One of the locations that offers stunning views and a magnificent history on the island of Rhodes is Tsambika Monastery.
The monastery is also known as Panagia Tsambika Monastery, or Virgin Mary Tsambika and Παναγία Τσαμπίκα in Greek.
The monastery is located 25 kilometers south of Rhodes city, just outside Kolymbia Village on the island’s East Coast!
You will also see the name spelled as ‘Tsampika’.
So what is this place all about? Why do people come here? What is its importance and significance?
Here I am going to walk you through the history of Tsambika Monastery, how to get to it and the special story that it holds.
So, let’s begin by talking about the fascinating past events that have taken place, and how this monastery has become famous for Greek people and Non Greek people alike!
The Location Of Tsambika Monastery
The old monastery, perched atop the 300-meter-high Tsambika Mountain, offers panoramic views from its elevated position.
At the summit, you can enjoy breathtaking views that unfold before you.
The wonderful sea and coastal views are breathtaking from here and you can also see clearly the villages of Kolymbia, Archangelos and Tsambika Beach.
The exact construction date of the monastery remains unclear, but records show its reconstruction in 1770.
It really is a beautiful small Byzantine Monastery, and when you make the hard climb to the top of the mountain to see it, it really is worth the effort.
The inside of the structure is floored with gorgeous shells and the yard outside with pebbles.
From the main road you make a turn off and start to venture uphill. From here, you can get approximately half-way up the mountain by car, but from there you will need to park.
The rest of the journey up requires a lot of deep breaths and some serious climbing.
There are over 300 steps in total and each step is numbered and it works out at about 500 meters in total length.
Tsambika Monastery: The Icon Of Panagia Tsambika (Παναγία Τσαμπίκα)
I personally love the history and the story behind this location. Let’s see if you do too.
Centuries ago, within a holy monastery in Cyprus, an icon of The Virgin Mary Tsambika (Παναγια Τσαμπικα) was placed.
Somehow and in some unexplained way, this icon made its way to Rhodes onto the mountain of Tsambika. Some have referred to this movement of the icon as a miracle.
On the mountain of Tsambika (then known as Zambiki) the icon lay hidden out of sight in a coniferous tree known as a Cypress Tree!
It is then said that a shepherd climbed the mountain with some others as he saw a light from some distance away!
Upon arrival at the top, they were all astonished to find the light coming from the Icon Of Panagia Tsambika from within the tree.
It is from this event that the icon was given its name Tsambika. It originates from the name ‘Tsamba’ which in Rhodes actually means ‘Spark’.
Although efforts were made to move the Icon to the local village, it miraculously returned to the mountain and the Cypress tree each time.
After multiple failed attempts to relocate the Icon, which mysteriously returned to the mountain each time, it became clear that the Panagia wished for a church to be built there.
From there, the Icon has stayed and has not left the island of Rhodes since.
The Miracle of Panagia Tsambika
This is one of the reasons that thousands of people visit the mountain of Tsambika.
Legend tells of a miracle from many years ago: a Pasha, a high-ranking official in the Ottoman Empire, was married but his wife could not bear him a child.
Hearing of the secrets of Panagia Tsambika, his wife prayed before the icon and she ate the wick of the lamp which was situated in front of her.
After this event, she fell pregnant. Naturally the Pascha was hesitant to believe this as he knew she was not able to conceive. He actually believed the child was from another man.
It was not until the child was born that the Pascha believed. This was because the baby was born holding the wick that the mother had eaten in front of the icon during her prayers.
Due to this miracle, thousands of people from around the world visit Tsambika Mountain today, seeking help with natural conception.
People also come to have their child blessed on the mountain.
The last time I visited, I witnessed myself a young lady walking up to the top of the mountain to pray to the Icon.
A Gesture To The Tsambika Monastery
Women who have prayed before the Icon on the mountain and subsequently been blessed with a child often offer a gesture of thanks to the monastery.
The child is to be named Tsambikos if it is a boy, and if it is a girl it shall be named Tsambika.
If this is not to be the case, and they choose a different name (Greek people tend to name their children after family members for example) then they instead will offer a gift to the monastery to honor Panagia Tsambika.
It is well documented that women from all over the world have said to have visited Tsambika Monastery in Rhodes and prayed to Panagia Tsambika.
They have also said, despite difficulties conceiving beforehand, they have gone on to have children, sometimes more than one.
Many who have claimed this, have even returned to Rhodes to baptize their child/children at the Panagia Tsambika Church!Tsambika Monastery – My Overall Opinion!
My Overall Opinion
When it comes to this location, my advice is NOT TO MISS IT.
Aside from its beautiful views, the history makes it worth the journey alone. It would be a real shame to not see this landmark. I love it here.
I just want to warn you, that the climb to the top using the steps can be quite testing.
If you have older people, people not so good on their feet or children, you need to have this in your mind.
I know a lot of people that have visited, and certain family members have waited by the car while others have ventured up.
There is no shame in backing out, it is a difficult climb. Something you need to be aware of.
Just take care when it comes to the temperatures too. If you visit in July and August the heat can be excessive, and it is extremely tiring when making this climb.
Lots of water, sun cream and head protection are things I strongly recommend.
It is better to be safe than sorry. Just use your best judgment.
Aside from this, you will love it here. The gorgeous views and fantastic history will stay with you forever.
So, do you have any questions? I would love to hear from all of you. Maybe you have visited and you have your own thoughts?
Hey, maybe you have prayed to the Icon and have a story to tell?
Just leave a comment below and I will get right back to you