AEGEAN ISLANDS

Guide of AEGEAN ISLANDS

The Aegean islands are situated just off the Turkish coast. Because of their proximity to Asia, they played an important role in Greek history. Each island is unique, some islands are lush and green, while others are semi-arid, some have sandy beaches and others have rocks and pebbles. Some of the islands are a lot more developed in terms of tourism and receive many visitors, whereas others offer a more authentic and traditional experience of island life. 

History

The Aegean islands have been inhabited since ancient times and the Mitilini and Samos populations inhabited the islands during the III millennium BC. The islands were also under the control of the Persians during the Ionian Revolution and for part of the Athenian League they were allied with Athens and others with Sparta. Finally, the Aegean Islands were conquered by the Byzantines and lived under the hegemony of the Turks. The islands have always been a melting pot of cultures and traditions due to the various civilisations that have passed through and this is reflected in culture, art and architecture.

Places to visit

The archipelago is home to two UNESCO World Heritage sites, firstly the Byzantine monastery Nea Moni on the island of Chios. This monastery dates back to the 11th century and was built at the request of Emperor Constantine IX Monomaco and his wife Zoe. The story goes that, the monastery was built on this particular site because three monks found an icon of the Madonna hanging from a branch of myrtle there. The monastery is famous for its beautiful decorative mosaics. These mosaics depict religious stories from the Byzantine era. Another unmissable place is the temple of Hera on the island of Samos. This fascinating place has attracted not only the Greeks but people from everywhere, and the temple it is dedicated to the Greek goddess, Hera.

Beaches

The Aegean islands have wonderful views and breathtaking beaches, most of them are wild and surrounded by nature. There are long stretches of sand lapped by the crystal waters of the Aegean. Thassos is home to some wonderful beaches, with the nearby village extending up the hill from the water.  Lesvos Skala Eressos has other great beaches with clean water and calm sea, as well as some rocky beaches for the more adventurous, making this area is perfect for all tastes.