© Ministry of Culture and Sports-Ephorate of Antiquities of Samos-Icaria
The Tower of Sarakinis in the village of Heraion, Samos
Sarakinis' Tower is the oldest sample of the tower-house architectural type in the island. It was built in 1577 as the residence of Nikolas Sarakinis, one of the first settlers of Samos during the island's rehabitation, after a century of depopulation. The island had been abandoned by the majority of its population towards the end of the 15th c., when Samos fell under the Ottoman rule. According to the local tradition, the initiative for the rehabitation was taken in 1572 by the admiral of the Turkish navy, Kilic Ali Pasa. He offered Nikolaos Sarakinis (a Cretan born in Patmos), who served as pilot on the admiral's flagship, parcels of land in the area of Heraion, where he settled.

The tower is a stone-built rectangular building, 12m. in height, that consists of a basement and three storeys. The ground floor, which was initially closed from all four sides (without any openings), was used for the storage of goods, while a well was opened here for water supply. The other two storeys were used as the main habitation spaces (bedrooms, living rooms with fireplaces). ิhe building was accessible from the first floor, where the main entrance was formed, through a movable ladder. The second floor was the only one with windows, whose stone frames were decorated with the motif of the "Maltese Cross". The fortified character of the building is underlined by certain manufacturing features, such as the forked battlements framing the flat roof, the two machicolations and the loopholes on the narrow sides of the first floor. After Sarakinis' death, the tower was bequeathed to the Monastery of Agios Ioannis Theologos (St.John the Theologian) in Patmos, where it still belongs.

The twin church of Agios Ioannis Theologos beside the tower is actually composed by two separate churches, built on different phases. The older one is the church with the semicircular apse, dedicated to Agios Georgios (St.George) and is-in all probability- contemporary to the tower. The church with the polygonal apse is dedicated to Agios Ioannis Theologos and was built in 1602 according to the inscription on the lintel of the entrance, probably at the time when the Tower came under the jurisdiction of the Monastery of Patmos. The space between the tower and the church is occupied by a courtyard surrounded by auxiliary structures (cells, stable, kitchen e.t.c.).
Evangelia Mavrikou