Symi is a
member of the Dodecanese group of
islands and lies 24 nautical miles to
the north east of Rhodes and 255
miles from Piraeus. Its area is 67
square kilometres (26 square miles),
with many bays and headlands. Since
the island is mountainous and arid,
the majority of its inhabitants used
to be employed in the sponge
industry, shipping, fishing,
shepherding and very small scale
farming. Nowadays the majority are
engaged in tourism, commerce and
crafts, such as carpentry and boat -
building. Its climate is dry,
temperate and healthy, creating
suitable conditions for ideal
The history of the island begins in
ancient and mythological times. Its
ancient names were Aigli, Metapontis
and Cariki. It is postulated that its
first inhabitants were the Carians
and the Leleges. Symi is mentioned in
The Iliad: King Nireus took part in
the Trojan war with three ships.
Herodotus refers to her as being a
member of the Dorian Hexapolis (6
cities). From 480 B.C. Symi belonged
to the Athenian League. In the Roman
and Byzantine epochs her fortune was
closely linked to that of Rhodes.
From 1309 the island entered upon a
prosperous period with the
development of shipping, commerce,
the sponge trade, boat-building and
other crafts. This period also saw
the beginning of an increase in urban
growth, the beauty of which remains
intact to this day. The houses began
to spread out from the castle area,
and at the same time people started
to abandon many of their traditional
settlements. The majority of the
churches were also built during this
time. Turkish attacks were repulsed
in 1457 and 1485. In 1522, realizing
that further resistance was in vain,
and attempting to preserve as much as
they could, the people offered gifts
to the sultan and in return were
granted many special privileges. Thus
they achieved freedom of religious
expression and the use of their own
language, with the resulting advances
in education and crafts. In addition
to these privileges, they won sponge
fishing rights throughout all the
seas of the Ottoman Empire. They
supported the national war of
independence and contributed funds to
the Greek fleet over a number of
years; not to mention financial
assistance to Laskarina Bouboulina,
Admiral Miaoulis, Themelis and
In 1832 Symi unwillingly returned to
Turkish control, and people reacted
most strongly to this. In 1869 there
was an attempt to abrogate the
special privileges, while in 1875 and
1885 there were population censuses.
In 1908 Symi won her second battle to
preserve her privileges, resulting in
a victory for the other islands as
well. In 1912 Turkish dominion gave
way to Italian control, which lasted
until September 17th, 1943. From that
date the island changed hands several
times between the British and the
Germans, the British taking Symi for
the third time on September 25th
1944, on which day the castle and the
surrounding quarter of town were
blown up. On May 8th,1945 the German
surrender of the Dodecanese was
signed on Symi. On April lst,1947 a
British Military Administration
handed over to a Greek one, and on
March 7th, 1948 the Dodecanese were
incorporated into the Greek state.
(variable date and not always the
same as our Easter) at Panormitis and
the main churches of town.
Aghios Ioannis Stafilla (St. John of
the Grapes) near Pedi.
(variable, as Easter) at Panormitis.
Triadas (The Holy Trinity) in Chorio
(variable, as Easter).
Aghia Marina (St. Marina) on the
Prophitis Elias (The Prophet Elijah).
Sotiris at Nimborio and Megalos (Big)
Panaghia Alithini (The Virgin Mary of
Truth) on the Pedi road and Panaghia
Myrtariotissa (The Virgin Mary of the
Panaghia Alithini and Panaghia
Archangels Michael Panormitis and
Sites of Special
. Symi town
castle (Castro) in Chorio (the upper
. Temple of
Poseidon at Panormitis, now the
Monastery of the Archangel Michael.
Monastery of the Archangel Michael
. The Church
of the Prophet Elijah.
. The island
Castle, near the windmills in Chorio.
. The island
of Seskli (ancient Tevtlousai).
(The TwelveCaves) and Roman mosaic at
Archaeological and folk museum in the
upper part of Chorio.
museum in Gialos (the harbour area).
. The old
pharmacy in Chorio.
. Pedi Bay.
Byzantine style wine presses ( l0th
to l7th centuries) and Pelasgic ruins
and sacrificial stones (c. 1500
B.C..) at various sites.
AREA CODE :
of Symi: 71302
Surgery in Gialos: 71290
Surgery in Chorio: 71316
morning except Saturday, Sunday and
Office (O.T.E.): 71212 As Post Office
Board (D.E.H.): 71338
Every morning except Sunday from
A town hall employee is available to
assist with mooring, the supply of
water and other services . Yachts in
transit may obtain fuel tax-free from
the fueling station at the far
southern end of the harbour.>
repair services for yachts:
72012,72013. If you have a yacht
problem and need assistance please
call or fax: 71857
every day from 08.00-11.00 and from
18.00-19.00. Sunday only in the
Museum: Every day except Monday from
and Folk Museum: Every day from
10.30-15.30 except Monday
Bank of Greece-Master Card: As Post
Alpha Bank -
VISA: As Post Office Exchange
Offices: Every day
Daily gymnastic, aerobic and keep-fit
classes at the Actaeon.
- Chorio , Symi - Pedi
Gialos-Chorio-Pedi, every hour
people provide guided walks across
the island, often including extensive
stretches of woodland and panoramic
views, not to mention many historic
chapels and other sites. For the
reasonably fit it is the best way of
seeing and learning about the
interior. Walks usually go to one of
the many bays, with the return by
boat; some also link on with a truck.
Decent footwear and a supply of water
are essential: camera, binoculars and
other items as you please.
Information and prices from tourist
agencies and some boats.