Tower of Sarakinis
The tower is located just outside the coastal village of Heraion, on the south side of Samos. It is the oldest tower on the island, since it was built in 1577.
The tower used to be the residence of Nicholas Sarakinis, one of the first settlers of Samos, who re-settle the island during the 16th century.
The “Tower of Sarakinis” is regarded as a powerful symbol of the re-settlement process of Samos, that took place during the second half of the 16th century, as well as a new begging in its long-lasting history. Adjacent to the building is the picturesque, twin Church of St. John (built in 1602). The tower was later inherited, and it is still owned, by the Monastery of Saint John the Theologian (located in Patmos Island).
The available historical accounts are few. However, it seems that Kilitz Ali, admiral of the Ottoman Sultan (Greek by origin, from South Italy), probably anchored, due to bad weather, in the Gulf of Heraion (in 1562). The beauty of the island fell upon him instantly, so he promised privileges to those who would re-locate in Samos. To his helmsman, named Nickolas Sarakinis (Cretan by origin, but born in Patmos), who played a decisive role in the process of re-settlement, donated considerable land around Heraion. As said before, the tower was built in 1577, as a residence for Nickolas Sarakinis.
Construction, Architecture, Fortification
In terms of construction, the tower is made of stone. It is an elongated rectangular building, 12 meters high, which internally is divided into three floors and a basement. The fortified character of the tower is illustrated by various constructions, such as the chamber with the battlements, the two gun-loops (one in the north and one in the south), and the loopholes. Quite impressive are the stone windows of the second floor, which are decorated with the motif of the Maltese Cross.
Next to the tower is the twin Church of St. John the Theologian, which was built in 1602 (according to an inscription placed above the front door). Actually, the building consists of two Churches, one of which is devoted to St. John the Theologian (end up in a polygonal arch), while the other is devoted to St. George (end up in a semicircular arch). Between the tower and the Church is the courtyard, while in the wider area, several other building are built (stable, cells, kitchen etc.).