Heroic Psara island
Heroic Psara, a dot in the Aegean Sea, is a small island, famous for its glorious history and incredible beauty. A paradise for those seeking natural beauty and absolute tranquility, but also for the foodies, due to the delicious local cuisine, based on the pure products of the island. The visitor can enjoy the peace and tranquility of the place. A typical aegean scenery, where traditional blue and white houses blend harmoniously with the beautiful beaches and the crystal clear sea.
Psara played a significant role in the revolutionary struggle of 1821. After the islands of Hydra and Spetses, Psara had formed the third largest fleet in Greece.
The freedom fighters in the Greek War for independence, Konstantinos Kanaris who later served as Naval Minister and Prime Minister of Greece, and Andreas Pipinos, both come from the small island of Psara. The catastrophe of Psara and the holocaust of 1824 was a great shock for Europe and a very critical point for the Greek struggle for independence, as it caused a change in the attitude of the European countries towards it. In December 2018 the Greek Parliament recognised the contribution of Psara in the Greek Struggle for Independence and voted for the renaming of the Municipality of Psara into “Heroic Isle of Psara”.
Sightseeing in Psara
The Mycenaean settlement in Archontiki
The archaeological site of Archontiki comprises a settlement and a cemetery of the Mycenaean Period, stretching along the seashore. Parts of the settlement and also parts of the tombs are lying under the surface of the sea. The findings of the excavations that were carried out in this area during the 20th century are kept in the Archaeological Museum of Chios.https://efachi.gr/archontiki-psaron-mia-proistoriki-poli/
Palaiokastro, the Mavri Rachi of Psara
The rock of Mavri Rachi stretches to the west of the port of Psara. This place has a great historic and symbolic significance for the island, because this was the fort where the great battle was held and where thousands of people died heroically during the Ottoman assault of 1824. There is a monument today on the spot, to honor the sacrifice of the fighters of Psara.
The Temple of Agios Nikolaos and the statue of Kanaris.
The glorious temple, dedicated to Saint Nikolaos, patron saint of the sailors, was built from 1785 until 1793, the year when Kanaris was born. The building is 28 metres long, 14 metres wide and 28 metres high, with 51 windows and seven doors. The temple had been destroyed in 1824 and was rebuilt in 1863, when the people of Psara began to return to their island, after the Catastrophe. The temple has been recently restored. It is worth ascending the 60 steps to visit the church in which Kanaris prayed for success, before setting out for his great accomplishment, namely the attack of the flagship of the Ottoman fleet.
Beneath the church of Agios Nikolaos, where the statue of Konstantinos Kanaris stands today, there was the exact spot of his house.
The Monastery dedicated to the Assumption of the Virgin Mary
The Monastery dedicated to the Assumption of the Virgin Mary is situated in the north of the island. It had been destroyed during the catastrophe of 1824. The monks who managed to escape to Syros island, saved the icon of Virgin Mary, signed by the famous Greek painter of the Renaissance, Domenicus Theotokopoulos. The icon is kept in the temple of Virgin Mary in Syros town, also known as the Virgin of the Psara. The katholikon (main temple) of the monastery is built according to the Athonian architectural structure. It has been restored in the 19th century and boasts a very interesting library with very old books and manuscripts.
Taste of Psara
The marine dishes, the crown gem of the local cuisine, since the sea bottom of Psara is distinguished by its wealth. Local lobsters are served grilled over coals, in pasta, fried, accompanied with skordalia (garlic dip) in traditional dishes that will enchant you. The fish, fresh and plentiful, is served in various ways and accompanied by wild greens and herbs of the island! If you prefer meat and dairy products, you should definitely try stuffed wild goat, the local white cheese, the fresh mizithra cheese and the kopanisti dip. Accompany your meal with the unique sun-dried wine of Psara, the beloved wine of the legendary “bourlottiers” of the 1821 Liberation Struggle.
If you like sweets, the bitter almond preserve and almond sweets will tickle your palate. However the true star is the pure natural thyme honey. Although the island’s beehives are active throughout winter, since temperatures are never truly low around coastal regions, the beekeepers of Psara only have one period of florescence and must wait to collect honey in late August. However, this harvest produces a magical honey, imbued with the unique scent of millions of thyme plants on the island. When you try it you will know the difference.