You will see the Monastery of Panagia Spiliani from the ferry. It rises up on a 30-meter high rock at the far end of Mandraki
, above all the rest buildings, and it is accessible via 270 steps.
The monastery was established in 14 century. Actually, it is inside the ruins of the Castle of the Knights, a fortress built by the Knights of St. John. In the monastery you can see unique cave church, with the icon of Virgin Mary which is believed to be miraculous and patron of the island. The legend says that in 1400 a farmer of Nisyros
found the icon near the hot springs of Pali
. He took it to a church but on the next day the icon was missing. Surprisingly, locals found it in the cave above Mandraki. They returned it to the church, but on the next morning the icon was missing again, to be found in the cave later. Then the locals decided to built a church in the cave and devote it to Virgin Mary. The monastery was built around the church, keeping the cave intact.