I have written seven books about the history of places I have travelled to.
I travel because my own father always said he would travel after he’d retired, but he never got the chance because he died from cancer when he was 49. I travel for him when I go to places as well as for myself.
If you are interested in history and / or travel then you should check out these books. Please bear in mind the books are travelogues rather than travel guides and so cover only the places I visited.
Here is the one about 9 Greek Islands:
This book keeps it simple and covers nine Greek Islands: Rhodes, Symi, Patmos, Samos, Syros, Paros, Tinos, Delos, and Mykonos. They are all different and all lovely.
Here is a story about Symi:
In Homer’s Iliad Symi is mentioned as the domain of King Nireus, who fought in
the Trojan War on the side of the Greeks and Thucydides writes that during the
Peloponnesian War there was a Battle of Syme near the island in January, 411
BC, in which an unspecified number of Spartan ships defeated a squadron of
Athenian vessels. Little else is known of the island until the 14th century,
but archaeological evidence indicates it was continuously inhabited, and ruins
of citadels suggest it was an important location.
Like many Greek Islands, Symi was first part of the Roman Empire and then the
Byzantine Empire. However, unlike many Greek Islands, Symi was conquered by
the Knights of St. John in 1373. This conquest fuelled by the Knights’
interest in shipping and commerce, launched what was to be a period of several
centuries of prosperity for Symi, as its location made it an important
waypoint for trade until the advent of steam-powered shipping in the 19th
The island was conquered in 1522 by the Ottomans (along with Rhodes) but it
was allowed to retain many of its privileges, so the prosperity continued
virtually uninterrupted. Symi was noted for its sponges which provided much of
its wealth. It attained the height of its prosperity in the mid-19th century,
which is why so many of the mansions covering the slopes of Symi Town date
from that period.
Although Symiots took part in the Greek War of Independence of 1821–1829,
Symi was left out of the new Greek state when its borders were drawn up and so
remained under Ottoman rule. Symi, along with the rest of the Dodecanese,
changed hands several times in the 20th century: in 1912 the Dodecanese
declared independence from the Ottomans as the Federation of the Dodecanese
Islands, though they were almost immediately occupied by Italy. The island was
formally ceded to Italy in 1923, and on 12 October 1943 it was occupied by the
Nazis. At the end of World War II, the surrender of German forces in the
region took place on Symi and the island was subject to several years of
occupation by the British. Symi finally became part of Greece in 1948.
Arriving at Symi Town is the loveliest way to begin any visit to a Greek
Island. The bay has low hills on all sides and on those hills are stacked
differently coloured ochre Italianate mansions, each one a slightly different
shade to its neighbour. The slope of the hills means these mansions appear in
neat rows above one another, leaving the visitor spellbound by the man-made
beauty. Added to this are lines of sail boats, small ferries, and large yachts
bobbing rhythmically on the swell by the quay.
The wealth of Symi has been based on sponge diving and shipbuilding. Indeed
just over a hundred years ago, these two industries meant more people lived in
Symi Town than lived in nearby Rhodes Town. Symi has always been famed for its
shipbuilding and legend has it that Symi provided 3 ships for the Greeks in
the Trojan War. Nowadays tourism is the main earner, with enough expats
staying on the island to allow some businesses to remain open all year round.
Some of the houses built in the last two centuries have fallen into disrepair
and the more you explore, the more ruins you will find.
One thought on “Islands of Greece”
What a lovely way to to remember someone close to you. That’s so sweet