Skyros was inhabited during the Neolithic period (5400-2800 BC) as evidence shows by findings that have been discovered in many areas.
At Early Bronze Age (2500-1900b.c)the island was inhabited by Pelasgians.
The Cretan period follows at (1650-1100 BC). Skyros subservient to these rulers of the Aegean islands and progressed much. Cretans spread the cultivation of vines and olives and broadcast to residents the Minoan culture, religion and the economy system. Next rulers are Dolopes, a group of Achaeans from Fthia. The Chalcis and the Athenians subjugate and colonize the island carrying the inhabitants thei culture and habits next.
The Dolopes after the war of Lilantio reemerge as masters of the island until 475b.c. where the island passed into the hands of the Athenians, who installed Athenians who practiced a kind of military occupation. Next come the Macedonians, the Romans follow who succeeded Byzantium period during which the Christian religion prevails on the island.
After the Byzantine Empire, the island became a possession of the Franks and Venetians and then the Ottomans. In the revolution of 1821 Skyros offers great financial assistance and several sailors in the Greek fleet as care to several refugees from various regions of Greece.
Equally important is the presence of Skyros, according to mythology. Theseus after returning from Hades and disappointed by the loss of the throne by Menestheus went to Skyros from which came his grandfather (Skyrios) and his father (goat). The then king Lycomedes of Skyros considered that a threat to his throne in the presence of Theseus and exterminated him.
Then Lycomedes who was brother of Thetis who was the mother of Achilles ,she hid in the palace Achilles as Thetis knew that if her son went to Troy would be killed. Of course the resourceful Odysseus managed to discover him.
But before Achilles leaves for his last journey he had acquired a son with Deidamia, daughter of Lycomedes - Pyrrhus, who was also named Neoptolemus (young at war) since after the death of his father and he fought too at Troy in very young age.
Over time Skyros acquired many names as Pelasgia, Dolopia Anemoessa Perirrytos (bordering around - around the sea), Aigivotos (he who is fed with goats), and many other names that are lost through the centuries and finally Skyros because of the rocky soil mainly in the southern part of the island. All these ancient origins is evident that have influenced the manners and customs even today the island.
Today , locals find harmony living their own traditional life . The Alternative cafes with a strong smell of coffee and the sounds of the dice still prevails . The commitment of Skyrian to the tradition is impressive , lively festivals , customs, the great carnival of Skyros , traditional marriages sculpted chairs have not forgotten to this day
Skyros is highlighted by its beautiful beaches, both in the north and south of the island with the latter being accessible mainly by sea. Molos is one of the busiest and most organized beaches of Skyros, with towering cliffs to create a beautiful picture. The Gyrismata is another famous beach of Skyros, located in the northeast of the island and has golden sand.
The Kalamitsa is the longest beach of the island with crystal clear waters and are indicated for water sports. The Kalamitsa is located 10 km to the west of the island. It has sand and fine pebbles as the main feature is its crystal clear waters. Ideal place for those looking for a quiet place to enjoy a swim . Along the beach you will find traditional taverna with fresh fish. From Kalamitsa , you have easy access to the grave of English poet named Brooke next is the picturesque chapel of Agios Mamas.
The beach of Agios Fokas is surrounded by lush vegetation, with green and crystal clear waters just below Pefkos, a graphic sporadesi beach with beautiful waters in a small bay.
The Kareflou beach is the one thay you will find seclusion and tranquility.
Looking at the map in Skyros the beaches in turn are:
- St . Peter
- Kyra Panagia
- Agios Fokas
Skyros although geographically is an island of Sporades that ' peek ' to the Cyclades . It is the southernmost and largest island of the Sporades area with surface about 210 square kilometers and a circumference of about 60 miles . The population amounts to 2,602 inhabitants. Located east of Euboea , which lies around 35 km .
It could be called the island of contrasts. Reminiscent of Cyclades (from Chora and south) with rocky landscapes, but also has a taste of Sporades (the northern part) filled with trees of all kinds. The changing landscape is unpredictable. The northern part of the island (the Sporaditiko) is green with pine forests, while Kalamitsa and down the scenery changes. Sharp Cycladic rocks and short shrubs make their appearance and monopolize the interest.
The capital is Skyros (or xora), is located on the east coast.It is Linked to Linaria port which is the main port of Skyros by paved road 11 km long.
