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Tsambika Monastery

Tsampika Monastery - The East Coast Of Rhodes

One of the locations that offers stunning views and a magnificent history on the island of Rhodes is Tsambika Monastery. It is Also known as the Monastery of Panagia Tsambika (Virgin Mary Tsambika and Παναγία Τσαμπίκα In Greek), You will find it located 25 Kilometers south of the city of Rhodes and is just outside the area known as Kolimbia Village on the East Coast of the island! 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 the 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 The Monastery

A View Of Kolimbia From Tsambika Monestary
A View From Tsambika Monestary

The old monastery is located on top of a hill commonly known as Tsambika Mountain and it sits at 300 meters above sea level. From the top you will be presented with some beautiful views. The wonderful sea and coastal views are breathtaking from here and you can also see clearly the villages of Kolimbia, Archangelos and Tsambika Beach.

On a good day you can see as far as Lindos and you can even make out The Acropolis too.

It is not clear when the monastery was actually constructed, but it is known it was reconstructed back 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.

The Icon Of Panagia Tsambika (Παναγία Τσαμπίκα In Greek)

I personally love the history and the story behind this location. Let’s see if you do too.

Many years ago (centuries in fact) inside a holy monastery in Cyprus, there was placed an icon of The Virgin Mary Tsambika (Παναγια Τσαμπικα).

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’.

Efforts were made to move the Icon into the local village, but again miraculously, it found its way onto the mountain and back into the Cypress tree. After numerous attempts to relocate it (and each time resulting in the Icon finding its way back onto the mountain), it was understood that it was the wish of the Panagia to have a church built there.

From there, the Icon has stayed and has not left the island of Rhodes since.

Tsambika Mountain And Monestary
Tsambika Mountain And Monestary

The Miracle of Panagia Tsambika

This is one of the reasons that thousands of people visit the mountain of Tsambika.

It is said that a miracle occurred many years ago. A Pasha (a person with a higher rank within The Ottoman Empire) was married, yet his wife was not able to give him the gift of a child.

Related Posts  The Acropolis Of Lindos in Rhodes

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.

Because of this miracle, the mountain of Tsambika today is visited by thousands upon thousands of people worldwide who are struggling to naturally conceive a child. 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.

  • Entrance Point To Tsambika Mountain
    Entrance Point

A Gesture To The Monastery

Women that have been onto the mountain and prayed before the Icon and later been blessed with a child as a result, offer a gesture to the monastery as a thank you for their child.

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 this mountain 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!

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?

I cannot wait to hear from you all, just leave a comment below and I will get right back to you

Thanks for reading.

Click Below To Continue And Learn More About The East Coast Of Rhodes.

Posted by

Chris Towers

Hi there, I am Chris and I live on The Island Of Rhodes In Greece. I am more than happy to assist you in anyway possible if you are looking for information or help on this amazing Greek Island.

Feel free to leave me a message if you have any questions or need advice!

Hey, maybe you have visited this beautiful place yourself and you have something you want to share?

I look forward to hearing from all of you.

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(20) Comments

  1. KerryAnn

    I have not had the fortune to visit Greece. Your post is truly inspiring.  I can just see myself climbing up to the monastery and grabbing my camera to capture the wonderful view.

    As I am on the wrong side of 50, I certainly would not be praying for fertility, however my thoughts are with those who are not so fortunate.  I imagine that if I was in the position where fertility was an issue, I would be taking the journey.  There are guarantees in life, but just the journey itself would be worthwhile, whatever the outcome.

    I shall certainly put this on my bucket list.  Greece has an incredible history and your post has inspired me to make the effort to visit this wonderful country.

    1. Chris Towers

      Thanks KerryAnn, nice to hear from you.

      Well, aside from fertility, I promise you that you would love your visit to the monastery. The views and tranquility alone are worth every step to the top.

      Be sure to have your camera ready too, you will need it I assure you 🙂

      Thanks for reading.

      Chris

  2. Aniruddha

    This site offers a unique experience about Tsambika Monastery. I heard about beautiful places in Greece but had never heard of this place. I must thank you for giving this information.

     From the pictures and videos, it looks an awesome place to visit. I am surely going to visit Tsambika Monastery whenever I get a chance.

    1. Chris Towers

      Thanks for reading. See you here in the future hopefully 🙂

      Chris

  3. Emmanuel Buysse

    Great post and good info. The view is amazing, we don’t have something like this in Belgium. 

    Now anyway, I was reading all your posts and what I can say is that I want to go to Rhodes next year. 

    I will learn a lot, new things,  a beautiful nature and much more. 

    I will show it to my wife, I hope she agrees with me because I really want to visit it. 

    Thanks a lot!

    1. Chris Towers

      Thanks Emmanuel, I appreciate you reading and hope to see you here on the island in the future!

      Chris

  4. Daniel Gonzales

    Hello Chris,

    Thank you for sharing your amazing adventure to Tsambika Monastery! I will definitely keep this in mind when going to Greece. I went to Israel earlier this year for a church group tour and didn’t get to go to Greece, but the same travel agency we went with is now offering a combined Israel and Greece trip. I’m very much interested in that because I am fascinated by the history of the region and how it was depicted in the bible. 

    It sounds like the Tsambika Monastery has a rich history that has resulted in many believers seeking miracles and refuge for their problems. I have been on a few tough climbs in Israel and other hiking adventures, so this should be no problem. I always enjoy a new challenge. It looks like the scenery will make it more than worth it. 

