Greece Greek Islands
Greece and the Greek Islands

Sporades

Skyros

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General Informations:

The Capital of the island is the city of Skyros, or “Chorio”, as it is called by the locals. It is located 11 km northeast of the port Linaria and is built like a amphitheater on a steep, rocky hill. The old part of the city lies hidden behind the rock and could not be seen from the sea. The white cube-shaped houses are built in terraces on the slope and give a characteristic picture with their gray flat roofs.

The roofs of the older houses are covered with a darksilver colored earth called “Melangi”, those are stacked under the dried algae. From the inside, the ceilings of the rooms are made of beams and ships fixed together.

The layout of the interiors and the decoration of the traditional Skyrian house are admirable.

Ingenuity, as well as an optimal use of space unite with the charm of real folk art. The rooms are adorned with fine embroidery, attractive ceramic vessels, beautifully woven fabrics and bronze objects. The furnishings are carved in the manner characteristic of the island and are still produced today by skillful local craftsmen in their workshops “Chora” and “Magazia”. There are also women who make embroideries and woven goods with traditional votive motives. Many houses of the city are true folklore museums, you street through the center and the main square is called “Megali Strata”. Its starting point is the square with the town hall in neoclassical style. On both sides of the street are many shops, taverns, ouzeries, snack bars and many more. Approximately in the middle of this route is the church “Panagia i Melikarou”, the island’s central church, with a richly carved iconostasis. From this main road, narrow side streets lead to the castle and the top of the hill. The castle stands on the site of the ancient acropolis from the 5th century BC. from which a few remains have been preserved. In the Byzantine castle with Venetian additions is the monastery of “Agios Georgios”, the saint patron of the island. This monastery belongs administratively to the monastery Megisti Lavra on Mount Athos. From there you have a wonderful view of the sea, the coastline and the city. You also have a very nice view from the small Brook Square, named after the English poet Roopert Brook, who lived and died on the island and is buried at the place called “Tris Boukes”. On this square there is a monument dedicated to “Eternal Poetry” and the two museums of the island, the Archaeological (Tel: 0222-91, 327) with many finds from the excavations on the island, Roman and Byzantine sculptures and a model of a typical Skyrian house and the historical and ethnographic museum with many objects of folk art, such as embroidery, weaving, household items, tools, furnishings, costumes, a library and the representation of a Skyrian house. Worth seeing are also the churches Eleimonitria, Archontopanagia, Agia Triada, Taxiarches, Agios ioannis an other.

In many places outside the city are windmills, but most of them are dilapidated. Below the magnificent rocky Chora are the golden sandy beaches Basales, Papa to Chouma and Petroula (for nudists). Magazia, Molos – a small fishing port, Gyrismata and further afield, on the northeast coast of Agios Petros and Palamari, where traces of a Bronze Age settlement (3rd and 2nd century BC) were found. The airport is located near Trachy, 11 km from the city. Beautiful beaches fringed by pine forests are located on the west coast: Kyra Panagia, Atsitsa, Pevkos. Near the port Linaria lies in a protected bay Acherounes and there opposite the uninhabited islets Skyropoula and Valaxa. Further south you will find the large natural harbor Tris Boukes and in its entrance the small islands Sarakiniko and Platia. At the narrowest point, almost exactly in the middle of the island, to the east are the beaches Aspous and Achili, where there is a marina and to the west, in the midst of fruit and vegetable gardens, Kalamitsa. Skyros is well developed touristy. The island has a good infrastructure so you can easily explore it by car. Island tours are organized with small boats, such as trips to the southern parts of the island, to lonely rocky beaches with enchanting sea caves.

In the mountainous areas there are still living wild Skyrian horses, a pony breed. They are threatened of extinction, but in recent years, attempts have been made to preserve the population.

The traditions and customs are still maintained on Skyros. The Skyrian Carnival is one of the most beautiful and authentic in Greece. Its origins date back to the Kionysos cult. On Carnival Monday, “Kathara Deftera”, the “Trata” dance is danced. You can also experience traditional weddings on Syros, where the old costumes are worn. The ceremony itself will be followed by a festival of folk music and folk dances. At many folk festivals, boiled goat meat is offered in large kettles over a wood fire in the open air. The feast is always followed by music and dance.

Weather in Skyros

Geography and history:

Skyros is the largest of the sporadic islands, the land area is 209 squaremeter and a coastline of 130km. It lies at some distance from the other islands, to the northeast of the group, to the east coast of Central Evia and Paralia Kymis, from where it can be reached by ferries. The island has an elongated shape, its coastline is richly divided by large and small bays. In its middle part, the island is very narrow, giving the impression that it consists of two parts. The northern part is densely overgrown with trees and bushes, while the southern part is mountainous and barren. The highest location is the 814m high Kochylas mountain. Skyros belongs administratively to the district of Evia. Skyros has been inhabited since the Neolithic Age, and according to mythology, it was Orr, where Theseus, King of Athens, died and was sent. It is said that the mythical palace of King Lykomidi stood here, one his daughters, the goddess Thetis hide her son Achilles, disguised as a girl, to prevent him from going to war during the Trojan War. The first inhabitants of Skyros were Karer, Pelasger and Doloper, who lived from piracy. The island was colonized by Minoans, then conquered by Athenians under their leader Kimon (468BC) who in turn used Athenians as his successors. The island was conquered by the Macedonians, and reconquered by the Athenians. During the Byzantine period, it lost its importance because of the constant pirate attacks and became a place of exile. It was then conquered by the Venetians, while looted by the Barbarossa, and finally conquered by the Turks. The island was freed together with the other islands.  

How to get there:

By plane from Athens. Information: Olympic Airways Skyros, Tel .: 0222-91.123 Flight duration: 50 minutes. Regular connections by ferry from Kymi. Distance 22 nautical miles. Information: Port Authority Kymi, Tel .: 0222-22.606, Port Authority Skyros, Tel .: 0222-91.475 Kymi can be reached by buses from KTEL Publictransport, whose terminal is in Athens at Liosion Str. 160. Tel .: Athens 8317163 Kyros has fast boat connections from Agios Konstantinos and Kymi (only during the summer).  With ferries and hydrofoils, Skyros has connections with Rafina, Agios Evstratios, Limnos, Mytilene Chios, Kavala, Thessaloniki, Mykonos, Paros, Tinos, Heraklion / Crete, Skiathos, Alonissos, Skopelos, Marmara, Pefkochori, Poroto Karra. Most of these lines are only operated during the summer.  

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