Paloi, a coastal settlement on the northeast coast of Nisyros, 4 km east of Mandraki known for the thermal spring of Thermiani, is the seaport of Emporio village. Due to the pirate raids the inhabitants moved in the interior of the island, where they founded the mountainous village of Emporio, a picturesque but nowadays half-ruined settlement after thedevastating earthquake of 1933.
When windjamming sailing ships ruled the maritime trade, Paloi was the gateway to the sea for the mountainous villages of Nisyros and contributed significantly to the export of agricultural and livestock products. However, the importance of the site as a safe anchorage was mentioned by the scholar Iakovos Ragavis and the German archaeologist Ludwich Ross. The origin of the name Paloi, a Hellenized form of the Latin word palus, which means pale or stake, derives from a large number of wooden ship bollards and it reveals the close relationship of the settlement with the sea. From the middle of the 19th century, the settlement gradually developed into a small traditional fishing village, around the domed church of Ayioi Apostoloi (1953). In recent years, it has developed into a tourist resort, with beachside cafes, restaurants, an advanced marina, and attractive beaches.
Remains of the Roman Thermai are preserved at a distance of about 700 m southeast of the settlement. The ancient complex of baths could be identified with the following reference by Strabo (X, 5,16): “There is a homonymous town, and a harbor, and thermal baths and a sanctuary dedicated to Poseidon”.They were partially discovered in 1886 during the excavation for the foundationof the hydrotherapy center of Dr. Pantoleon Pantelidis, a doctor who was very fond of antiquity. The exemplary healing center, designed by the architect Alexandros Andréi, was built during 1894-1898 and remained open until the early 1930s, with the official name “Sulfurous, Alkaline and Ferrous hot springs Hippocrates”. It was a major social and cultural attraction with more than 100 rooms and luxurious facilities, which turned Paloi into one of the most famous spa towns in the Mediterranean. During the 1980s Andreas, Pantelidi’s grandson, restored the imposing building complex, but he did not manage to run it again.
The complex of the ancient buildings of Thermai is related with Strabo’s reference “There is a homonymous city and a harbor and thermal baths and a sanctuary dedicaded to Poseidon” (Stabo X, 5, 16).The modern baths, located directly opposite to the complex of the ancient Thermai ,consist of a large rectangular vaulted room, measuring 14.70 x 8.20 m., oriented N-W, which occupies the open air area outside of a cave, out of which thermal waters spring. A semicircular arch, covered with a conchin the north narrow side. There are three rectangular niches with an arched end at the two long sides and one straight that belonged to the original entrance of the room, at the north end of the west side. The masonry made of stones, with bricks in the arches. Traces of marble revetment made of gray marble slabs laid onto hydraulic mortar are preserved inside. Later, the complex was abandoned and the main room was converted into a Christian church, according to the evidence of christograms and crosses. Nowadays the complex is buried and the entrance to the area is through a modern stairway on the northern side of the complex.
In the southwest corner of the room, there is a small, rectangular, vaulted church (4.20 x 2 m.), dedicated to PanagiaThermiani. Thermiani can be translated as “hot springs”, a name which derives from the adjacent ancient thermal spring. The altar is located in a small niche at the east side of the church, next to the niche of the Prothesis. The first one is covered with aintrados, which differentiates it from the rest of the interior. A blind arch is formed at the carved south side of the building decorated with a folk art fresco of Virgin and Child, which dates probably back to the 19th century and is presently covered with later frescoes. The date 1871 on the lintel of the small church is probably connected with the last architectural phase of the building.
Behind the church, almost in the middle of the south side of the room, there is an opening to the underground space of the thermal spring, which serves as Holy Water (Agiasma). A semi-cylindrical arch covers the northern half and the natural rock the southern one. A low wall with a central entrance at the southern part of the Holy Water (Agiasma) defines a natural water tank, out of which brackish water gushes with a temperature of 28-49o C. The spring is classified as a thermal hydrogen sulfide nitrate hot spring, mostly supplied by seawater.
Pali, Nisyros, Postal code 85303
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