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You are in:  Top  →  Europe  →  GREECE  →  Dodecanese  →  SIMI

SIMI

Symi in the Dodecanesian Archipelago of Greece is a rocky island, except for its southern part which is covered with pines, mulberries and fruit-bearing trees.

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Symi

We first meet the island as we enter the picturesque natural port of Aigialos. It is enchanting to walk through the narrow lanes of this town, which is about 15 minutes walking distance from Ano Symi, capital of the island. As we walk we shall encounter the church of Virgin Mary, the main church on the island. Ano Symi is built on a hill. Here it's rewarding to visit a collection of antiquities housed in a neoclassical building. Then we shall walk down to the bay of Pedio to swim. We'll use a motor - boat to reach Naou, Marathounta and Emporeio with its marvellous little bays and long tradition.

Near Emporeio there was once the ancient city of Metapontis. To the south of Ano Symi lies the monastery of Archangel Michael, one of the places of greatest interest on the island. It is built on a site combining mountain and sea. The monastery has brilliant Byzantine frescoes and an engraved temple full of golden offerings. The people of Symi mainly fish and collect sponges. Seskli and Nimos are barren nearby islands ideal for fishing.

Symi (or Simi) was reputed to be the birthplace of The Three Graces.

In antiquity it bore the names Aigli and Metapontis. It took its present name from the nymph Syme, who was Poseidon's wife.

After its conquest by the Knights of St. John in 1373, commerce and shipping flourished until steam replaced sail. The stately mansions in the main town date from this period, which reached its peak in the 19th century.

The capital in the north of the island bears the same name and is divided into the upper and lower town, Ano Symi and Kato Poli. The lower town is also called Yialos. The two districts are linked by a lane so steep it has steps. It is flanked by charming neoclassical houses, some of them painted in warm pastel colours, with balconies and peaked, red tile roofs. Many of them also are embellished with neoclassical features on the doors and windows. Their interiors are decorated with wood carvings, the locals having been adept at the craft for generations.

The highest point in Ano Symi is capped by the usual castle of the Knights of St. John, whose emblem can be seen above the main portal.

The traditional village of Emborios is Symi's second port. The ancient town of Metapontis was situated close by.

One of the island's most famous landmarks is the monastery of the Archangel Michael Panormitis on the southwest coast. Built in the early 18th century, it overlooks the bay bearing its name in a setting combining mountain and sea. It contains marvelous Byzantine frescoes and an intricately carved iconostasis.

There is no lack of wonderful beaches on Symi. You'll find good swimming at Yialos, Pedio, Emborios, Marathounda, Nanou as well as on the nearby islets of Agia Marina and Nimos.

We can reach Symi by boat on the route servicing the rest of the Dodecanese, or by using the daily boat service from Rhodos. Symi is also connected by boat with Amorgos, and Crete.



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