The most dominant feature of this island is its massive
mountains, of which the highest is Fengari (1,600 m.). The
little port where the boats from Alexandroupolis and Kavala dock
is called Kamariotissa.
The road leads from the harbour to Paleopoli (5 km.), where the
ruins of the Sanctuary of the Great Gods can be visited. The
rites celebrated here were equal in importance to the Mysteries
at Eleusis. Pausanias, that intrepid 2nd century A.D. traveller,
mentions that the Mysteries of the Great Gods took place
annually from late July to early August.
Little is known about what actually went on at the Mysteries or
about the initiation proceedings, but the requirements were not
as strict as at Eleusis.
Visible today at the site are the ruins of the Temple of the
Great Gods, the Rotunda of Arsinoe, the Stoa, the Temenos, the
Theater and the Fountain of Nike, where the Winged Victory now
in the Louvre once stood. The museum contains finds from the
Sanctuary and a replica of the world-famous statue.
The capital of the island is also called Samothrace (or
Samothraki). Built on a mountain, it commands a dominating
position over the surrounding sea, as do so many island towns.
The whole island is thickly wooded and coverd with the
vegetation typical of the Mediterranean; its wildness makes it a
ideal retreat for nature lovers.