Halloween in Skyros
In celebrations of the Triodion is the custom of " Old Man " and " Corelli " . Central act is the " Old man " , who is dressed with a black- haired kappa and wearing leather mask goat , while in his middle there are herd’s bells .
He is accompanied by the " Korela " (which is a young man dressed in traditional female costume ) and " Fragos " who wears a mask and a large bell in the his middle .
Groups of disguised people move around xora dancing and singing , and the whole atmosphere refers to a Dionysian atmosphere , which is reinforced by the second part of Skyros Carnival , which is the custom of " Trawl boat " and none other than the recitation of satirical verses at the Square of the island.
Customs of Skyros marriage
If you find yourself in Skyros at a wedding eve will find that the announcement is not possible with conventional printed invitation to the announcement of the joyous event. The families of the bride and groom, pass by each house of the village and offer pancakes with honey on a single number.
In a bright Skyrian marriage one can admire up to fifty girls, which will dress in traditional bridal costume, the "Allameni" ie, the changed (change of clothing).
The groom is obliged to the dance one by one by each girl in the square or platia, since they did their best to honour them with their expensive traditional garment. Expensive of course literally and figuratively!
The Skyros Pony
The small breed of Skyros horse race is now one of the rare breeds of horses that exist in the world. This is a small breed and thin bone horse. Has long mane and relatively large tummy. Feature is the hair above the hooves, the so-called "wings". The colors of these horses is orfno (shades of brown), gray (Gray), often less reddish and very rarely isavelio (yellowish ) and black. In some horses there is observed white markings on the head (star or Rimbaud) .The Skyros Ponies are socially particularly affable behavior towards children.
Physical space living is Mount Kohilas South Skyros, the "mountain" as they call Skyros, an area which is of special ecological value space (natura, IBA).
This is one of the indigenous Greek horse races that existed in antiquity throughout Greece. He managed to survive on the island of Skyros, hence the name. Today local horse breed found in Skyros, Corfu in breeding center and hippotherapy of Mrs. Sylvia Dimitriadis Steen (plan SILVA), on the farm of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki and individual and elsewhere.
Throughout Greece today Skyros ponies are estimated at 220, of which 120 in Skyros considered by the European Union protected species and have joined the EEC Regulation 2078/95 as a rare breed farm animals facing possible extinction. For the preservation and development of Skyrian horse operates Union small breed Race Horse Skyros, a non-profit organization Founded in June 2006, with members having local horse breed from all over Greece, based in Skyros and purposes identified the recording, keeping a herd book, rescue, promotion and general development of the breed.
It is worth noting that the Skyros horse is now a protected species, along with the seal monachus - monachus and the turtle Caretta - Caretta.
From the most famous festivals of Skyros are:
- Saint Ermolaos on July 26 in Marble and Rough(marmaro and traxy).
- Saint Friday and Saint Ermolaos where people pass by boat from the harbor shore, to the islet opposite position (pouria), where the church is located.
- The feast of St. Mamas in Kalamitsa on 2 September.
- Saint Artemios at Mount Kohilas on October 18, where the church is in a mountain cave.
- The feast of Saint George, one of the largest on the island as it is the patron saint of the island, which takes place a procession of the image of the saint, accompanied by the band and parade of the navy and air force.
- The feast of St. Nicholas at the port of Skyros, held at noon.
- The feast of the Holy Spirit to the Virgin Mary.
- Prophet Elias on July 19 in the Rough(traxy).
- Our Savior celebrated on August 5th.
- The celebration of Our Lady Megklou and while the day after St. Myron is celebrated.
- The feast of Our Lady Mary on August 23.
- The feast of Panagia Lympianis on 8 September.
The island is famous for its local delicacies , which are numerous and worth to try . Skyros make delicious pie and " teroptaria " frumenty and rice.
Another recipe is the " teroptes " with pumpkin and cheese , baked in ' tserami " ceramic plate greased with onion dipped in oil . Try even the Skyros stuffed - " giaprakia " - and prefer sweet pancakes with traditional honey .
The greatest and most famous industry of handmade creations is that of handicraft. The wide variety of motifs and the particular style of carving make Skyros furniture unique works of art that adorn many salons throughout Greece.
Older carved furniture are made from mulberry or walnut. They preferred the wood of the black mulberry because it has high strength, cannot be destroyed by weevil and due to weather gets his own black colour.
Today, that mulberry and walnut are scarce or expensive they use beech trade.
However some artists in an effort to continue unchanged Skyrian tradition continues even today despite adversity scratching in quality woods, ignoring the huge costs incurred.
