SKYROS



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Skyros - history

History

Achilles sojourned on the island: disguised as a girl, he was sent by his mother Thetis to the court of Lycomedes, king of Skyros, to prevent his going to the Trojan War. Her precaution was in vain: by a subtle ploy, Odysseus uncovered the disguise and lured the hero to Troy, where he was eventually killed before the city fell. Neoptolemos, or Pyrrhos (‘red-head’), son of Achilles and Deidameia, daughter of Lycomedes, grew up in Skyros, and was also taken to the Trojan War by Odysseus after his father’s death (So phocles, Philoctetes, 239). It was in Skyros that Lycomedes treacherously killed Theseus, king of Athens, who had sought asylum with him, by pushing him ‘over a high cliff ’ (Plutarch, Theseus, 35).
   There are important Neolithic and Bronze Age sites on Skyros, with clear trading links to the Northern Aegean and the Troad. The most important and best understood is Palamari, which was a flourishing centre in the late 3rd millennium bc. Apart from a (probably fortuitous) lacuna of evidence for settlement between 1650 and 1300 bc—the time of the heroes, Theseus and Achilles—there appears to have been significant habitation uninterruptedly through to the Geometric period, and into Archaic and Classical times. In 476/5 bc Cimon of Athens came to Skyros, conquered the island, enslaved the inhabitants and planted Athenian settlers (Thucydides I, 98). An augury led him to where the bones of Theseus were buried; he had them disinterred, transported them to Athens and there buried them in state in a Heroon near to the Acropolis—thought by some to be what we call the Theseion today. Skyros thereafter remained an Athenian clerurchy, with only brief interruptions—when it was ceded to Sparta between 404 and 394 bc, at the end of the Peloponnesian War, and again when it was held by the Macedonians between 322 and 197 bc. It was captured by the Roman fleet in 197 bc, but was only finally taken for Rome by Sulla in 86 bc.
   Invading Goths pillaged the island in 276 ad, and the Saracen Arabs during the 9th century. In the 4th century, Skyros was promoted to a bishopric; in 895 the Episkopi church was built, and in 960 the church of St George founded on the Kastro. After the Fourth Crusade of 1204, Skyros came under Frankish domination, but was returned to Greek Byzantine control in 1276. Less than a century later, in 1354, it was taken by Giovanni Sanudo V, Duke of Naxos , and a systematic repair of the citadel’s walls was undertaken by the new overlords. After the capture of Constantinople it was ceded in 1453 by Sultan Me hmet II to the Venetians, who held it for 85 years. In 1538, the Turkish admiral, Khaireddin Barbarossa, captured the island and returned it to a subsequent three centuries of Turkish dominance, with only a brief interlude between 1770 and 1774 during the Russo-Turkish War, when the island was temporarily occupied by Russian forces. Skyros participated in the Greek Independence uprising in 1821 and became part of the new Greek State, together with the other Sporades islands, in 1830.


Skyros Island is part of the Sporades Island Group, Greece.


access

Skyros Island, the Sporades.

By boat: Access to the island is from the Euboean port of Kymi by daily car-ferry services (Skyros Line, T. 22220 22020 (Kymi) & T. 91789/91790 (Skyros)), leaving Kymi in the late after noon and returning in the early morning (2 hrs). Less frequent (generally twice weekly) services also operate between Skyros and the other Northern Sporades Islands, and Aghios Kostantinos on the mainland. All boats dock at the port of Linariá on the west coast, 9km from Skyros Chora. By air: Olympic Air currently operates a 35 minute, non stop flight to and from Ath ens, twice weekly on Wednes day and Saturday afternoons. The Airport is 10km north of Chora.

Skyros Travel Guide

eating

Skyros Island, the Sporades.

In the upper part of the main street of Chora, just as it begins to climb steeply, the Mezedopoleion "O Pappous" has excellent local specialties (hot and cold), as well as a variety of Skyrian cheeses. It is popular and always full of locals and visitors alike. In Gyrismata Bay, Stelios fish taverna has good quality, fresh seafood.

Skyros Travel Guide

lodging

Skyros Island, the Sporades.

The building of the former Xenia Hotel on the water front at Magaziá—the peaceful area just below and north of the Kastro—has re-opened as the luxurious Hydroussa Skyros Hotel (T. 22220 91209 & 92063–5, fax 92062, www.hydroussahotel.gr/ skyros), providing the island’s most comfortable accommodations. Also in Magaziá, simple rooms and kindly hospitality can be found at the Hotel Deidameia (T. 22220 92008; fax. 92009); and on the coast road, right under the Kastro is the panoramic Hotel Paliopirgos (T. 22220 91014 & 92185). Both are inexpen sive alternatives.

Skyros Travel Guide

museums

Skyros Island, the Sporades.

Manos Faltaits Museum

Skyros Travel Guide

practical info

Skyros Island, the Sporades.

340 07 Skyros: area 208sq. km; perimeter 134 km; resident population 2711; max. altitude 792 m. Port Authority: T. 22220 93475. Tourist information: www.inskyros.gr

Skyros Travel Guide

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