Symi is a picturesque island that is characterised by its nobility and its history. Gialos is the island’s port and around it, on the slope of the mountain Vigla is amphitheatrically built the capital with the neoclassic houses along the hill painted with vivid colors.
The capital is consisted of two settlements, Gialos and Chora (Ano Symi), which is built on the hill around the castle. The two settlements are connected by “Kali Strata”, a stone road of 500 steps.
Visit Emporeios, the second port of Symi and Pedi. Around the island stand many islets and skerries. The biggest islet is Nymos and then Seskli.
Reach Symis’ beaches by a boat, as Emporeios, No, Aghia Marina, Pedi, Aghios Georgios Dysalonas at Nanos’ bay, but also at Marathounta bay and Panormitis, from which you can reach the islet Seskli.
- At Panormitis bay, the monastery of Archangel Michael of Panormitis with the miraculous icon of Archangel Michael. It is unknown when it was established. Its internal part is covered by impressive Byzantine murals. It held an Ecclesiastic and Folklore museum and a library with books and manuscripts dated back to 16th, 17th and 18th century. Its feast day is November 8.
- At the port, the Clock Tower and the statue of the little fisherman
- The knight’s castle with the walls and the tower, built during Byzantine times on the spot of Symis’ acropolis.
- Panagia Mirtariotissa
- The church of Megali Panagia inside the castle
- The mansions at Kali Strata, the stairs that lead to the village
- The Maritime Museum at Gialos
- The Archaeological and Folklore Museums
- The windmills on its hill
- The monastery-fortress of Metamorphosis Sotiros or Megalos Sotiris with the wooden carved iconostasis
- The monastery of Michael Roukouniotis dated back to 15th century with wonderful woodcuts and murals.
- The chapel of Aghios Emilianos at the homonymous picturesque bay
- The Byzantine Ruins at Emporeios
- Spetsaria, the public pharmacy built in 1884
- At Gialos the old shipyards, where the boats were made
There are many versions about the island’s name. According to one myth, it was named after the nymph Syme with whom Poseidon coupled and gave birth to Xthonius, the leader of the first residents of the island. Another imputed the name to Syme the daughter of King Ialissus, who was taken by Glaukos and brought to that place. Glaukos is considered to be the first inhabitant of the island and formidable shipbuilder. One of the ancient names of the island is Aigli and is imputed to the nymph that gave birth to the three Charites. Other known names are Kariki, Metapontida, Elkousa.
According to Homer Nireus, the king of Symi participated in the Trojan War with his three ships.
The first residents of the islands are considered to be the Ikarians, Pelasgians, Achaeans. During 11th century appear Dorians that establish their dominion in the island. Later Symi became a member of the Athenian League.
At Hellenistic Era, Symi was a great naval force. In 1204 the island, along with its surrounding islands, was incorporated to Byzantine Empire.
From 1209 to 1522 appertained to The Knights of Saint John.
In 1522 was conquered by the Turks but had special privileges and regional government because of its developed naval force and commerce.
Participated vividly in the Greek War of Independence in 1821 and raised the flag of the revolution with the people of Hydra. The London Protocol of 1830 handed over Dodecanese to the Turks who revoked most of their privileges.
In 1912 Italians conquered the island
On October 11, 1944 Italians executed the abbot of Panormitis monastery, Chrysanthos Maroulakis with its affiliates.
On September 24, 1944 the Germans destroyed the church of Megali Panagia inside the castle.
On March 3, 1948 Dodecanese became a part of the Greek state.
Access – Transportation
From Piraeus port and the surrounding islands.
Symi port authority 0030 22460 71205
Piraeus port authority 0030 213 2147600
Area: 58 sq km
Symi municipallity belongs to the administrative district of Rhodes (Dodecanese prefecture – South Aegean Region).