The islands of Psara and Antipsara in Greece
Psara and Antipsara are two small islands in the eastern Aegean Sea located just west of the larger island of Chios. Psara has an area of 45 km2 and is the largest of the two. There are approximately 460 people living on Psara. It is a dry and desolate island with few trees, and not being serviced by many ferries. Most inhabitants live from fishing. The highest point of the island is the Profitis Ilias mountain which is 512 meters high. In the area there are another 5 much smaller islands, which are named Kato Nisi, Aye Nikolaki, Daskalio, Prasonisi and Nisopoula.
In the early 19th century, the island of Psara is important because there was a large merchant fleet. It also played a major role in the independence struggle of Greece against Turkey. The most famous revolutionary who was born here was the admiral Kanaris. Because the island is not far from the Turkish coast it got punished by the Turks in 1824 because of the rebellious behavior of the islanders, and almost all residents of Psara were slaughtered to set an example. At that time there were about 20,000 people because the population had increased by all refugees who had come to the island. A large proportion of the population had locked themselves up in the fort and the Greek commander let the powder magazine in the fort blow up when the Turks had surrounded it. This killed almost all the people that had fled to the fort and also many Turks. About 3000 people managed to escape by boat and settled after their escape on the island of Evia. There they founded the town of Nea (New) Psara.
Nearly all the islanders live in the south in the village with the same name as the island: Psara. There are not many antiquities and special things visible because the Turks in their retaliation have ensured that everything was destroyed. The old fort on the hill above the village for example is completely demolished. The island also doesn't receive many tourists and therefore the facilities are limited. In the square on the harbor is a kafenion and there is a memorial with a mini cannon. There aren't many shops on the island of Psara. There is a supermarket, a bakery and there are a few taverns. In the Archaeological Museum of the village you can see pottery and amphorae that were found on the island. It is believed that the village of Psara was built on an ancient city. In the village are two small beaches. On a hill stands the Agios Nikolaos church whose construction started in 1785 and was finished in 1793.
There are not many attractions on Psara. On the spot where the old fort stood are now a few windmills. To the north of the island is the Koimiseos Theotokou monastery dating from the 18th century. On Psara are some quiet, empty sandy beaches to be found but you have to go hiking. The best lie northwest of the village of Psara.
Southwest of Psara about 3 kilometers away is the much smaller island Antipsara where only 4 people live (2011). The island is inaccessible from the north and west. In Greek and Roman times the island was inhabited. During the Turkish domination Antipsara was a naval base. Antipsara you can visit by a fishing boat from Psara. The island is part of a protected nature reserve. In Antipsara life some rare seabirds that nest here. In the east of the island stands the church of Agios Ioannis.
• Kato Yalos hotel (5 rooms) in Psara
Tel: Tel: 0030 2274 061178 - Send an e-mail to the Kato Yalos Hotel on Psara.