AMORGOS



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Amorgos- history

History

Settlement began on Amorgos in the late 5th millennium bc at the hill-top of Minoa where obsidian from Milos and Late Neolithic clay vessels have been found. The 3rd millennium bc marks the island’s first apogee, when it was an important centre of the Cycladic culture which flourished contemporaneously on Naxos and in the islands of the protected waters in between. Amorgos, with almost a dozen separate inhabited centres in this period, is the origin of many famous Cycladic figurines and of the idiosyncratic ‘Dokathismata style’. Cemeteries at Aghia Paraskevi, Aghios Pavlos, Dokathismata, Kapros, Kapsala, Nikouria and Stavros have all yielded Cycladic sculpture. From the 2nd millennium bc, apart from evidence of a Mycenaean presence in the bay of Katapola, the island’s history be comes less clear. During the 10th century bc Ionian settlers arrived, and the three cities of historic times emerged— Aegiale, Minoa and Arkesine: first, Arkesine colonised by Naxos , then Minoa by Samos , and Aegiale by Miletus. The mid-7th century bc poet, Semonides, was allegedly amongst the colonisers from Samos .
   The island appears in the Athenian tribute lists from 433 bc paying one talent (compared with Kea’s four talents, and Paros’s 18 talents). It participated in the Second Athenian League in 357 bc. The fine Hellenistic towers and constructions on the island were put up during the uncertain times when the island was first a possession of Macedonia, then of the Ptolemies, and finally of the Rhodian State from the end of the 3rd century bc. After 133 bc, the three cities were assumed into the Roman Province of Asia. Amorgos was often a place of exile in the Roman period, though clearly not one of the most punitive: Tacitus records that Tiberius commuted the proposed confinement of the hapless Vibius Serenus on the barren island of Gyaros , into exile on Amorgos, for humanitarian reasons (Annals IV, 29).
   There is evidence of scattered Early Christian communities, especially in the bay of Katapola; but the increasing frequency of pirate raids from the sea, pushed habitation into the central uplands of the island, and the site of Chora began to be enlarged and settled in the 9th century. The arrival of refugee monks with the icon from Khoziba in Palestine in this period, followed by the subsequent founding of the Chozoviotissa Monastery allegedly in 1088, was of considerable importance for the history of the island. Amorgos was taken by Geremia and Andrea Ghisi, on behalf of the Duchy of Naxos of Marco Sanudo, in 1207. As was common with the less central Cycladic islands, it subsequently changed hands many times; first ruled by the Ghisi family; regained between 1269 and 1296 by the Nicaean Emperor, John Vatatzes, and used principally as a place of exile; formally re-assigned to Venice by treaty in 1303 and governed by the Barozzi family; it was finally sold piecemeal in several stages to Giovanni Querini, Lord of Astypalaia, who possessed the island until its seizure by the Ottoman Admiral, Khaireddin Barbarossa in 1537. From 1540 it became formally a Turkish possession. A Turkish governor was installed at first, but by the 18th century the island was self-governing, paying tax to the Ottoman authorities for liberty of commerce and faith. The island was always a prey to piracy, culminating in one particularly fierce attack in 1797 by pirates from the Mani. In 1835 the island became part of the new Kingdom of Greece. In the same year a devastating fire spread from Aigiali and burned the oak forests of Mount Kroukelos, radically altering the landscape and ecology of the northern end of the island.


Amorgos Island is part of the Cyclades Island Group, Greece.


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access

Amorgos Island, Greece.

Amorgos lies at the terminus of a ferry-route; it is a mini mum 7–8 hr journey (often longer) between Piraeus and the island, with several stops en route—always include either Naxos or Paros.
Blue Star Ferries operates the service daily in the summer and five days a week in winter, alternating between the island's two ports: Katápola, the principal destination, in the centre, and Aigiáli ("Egiáli", "Yáli") 20km further north.
It is important for any itinerary to establish which of the two is the port of arrival/departure.
Blue Star also connects Aigiáli (only) with Astypalaia three times weekly.
The F/B Express Skopelitis, based in Katápola, plies through the Lesser Cyclades to Naxos and returns daily in summer, always stopping at Koufonisi, Schoinousa and Herakleia en route, also including Aigiáli and Donousa three times weekly.
The service runs from April–end Oct, weather permitting. The Blue Star services maintain connections with these smaller islands 2–3 times a week in winter.

Amorgos Travel Guide

beaches

Amorgos Island, Greece.

Some of the many beautiful beaches in Amorgos are found:
around AEGIALI
Aegiali beach
Agios Pavlos Beach
Levrossos beach
Mikri Glifada beach
Nikouria beach
Psili ammos beach
Xalara beach

around CHORA
Agia Anna beach, famous for its blue crystal clear waters. In this location, scenes of the movie "Le grand blue" (The big blue, 1988) were filmed.

around KATAPOLA
Maltezi beach

around KATO MERIA
Ammoudi beach
Kalotaritissa beach
Mouros beach
Paradisia beach

Amorgos Travel Guide

eating

Amorgos Island, Greece.

Some of the best food is to be found in the island's small rural villages:
the taverna Giorgalinis in Vroútsi and Marouso in Arkesíni (Chorió), in the west; or Sandouraki in Tholaria at the north end of the island. Katina's To Limani at Aigiáli serves some of the best seasonal and traditional Greek fare on the island, and is popular with local families, especially on Sundays.
More rarified, but offering some interesting mezes, is To Chima in the heart of Chora.

Amorgos Travel Guide

further reading

Amorgos Island, Greece.

Lila Marangou, The Monastery of the Panaghia Khozoviotissa, Athens 2005. The author is indebted to the writings of Prof. Lila Marangou on archaeological matters which constitute the most complete and authoritative account of the island’s monuments.

Amorgos Travel Guide

lodging

Amorgos Island, Greece.

Two small, comfortable hotels provide welcoming and attractive solutions in the medium price-range:
the ‘Emprostiada’ Traditional Guest House (in a new build, but of traditional design) in the heart of Chora (T. 22850 71013, fax 71814, www.amorgos-studios.amorgos.net );
and the more conventional Hotel Vigla (T. 22850 73288, fax 73332, www.vigla-hotel. amorgos.net) in the hill-town of Tholaria, above Aigiáli.
Offering simpler facilities, are: the Pension Amorgos on the harbour-front of Katapola (same management and numbers as Emprostiada above); in the village of Langáda, Artemis Rooms (T. 22850 73226, www.amorgos studios.amorgos.net; open all year); the same owners also rent rooms on the beach near Aigiáli.
Highly recommended for visits to Amorgos based around walking, riding, historic sightseeing, botanising and bird-watching, are - Special Interest Holidays who offer an excellent range of civilised activities and places to stay (T. 693 982 0828, www.special-interest-holidays.com).

Amorgos Travel Guide

museums

Amorgos Island, Greece.


The Archaeological Museum
Monastery of Hozoviotissa
Agioi Anargiroi

Amorgos Travel Guide

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