The landscape of Schinousa is gentle, with low rolling hills and a deeply indented coastline of beetling promontories. Long gone is the island's rich vegetation that was able to supply the Chozoviótissa Monastery on Amorgos with timber, according to the monastery's archival records. The road from the attractive harbour of Mersini up to the Chora in the centre of the island (15 minutes by foot) is bordered by rock scarps shot through with grottos and declivities, some of which may have been burial places in origin but which were used throughout more recent centuries as hides for the local population of pirates. The Chora straggles to either side of an axial street. At the centre is the modern church of the Eisodia tis Theotokou (Presentation of the Virgin); pieces of fluted and unfluted ancient columns and Early Byzantine stone elements have been gathered in its courtyard. In the area immediately around the church, can be seen the outline of the former kastro, whose quadrangle of houses still forms the core of the village.
Five hundred metres west of Chora is Tsigouri Bay, a wide beach of grey sands shaded by tamarisks. At the isthmus at the south end of the bay is a dense scatter of potsherds, both modern and ancient (amphora handles, cup bases, etc.), amongst an area of collapsed masonry which comes from a small-scale Roman and Early Christian presence here.
The island's fortified point was always the hill of Prophitis Elias (120m) which lies 1km to the south, by the left-hand branch of the road south from Chora. The southwest shoulder of the hill has the remains of prehistoric fortifications, with the plan of a rectangular bastion visible. Vestiges survive of the base of the wall along the north side. There are scatters of mediaeval pottery suggesting that the site was also used much later. Its position commands the south of the island and the waters between Amorgos and Naxos. Below the hill to the southeast are the ruins of a substantial, late-mediaeval ‘pyrgos'. Chronique des Fouilles link
Info: McGilchrist's Greek Islands
(From McGilchrist’s Greek Islands, © Nigel McGilchrist 2010, excerpted with his gracious permission. Click for the books)