The small settlement Pnaka located on the north side of Samos, in a beautiful γρεεν area, with almost tropical vegetation and excellent views to Kampos of Vourliotes and to Prophet Elias (Souvala Castle). Tradition was saying, that fairies danced at the night.
The spring that is there, flows abundant, crystal clear and cool water throughout the year, while previously, besides the area, also watered the settlement “Avlakia” (=water groove), conveying the water there with grooves, from which came its name.
On the east side of the small “square” of the settlement there is the small chapel of Saints Constantine and Helen (celebrates May 21), which probably dating from the middle of the 19th century, while on the west side of the small “square” there is probably the first olive oil mill of the area and one of the oldest on the island, which was converted into a restaurant at the end of the 20th century, but it’s closed sine 2017.
Next to the spring and the olive oil mill building, the old path is preserved, wich leading south to Vourliotes village, while to the north it descends to the settlement of Paleochori and Kampos of Vourliotes.
The steps to the right of the spring, lead to the small chapel of St. John the Baptist (celebrated on August 29) which belonged to Vronta Monastery, as stated in the official imperial documents at 1745, of Patriarch Cyril, which ratified previous document. Next to chapel stands the ruined chapel of the Apostle Thomas, which also mentioned at the official imperial documents of 1745.top
Residential activity at the wider region of Pnaka begins from the Early Christian period (4th-7th century) and became more intense during the Middle Byzantine period (8th-12th century) and until the desolation of Samos (15th century). The role of Pnaka settlement was very important, as it had water, control (open view) of the area and cover by Arab, pirate and other raids at that times, and was associated with other settlements and castles of the area, such as the Prophet Elias Castle (Suvala or Svala, east of Kampos Vourliotes), Lazarοu castle and settlement (south of Vourliots and Kambos), and Castle of Loulouda (southeast of Kambos and east of Lazaros).
When the island was resettled again in the middle of the 16th century, returned and settled again in the wider area of Pnaka and Kampos of Vourliotes, Samians (Chiosamoi) who had left the island during desolation (15th century) and they went to Chios island. As well as several residents of Chios island followed them in order to settle in the highly secure regime for the Greeks and Christians offered at the island of Samos at that time, under favorable rule of the Turkish Admiral Kilic Ali Pasha.
The intense residential activity of the settlement Pnaka, is also witnessed by several temples of the area, such as Saint John the Baptist and the ruins of Apostle Thomas that were probably built in the late 17th century, as well as Saints Constantine and Helen wich probably date from the 19th century.
Today, the settlement of Plaka is deserted without any permanent residents (according to the 2011 census) and there are very few houses which are mainly rural and holiday homes.top
The folklore writers of Samos, Nikolaos Zafeiriou, Nikolaos Dimitriou and Menekratis Zafeiriou mention in their books, that the area was named by the chapel wich is it in memory of the beheading of saint John Prodros.
Saint John the Baptist is depicted at the chapel icons, with his cut off head, on a plate (= Πινάκι ~ Pinaki, in old Greek language) and paraphrasing the word “Pinaki” becomes the name “Pnaka”top
- Follow the old path that leads to the Vourliotes village, (south of Panaka) or to the settlement of Paleochori and to Kampos of Vourliotes (north of Panaka).
- Drink and fill your flasks with cool spring water.
- Visit the chapel of St. John the Baptist and the Apostle Thomas, following the steps next to the spring.
Respect the natural environment, do not throw trash.
- Head to the village of Vourliotes from the main road “Samos -> Karlovassi” and after 1.6 km from the junction of the main road turn left (southwest) and follow the narrow road which after 450 m ends at Pnaka.
- No fires
- Camping is prohibited
- Pick up your trash when you leave