    I will have to make Rhodes a destination on my next journey. The pictures and the video look amazing and do a great job of capturing the essence of this place. I think the truly great places to visit require some sort of struggle to get there. It’s almost like paying your dues and homage to the history of the place and the people that inhabit it. Thank you for going into great detail and sharing your observations. I look forward to the next one!

    1. Chris Towers

      Thank you Daniel.

      Yes I have to say i think you are right there. The places that need effort and perseverance to get to are the ones worth seeing the most.

      Places such as Tsambika, The Acropolis Of Lindos, and the castles of Kritinia and Monolithos here on the island, all require effort to really appreciate them, but the history, the importance and the scenery make it all worth your sweat.

      I hope too you can make it here. You have a clear interest in what is mentioned here, and I think you would really enjoy it.

      Also, I see that you have been a keen visitor to Israel, and am not sure if you are aware, but thousands of people visit Rhodes every year from Israel and I have made many friends from there. They too really appreciate the sites and history here, as i am sure you would too.

      Let me know if you can make some plans to get here 🙂

      Thanks my friend. Nice to hear from you.

      Chris

  5. GVporras

    Thank you for this great post about this lovely place Tsambika Monastery,

    I look to the pictures and the view is amazing and is place we should visit, I always wanted to visit Greece and we are planning to go next year, now this place it will be one place for us to go, one more place to our list.

    I may ask you what time of the year will be best to go, any recommendation I will appreciate it.

    1. Chris Towers

      Hi there and thanks for reading.

      Tsambika and its Monastery are not to be missed if you are in Rhodes, so let’s hope you manage to put your plans into action.

      When it comes to the best time to visit, there are factors which are hard to tell you unless i know what you are looking for.

      For example, what temperatures do you like? Where would you consider staying and what type of accommodation suits you?

      Nearer the time, if you want to hit me up on a private message, I will be happy to assist you more.

      Thanks

      Chris

  6. coolbudgetfamilyholidays

    Thank you for the lovely article on the Tsambika Monastery,

    I love the Greek Islands as many of them are so picturesque and the views from the Tsambika Monastery look equally as stunning. 

    Just one question is the Monastery easily accessible for people with disabilities or small children. Also at the top is it safe for small children to roam free?

    1. Chris Towers

      Hi and thanks for your questions.

      Like i have mentioned within the text, it is quite a climb and it can be hard going. For people who have difficulty on their legs I would suggest taking a moment to understand if you are able to make the journey. There is no shame in staying back. 300+ steps can be hard for people most of the time, never mind if you are suffering with a disability.

      As for children, yes they can make the journey. Again though, it is important for their guardians to take care and keep an eye on them. Keeping them close is a very good idea.

      Once at the top and inside the monastery, it is quite safe. It is not recommended to allow children to go off on their own though. Keep them safe and secure at all times to prevent unwanted incidents.

      I hope this helps!

      Chris

  7. Henry

    Hi Chris. We have been planning a family trip to Greece and the Island of Rhodes has been pointed out as a must to include in our plans. 

    I’m so happy I came across your post and I must admit that the views, after you climb to the old monastery of Tsambika, are breath taking. 

    I also appreciate your practical recommendations, because we indeed are planning our trip around July and August.

    1. Chris Towers

      Thanks Henry.

      Let’s hope you do make it to Rhodes as part of your plans for Greece. If you get here, be sure to check out Tsambika, it is quite amazing and I think you will love it!

      All the best!

      Chris

  8. Dale

    I am a Canadian and as most people know Canada is a relatively young country compared to other places in the world.  Places like Tsambika are wondrous in their glory.  Your article alone has me wanting to take each of the 300 steps and enjoy every one.  Not just to see the monastery, but also the sights below.

    This was a very intriguing article.  I wish I could put this on my bucket list but it is already so long.

    Either way, I have learned a great deal of knowledge from this article and that is priceless.

    Thank you

    Dale

    1. Chris Towers

      Thanks Dale, I appreciate you reading my friend.

      And never say never. Although your bucket list maybe extensive already, there is always room for more in the future 🙂

      Chris

  9. Nate Stone

    Hi Chris,

    Thanks for providing this article, I’m British and with Brexit/Our Departure from the EU swiftly approaching, I’m keen to see as many sites in Europe as possible prior to our exit as not sure how easy travel will become! 

    Is there a cost of entry to access the monastery or is it just open to the public to visit for free?

    1. Chris Towers

      Hey Nate. The entrance to the mountain and monastery is free. There are no charges. On saying that, if you have some small change, it is always a nice gesture to leave a little and light a candle. There is not demand for it though!

      As for Brexit, i know what you mean. There is a lot of uncertainty. I am British too in actual fact, but I have residency in Greece now. Still, we will see what master plan emerges from the powers that be!

      Nice to hear from you.

      Chris

  10. AV 2001

    Hey Chris,

    I’ve really enjoyed reading this article as it’s fun and interesting. I’ve been to Tsambika Monastery in 2013 and it’s one of the best monasteries in the world. I’ve actually visited in the winter but it was no fun as it was too cold for us. The views from the monastery are sensational and if you’re a professional photographer, this is one in a lifetime opportunity to capture beautiful images.

    Thanks a lot for taking your precious time in writing this post. Well Done Chris!

    1. Chris Towers

      Hey there and thanks for getting in touch!

      i agree it can be a little bit colder during the winter months, but Tsambika Mountain still offers great views and complete tranquility. Plus, you miss the crowds of the summer time right? 🙂

      I love the views from this location though, whether it be the Summer or the Winter time.

      It is great to know you have been here and seen this amazing place too 🙂

      Thanks for your comment. I really appreciate it.

      Chris

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