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Last Updated on 13 November 2012

Psara

In the Aegean Sea, 48 nautical miles northwest of Chios, there is an island cluster that encompasses seven islets, the largest of which is called Psara. The smaller islands include Antipsara, uninhabited today, Kato Nisi, Aye Nikolaki, Daskalio, Prasonisi and Nisopoula. Altogether, they make a suitable place to enjoy peace, tranquility, rest and relaxation, since there are even no cars, and the villagers are extremely kind to visitors.

Psara has a rocky terrain filled with hills and mountains, the highest of which is Prophitis Ilias, of 640 meters of height. In its 39 square kilometers area, there is only a small village and its harbor, and due to the rocky terrain, most of its 500 inhabitants work with maritime activities. The tourist industry, by the way, is not so developed.

During the Middle Age the island was uninhabited. Some Greek families from Thessaly and other islands had settled down in Psara during the 15th and 16th centuries to avoid the Turkish raids. Later, Psara became the third force in the commercial navy, after Hydra and Spetses islands.

During the revolution of 1821 against the Turkish Empire, the people of Psara participated with their fleet and destroyed, by burning, many Turkish naval units under the command of  brave captains such as Papanikolis, Kanaris and Pipinos Psara suffered the revenge and rage of the Turks who destroyed completely the island, slaughtering or capturing the whole population, despite their heroic resistance, on the 24 June 1824.

The few inhabitants who managed to escape in some ships found shelter in Monemvassia (Peloponese) and, after the liberation of Greece, they came to Eretria (Evoia) where they built the "New Psara". Many of its inhabitants returned later to Psara to live permanently up to now.

In the first 100 years after the liberation of Greece, Psara had the privilege to have two members of Parliament in acknowledgement of its offer to the ideal of freedom and democracy. Since 1946, this privilege does not exist any more; however, to honor Psara, the town is a Municipality despite its size.

Some of the most interesting things that can be visited in these islands are the Archaeological Museum, the church of Aghios Nikolaos (from where Constantine Kanaris started his attack on the Turkish flagship) and the views from it, and the monastery of the assumption of the Virgin Mary and its rare library. Of course, the Greek cuisine should also here be in any proper schedule, specially the great typical lobster, honey or local cheese.

Tourism Information

Useful telephone numbers:

Local code: 02720
Police: 02720  61222
Community: 02720  61249
General Telecommunications: 02720  61266

Rooms: there are three rooms in the monastery for guests, both for men and women.
Sports: whether you are after sea-sports or after fishing, here you will find your kind of place!
Beaches: you will love the beach near the harbor and the ones in Kato Gialos, Katsouna, Lazoreto, Limnos and Olisso Chiou.
Events: 20th June is the anniversary of 1824’s massacre.

What to see: Some of the places you cannot miss if you visit Psara are the monastery and the Castle. The monastery was built between the mountain of the prophet Elias and the seacoast, and today is guarded by some nuns. It also has a library with some books that were brought to the island by some monks from the holy mountain and from the island of Skiathos between 1770 and 1840. On the other hand, the old Castle, Paleocastron, dates from the 15th century and it is located at the end of the peninsula. Apart from these, the Archaeological Museum is also a very interesting stop because of the items of the ancient city that it exhibits.

Listen to our broadcasting about the island of Psara!