A dot on the Greek map, one of the most picturesque and beautiful islands of the Dodecanese with untouched beauty and special architecture, will leave you with the most beautiful impressions.
Between Rhodes and the coast of Turkey, is the Symi, a small island, but it is famous all over the world for its traditional architecture, but also for its beautiful and picturesque landscapes.
Neoclassical houses painted in bright, warm colors, perched on the rocky steep mountains of the island, reflect the glorious past of Symi, with a tradition of sponge fishing, shipbuilding and wood carving.
There are several versions of the origin of the name Symi. According to Diodorus, Sikeliotis took its name from the nymph Symi, who had a son with Poseidon, Chthonios, who became the leader of the inhabitants of the island. However, the prevailing opinion of Thessaloniki's Efstathios is that Symi was the name of Glafkos' wife, the first inhabitant of the island. According to the legend, Glafkos was an excellent swimmer, shipbuilder and fisherman and was the one who built the “Argo”, the ship of the Argonaut campaign.
The island was also known by other names: Kariki, Metapontis, Aigli and Elkousa.
Symi is also mentioned by Homer in the Iliad, as her king, Nereus, also took part in the Trojan War with 3 ships, and was considered the most beautiful man in the campaign. Kares, Leleges and Finikes passed through the island, while in the 11th century it was inhabited by the Dorians. He took part in the Doric Amphitryon, the Doric Expo. During the Byzantine period, the island belonged to the Kivirraiotes based in Kivyrra of Pamphylia and was known for its capable sailors and shipbuilders.
In 1309 Symi passed into the possession of the Knights of St. John and managed to withstand the attacks of the Turks until 1522. The inhabitants of Symi secured significant privileges for their island from Suleiman the Magnificent. The Symians took part in the Revolution of 1821, but the island, like the rest of the Dodecanese, remained outside the territory of the Greek state. In 1912 Symi was occupied by the Italians. At the same time, the replacement of sailboats by steamships and the decline of sponge fishing hit the island's economy. Many residents were forced to emigrate, while World War II dealt another blow and was followed by a new wave of immigration. During the war, explosions and bombings destroyed many of Symi's mansions, which until recently remained sad ruins, which the locals call “Halata”.
The city of Symi extends to the northern part of the island and consists of two settlements equally beautiful and charming. Ano Symi (Village) that stretches to the top of the hill and Gialos, the safe harbor of the island. Both have been designated as protected settlements.
Take a tour of the harbor, the shelter of fishing boats, sailing boats, speedboats and impressive cruise ships. Admire the imposing Municipal Clock of 1881 and the statue of the famous Symian sculptor K. Valsamis “Michalakis” – the little fisherman with the cane in his hand.
Drink your coffee in one of the traditional cafes on the waterfront, while in the two main squares, Kambos in old Tarsana and Skala, you will find most shops.
Visit the Maritime Museum, located in Kampos Square. Through his exhibits, you will travel to the depths of history and myth and get to know the life of the Sicilian fisherman, sailor and merchant. Take a closer look at the naval tools and accessories of traditional sponge fishing, such as the bell-ring and the scuba diving, which brought a rift between the old way of sponging and the new one.
The most popular beach of the island is Nos, the closest to the settlement of Symi and Pedi, accessible on foot, by taxi or bus. Swim in Nanou, one of the most beautiful beaches of Symi, with the big pebbles, the all-white church and the big trees, which offer you their shade.
Marathounta beach, a narrow bay with crystal clear blue-green waters will enchant you. Sunbeds and umbrellas are available, while in the picturesque tavern you can enjoy your ouzo. On the beach of Agios Georgios Dysalonas, from the homonymous church that dominates a steep rock, you will find the best sandy beach of the island. The ubiquitous climbers, note that you can climb a vertical rock 350 m. With a wonderful view!
In Nimborio, (15 'walk from the port of Symi) you can find a large pebble beach, while in Agios Nikolaos, a sandy beach with trees is accessible on foot from Pedi or by boat.
Panormitis Bay, a small and windless bay is ideal for swimming combined with an excursion to the homonymous Monastery. Maroni beach, a very picturesque beach west of Symi. At this point the land narrows creating an island on which there is a small church. The beach is very special as the fir trees reach the sea and the color of the water is very green.
Visit Agios Ioannis, the Diocese of the island, with the magnificent pebbled courtyard and the stone bell tower.
Watch a short trip to Symi by Robert Polasek
(embed) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UG1uRuKj_r0 (/ embed)