Photo by discovergreece.com
The island of Skyros is located east of Evia. The word Skyros means rubble of stone and as many historians believe, Skyros got its name from “Skyria stone”, the famous Skyros colored marble, with which the Romans decorated their mansions.
The island has dense vegetation in the Northeast, while the southeastern part of the island is rocky. «Hora» is the largest settlement on the island.
According to Greek mythology, Neoptolemus, son of Achilles, was from Skyros, as Sophocles mentions in his tragedy “Philoctetes”, Theseus died in Skyros.
Skyros was conquered by the Macedonians, the Romans, the Athenians. In 1538, Jaredin Barbarossa occupied the island and became part of the Ottoman Empire. The inhabitants were forced to take refuge in the famous castle of the island, because they were beset by pirates.
The island offered financial and naval assistance to the Greek revolution of 1821 and later joined the newly formed Greek state.
Skyros Town, Kalogria bay and neighboring pine forest, are landscapes of unique beauty on the island. The mountain “Kochilas” has a special natural wealth and for this reason belongs to the European network of areas “Natura 2000” and hosts various rare species of birds.
The castle of the island, which was the ancient Acropolis and the residence of King Lykomidis, became in 1537 a refuge for the inhabitants to protect themselves from pirates. Next to the castle is the monastery of Ag. Georgios, who is also the protector of the island and one of the most important monasteries in Greece. The monastery was founded in 960 AD. century by the emperor Nikiforos Phokas and was renovated in the 16th century.
In the museum “Faltaic”, one can get acquainted with the traditional objects that characterized the daily life of the inhabitants. In the archeological museum, the archeological findings reveal the great history of Skyros.
In Skyros you can admire the Skyrian ponies, whose species is considered as one of the rarest in the world. Today in Greece there are a total of 260 ponies, 187 of them, live in Skyros.
The cobbled streets of Skyros with the whitewashed houses adorned with purple bougainvilleas, capture a genuine image of the Greek summer and the view of the sunset from Brooks Square, is unique.
On the island there are many beaches for swimming. “Magazia” beach is the most popular with fine sand. The quiet beach “Pefkos” has fine pebbles and “Kyra Panagia”, “Pateritsa” and “Theotokos” are the most deserted.
It is worth visiting Skyros during the carnival period and to get to know the customs of the area and to participate in the festive events of the island.
If you want to combine summer vacations with environmental activities, you can participate in the Environmental program “Skyros Project” in the port of Linaria. By completing the program you will acquire skills that promote a responsible environmental behavior.
The wood carving art and the traditional handicrafts of Skyros with their unique style are famous all over Greece. So do not miss the opportunity to get to know the traditional arts of the island.
Skyros is part of the top 100 green destinations of “Green Destination” program, that supports destinations around the world in order to improve the place and way of life, according to the criteria and goals recognized by the United Nations. For this reason, the Municipality of Skyros utilizes the natural wealth of the island in combination with the cultural tradition and intends:
• To utilize the renewable energy sources,in the island.
• To upgrade Skyros high school with renewable energy sources, solar systems, water saving systems and to operate the first bioclimatic gym.
• Skyros High School to be the first green school
• To gradually transform the island of Skyros into an area of sustainable development and is based on the utilization of cultural heritage in combination with natural wealth.
Finally, you can participate in the Skyros Project, which takes place every summer on the island. The Skyros Port Fund cooperates with the Special Academic Unit of Environmental Education, Training and Communication of the University of West Attica in the environmental program. You can participate in the activities of the Academy of Environmental Educators and be trained in the field of Environmental Awareness.
A white chapel in Skyros Island. Photo by web-greece.gr
Skyrian Horses. Photo by web-greece.gr
Skyros Hora. Photo by visitgreece.gr
Skyros – Carnival. Photo by ellinismosonline.com