Getting help conceiving from the Top and on the bottom…water fun
Tsambika mountain lies between Kolymbia and Archangelos – villages. Tsambika -beach is located at the southern base of the mountain. There is a place on top of the mountain that once had a monastery on it. Now the monastery is nearby but not at the mountain any longer. Climbing to the mountain has been recommended because of the panorama views on Rhodes island and because of the legend of the monastery. Tsambika beach on the other hand is very nice especially for families with little children because it doesn’t get deep very fast.
The water at Tsambika beach deepens very slowly and it takes a while for an adult to get far enough to reach a good swimming depth. This is very good for little children, who can better play and learn swimming in shallow waters. On the contradiction to the beaches on the other side of the island, the sand on this beach and fine and soft. Waves are also significantly smaller than at the Western shore.
Tsambika is along the road to Lindos making it easy to get there by rental car, taxi, local busses and even by boat from the Rhodes harbour.
There are several taverns where you can have lunch or get some snacks to eat while relaxing on sunbeds. The beach is quite full of these sunbeds and they are not very cheap to rent even if you arrive almost on sunset. If you want to save some money, you can stay on your own towel near the water or on both ends of the beach.
The legends about this place vary but the latest I read went something like this. A long long time ago an Icon of Virgin Mary was on Cyprus at the Holy Monastery of Panagia Kykkos. On some strange way this icon had ended up to the top of Tsambika mountain and inside a cypress tree. A shepherd had noticed some bright light coming from Tsambika so he took some of his friends and they climbed to the top only to find out the light coming from the icon of Virgin Mary. Villagers brought the icon down the their village but somehow it always ended back to the top. This happened three times and then villagers just left it where it was.
At some point the monks at Cyprus found out about the icon being at Rhodes. They traveled there and took it back to their monastery. Same thing happened as for the villagers. The monks took the icon back three times but it always ended back to Tsambika. In order to make sure it was the same icon, monks burned the back side of the Icon. It’s still black even today.
Time went by and there were buildings around the Tsambika monastery belonging to a Turkish man called Pasha. Pasha and his wife hadn’t been able to conceive a child so when the wife heard about the Icon, she went to pray beside it. Eventually woman became pregnant and Pasha was so grateful that he donated all his fortune to the monastery.
Finally we get back to present days. Even now, Greek women and women from all around the World arrive at the Tsambika mountain. They climb the 292 steps (some state 300 steps) barefoot and pray for a child at the Icon. If you read comments from internet, some have even succeeded. It’s also said that if you able to conceive after the visit, you should name boy as Tsambikos and girl as Tsambika. Or you can give something to the Monastery as a thank you.
Climbing to the Tsambika mountain
As you are driving along the road to Lindos, a small road goes left up the mountain Tsambika. You get to drive it for a short while but the surface is bumpy, narrow and full of potholes. As I drove back I saw some young people reversing back in their rental car. Maybe they didn’t have guts to drive it or something else made them change their minds. I had an Audi A3 and had no trouble getting up. But I had to take it careful too to not damage the car or leave the front spoiler as a sacrifice to the mountain.
After a while you get to an open where you can park the car. There was another place a little closer to the bottom but I drove all the way. There was also a restaurant and souvenir shop there but I was not in the mood for either of those.
The stairs began as a concrete path with a step now and then. After some walking steps became more dense but at no point were they too steep. Temperature was about 32 Celsius when I took this journey. I had one half-a-liter water bottle for the climb and another waiting in the car. It was a little past noon (worst possible time temperature wise) and there were not many people there besides me.
The climb itself was not hard but the heat and the length of it slowly consumed your strength. There is no point hurrying. Its good to make sure you have good shoes or sandals for walking (if you’re not here for help in conceiving). I had sandals designed for walking so they didn’t chafe and had a good airflow.
On top of Tsambika mountain
You felt like a winner after climbing nearly 300 steps and reaching the top with a 360 degree panorama view opening at your eyes. Mediterranean Sea on one side and Rhodes island on the other and shoreline in between. Monastery is no more but there is a little Church with a sanctuary. It was forbidden to photograph at the sanctuary so I respected that. I took photos of the white Church building and the views instead.
Is it worth a visit?
I think the place was terrific and the opening views were wonderful. It was also very hot at the top so I didn’t stay for a long time. The climbing itself was also a fine experience because, well 300 steps in almost burning heat. Take enough water with you. I read and heard that there would have been a place to fill up your water bottle at the top. The first time I noticed that was when I edited the photos, not when I was there. What comes to the help in conceiving, there must be better ways. Believing in something may have special powers though. But if you happen to be at Rhodes, it doesn’t hurt to make the trip even for just experiencing it. Free attraction if nothing else. I tried to look for anyone barefoot but didn’t see any.
If climbing and walking in Rhodes is something that interests you, also take a look at this article about the Valley of the Butterflies.