Far from the city center, at a distance of 83km, hidden amidst the mountains lies a small village with just a handful of inhabitants, called Mesanagros. The name Mesanagros means a “cultivated, fenced large Byzantine farm”. There, you will find sugar-cube houses of rural architecture that go way back and you will discover various places of interest.
In the village square stands the Church of the Annunciation of Virgin Mary built in the 13th century, while on the hill of “Stavros”[Cross] the travelers can enjoy the panoramic view, gazing at the two seas surrounding the island of Rhodes to the east and west.
Nearby is the Skala [Staircase] of St. Thomas, a landscape with waterfalls and lush coniferous forest fauna and flora – a visit there is a must for nature lovers. Just outside the village, at the top of Mountain Skiadi, between the villages of Apolakkia and Kattavia, is the Byzantine church of Panagia Skiadeni [Virgin Mary the “Shade casting”]. Marble architectural features on site suggest to the existence of an ancient temple dedicated to Artemis.
The church owes its name either to the fact that the place is always shady even in sunny days, or because the hill looks like a “skiadion“, that is, a hat. The icon of Virgin Mary is considered miraculous and there are many stories about it. According to the most popular one, once a pirate ship was looming over the village, looted the church and stole the icon. With the help of the Virgin the ship was immediately turned into stone! Opposite the church you can see the “Stone Ship” with the naked eye.
During the Holy Week at Easter and the week after that, the icon of Virgin Mary is transferred from one village to another on a kind of relay (see also special information on Kattavia). Initially, this procession was carried out so that Virgin Mary would bless the crops, heal the sick, or endow the place with rain. At the beginning of Lent, men, women and children alike hold the miraculous icon of Virgin Mary and carry it to the island of Chalki, chanting all the way. The icon then returns to Skiadi. Next stop is the village of Monolithos, wherefrom, after Lazarus Saturday, it is transferred to a different village every day.
To explore all this wonderful sights you will definitely need to rent car.