The woven seat on chairs and stools made from "tsiperi" an aquatic grass that comes in tributaries and is abundant in the lake area. The seat is knit by people with special expertise. Knitting this seat gives the stool practical solutions and adds much to the aesthetic appearance. The Skyrian carving has depth and thus differs from the Byzantine woodcarving.
Entering a Skyrian home you get a feeling that you visit the museum. Moldings throughout the house, shelves adorned by all sorts of ceramics and bakirenia pans. Traditional architecture commands the rooms which are small with low ceiling.
Elaborate hand-carved chests hide inside their precious embroidered bedding embroidered with silks and stitches seen in embroidered ecclesiastical vestments, with designs taken from Skyros illustrations. Skyrian home without carved stools with woven seat will not find even if you turn the island from end to end!
The Skyrians handle them in their daily use almost exclusively since they are very conveniently even from simple chairs.
The wide variety of motifs and the particular style of carving make Skyros furniture unique works of art that adorn many salons throughout Greece.
On the island we find several and important archaeological sites such as the Castle located above the town. There was the ancient citadel and the seat of the ancient king of the island Lycomedes. In Andrioti Cave the king of Athens Theseus was killed by Lycomedes. Today the ancient citadel is not survived.
Archaeological site Palamari
The Palamari is located in the northwest of the country and the archaeological excavations brought to light an ancient settlement. Excavations are ongoing and constantly coming to light more data that inform us about the importance and lifestyle of the ancient city - port which was the most important of its era.
Still a beautiful spot in the country, at the end of the market, is the square of the Eternal Poetry, dedicated to the British poet Rupert Brooke, who was buried in Skyros. In the square there is a statue dedicated to the poet.
At the unveiling of the statue, on April 5, 1931, there was present the then Prime Minister of Greece, Eleftherios Venizelos. From this square you have a panoramic view on the east coast of Skyros, including Magazia, Molos and reaches till Pouria location.
Access to the grave of Brooke is relatively easy. The tomb is in the three Boukes or Tristomo, a bay on the southeast coast of the island.
From Kalamitsa If you head south, through a relatively easy path to the mountains, at some point the road climbs just past the mountains, but then becomes downhill.
Heading at the three Boukes will find the grave in a grove on your left side .
Rupert Brooke was a special character for Skyros , which inspired them with patriotic ideals. Apart from the graveat three boukesl, there is Brooke Square in Chora , near the church of the Holy Trinity , the statue dedicated to the eternal poetry and the memory of the poet . The statue was created by M . Tompros and is said to have the model of the then rising dancer Alexander Iola.
Archaeological Museum of Skyros
The Archaeological Museum of Skyros, located in Chora, under the castle and exhibits many archaeological finds from great and important eras in Greek history. There are ceramic vases and pots, ancient jewelry and coins, everyday items and tools, many of which have been found at the archaeological site of Palamari. There is also a special area where represent the traditional Skyrian home, with all rooms, decorative and furniture. Also in the same area you will see traditional costumes, furniture and decorative woodwork, embroidery and ceramics with traditional designs of Skyros.
Manos Faltaits Museum - Skyros
The Manos Museum and Anastasia Faltaits is the first folklore and cultural museums in Greece. It is housed in the mansion of Faltagidon, old noble family of Skyros with roots in Byzantium, a descendant of which is Mr. Manos Faltaits. On the premises of the museum many everyday objects of Skyros earlier times, rare embroideries and traditional ceramic art. Very interesting but of the other exhibits as old manuscripts and documents, rare editions of books, artwork of famous sculptures and Manos Faltaits tables.
All Skyros is a Rich Fishing Spot
Lobsters, sea bream, beetles, white seabream, bream, scorpions, amberjacks and many more fish species can be found on Skyros and Skyropoula.
From Kalamitsa until Valaxa will find all the above and more. Impressive and rich fishing grounds the "myrmingia" close to Skyropoula. It is a strange and dangerous spectacle into the sea 500 meters from the island to be able to stand erected covered only by a water meter.
All Skyros is ideal for snorkeling but the part that is known nationwide for snorkeling is Gyrismata . Second known point is the sea side of the mountain . Groupers , with white seabream , " snapper " , scorpion fish all these are fishes that can be found in large quantities in rocks and caves of the island.
Diving is prohibited in the area around the airport , the archaeological site Gyrismata ( north end of the island) and Three Boukes ( navy base ).