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Skopelos Ferries

Skopelos Ferries Sporades Islands

Ships and Ferries to the island of Skopelos in the Sporades Travel Information for ferries to Skopelos. Island of Skopelos Sporades.


HISTORY History Skopelos Sporades Greek Islands Greece

The oldest evidence of habitation dates back to the early and mid Mycenaean period of 16th - 14th BC: buildings on the island of Stafylos, as well as a grave with precious treasures found nearby. The rich discoveries imply that the grave belonged to a powerful sovereign of the time, probably the mythical king Stafylos, who came from Minoan Crete. Moreover, ancient writings verify the existence of a historical base to the fable of Stafylos, also, as the name of the region maintained unalterable to this day, historians have reasons to believe that the grave is indeed of the mythical king’s. Following the Mycenaean period, there is very little recorded until the ancient time of 6th - early 5th B.C., which was the peak of Peparithos, as he performed silver coin mintage and traded with other city states of the Aegean. After the Persian Wars (in 480 BC), the island joined the First Athenian Alliance. The importance of the island in the Northern Sporades is reflected in the large tax paid, as opposed to that of Skiathos, Ikos, Skyros. In 427 BC a strong earthquake followed by a dreadful tidal wave levelled a lot of public buildings, as Thukydidis reported. The island then, fell under the rule of the Spartans, followed by the Athenians forced residents of Skopelos to enter the 2nd Athenian Alliance.

During the Hellenistic era (end of 4th-1st B.C.) the island often became the bone of contention amongst heirs and afterwards between the Romans and the Macedonians. In the Post-classical and the Hellenistic era whenever they had some autonomy they minted cooper coins. Wine trading seems to be flourishing at all times, as Dionysos and wine amphora were often shown onto the island’s coins, while in many historical resources, the great quality of Peparithos’ wine was frequently mentioned. Finally, in the Hellenistic era a lot of churches and fortifications were built, many remains of which are saved to this day.

During the Roman period which began in 146 BC, very little was reported about Peparithos. Coins minted at this time show some type of independence or autonomy. At the end of the ancient period the island changed its name from Peparithos to Skopelos, by which it is known today. The 4th century A.D. saw the arrival of Bishop Riginos who is linked to the spread of Christianity in the N Sporades. In 363 A.D., during the persecutions of Julianos, Riginos was murdered and later he was canonized by the church. After his death many churches must have been built on the islands.

During the early Byzantine years Skopelos appeared to have been used as a place of exile, despite the lack of recorded evidence. From 11th century Naiiki architecture started to evolve. In 1204, the island was captured by the Venetians and was governed by the Gizi family till 1276. During the period of 1276 -1453 government authority and protection was loose, resulting in destructive raids from various intruders.

In 1453, Skopelos was occupied by the Venetians and up to 1538, avoided the Turkish invasion. A complete listing of the Venetian governors of the Northern Sporades is saved to this day. The Venetians were ‘gentle’ rulers and during their sovereignty a lot of churches were built and there was intense religious writing activity, however there are no testimonies for the existence of Catholic churches. The remains of Venetian dominion are found in some family names, a few place names and a lot of words in the Skopelos vocabulary. What is more, the Venetian influence is reflected in the old traditional residences of Skopelos (Sampson 1983, 40). Fragomahalas of Skopelos is said to be the district where the Venetians and other foreigners resided on the island.

In 1538, Skopelos was attacked and destroyed by Haiirentin Barbarossa something, which was the beginning of the Turkish conquest. The island is considered not to have been entirely depopulated as little after 1538, the construction of churches flourished. During Ottoman dominance Skopelos maintained the privileges that enjoyed during Venetian capture and had no permanent Turkish population. Landholders and Greek dignitaries ruled the island, under the high sovereignty of the Turkish Admiral (Kapoudan Pasha). From the early days of the Ottoman domination intense building activity in temples and monasteries was being carried out, while commercial trade took place in the 18th century. People visiting Skopelos from the 16th up to the 19th century reported of a large populous town with great economy. These testimonies were extremely useful as they revealed many unknown historic and cultural elements of N. Sporades during the first dark years of the Ottoman domination.

Skopelos’ residents fought bravely during the Greek revolution of 1821. Many refugees from Macedonia, Thessalia and Evia immigrated to the island at that time which was something that strengthened the local element, influenced folk costumes, architecture and cultural development in general. The social structure established during the Ottoman dominion influenced Skopelos’ tradition, making it one of the main causes that shaped the distinctiveness of its folk culture. There was strict segregation of social classes on the island. The ruling class consisted of major landowners and ship-owners; that governed and took the responsibility to collect the annual taxes for the Turks. The larger part of the population was formed by smallholding farmers, workers and sailors that manned the commercial fleet. The urban class was represented by very few, mostly tradesmen. Finally, another small, but active order consisted of clerics and monks. The bishop and the abbots of monasteries belonged to the highest order which resulted in huge conflicts between the nobles and dignitaries. Despite the lack of recorded testimonies about the conflicts, information from old residents confirmed the hostility and the friction.

Noble families possessed large areas of land that had been passed down to their descendants. That particular social structure did not change after the revolution. The poverty that a large part of the population of Skiathos, and of course other islands, suffered from, during the second half of the 19th century was reflected in the works of the writer Papadiamantis. Those were the islands from where the immigration to America, Romania, and Russia at the end of the 19th century, began. On the other hand, the class that became the motivator and governing body was that of the mariners, who by using their ships sailed the Mediterranean and the oceans, accumulating wealth for the island but mostly for their class. Merchandise was also transported from other countries with foreign ships that anchored on the island.

What is more, the sub-consulates of Venice, England and France were placed on Skopelos. Thus it is obvious that the western culture was soon established on the island, something which was unseen in other communities that lived on flat or mountainous parts of Greece. Even the Skopelos’ folk costume had many foreign elements and differed from other costumes, not only of the mainland’s, but also of the Greek islands’. New ideas from abroad and economic prosperity at the top of the social pyramid resulted in the creation -at the end of 19th century and the beginning of the 20th-of a type of semi-urban order with specific characteristics and partitions, which did not allow marriages with members of lower classes. This was the beginning of the puritan perceptions that were extended to every single class. An illustrative example was that of the feminine population who did not work regularly on the fields, as happened in other rural regions of Greece. Furthermore, girls didn’t get out of the house until they were wedded something which continued up until 30 - 40 years ago. Last but not least, were some farming populations, mainly in the region of Glossa and Klima who came from North Evia and were named Vlahi. These shepherds spent almost all year in the mountainous regions of the island, where they possessed enormous forest tracts and had their own way of life. Here women worked side by side with their husbands. Finally, there was another social class which was exceptional, and can be found to this day, is that of the mule-drivers who with their huge mules and their characteristic costumes distributed goods in the town of Skopelos.

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