherapy center. The other two buildings remain completely abandoned. The once busy complex of the municipal thermal baths of Mandraki should be renovated, as it is not only a monument of architectural and cultural heritage but also a reference point both for the memory of locals and the economic activity of the island.
Mandraki, Nisyros, postal code 85303
Means of access:
It operates as a hotel the baths operate from June to October
FREE ENTRY TO VISIT THE BUILDING (Charge for accommodation in rooms and use of baths)