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Oinousses - Psara


When the sun sets, from Chios’ port if look to the northeast, you can see some distant lights glowing above the sea’s surface.

This is the island of Oinousses. You can take a better look at it from the ferryboat on its way to Mytilini. You can even make out its white, well-built, little houses. In the summer the islet seems to be very busy. That is the season when the Inousisian merchant-mariners, many of them shipowners flock there for their vacations. For the visitors who wish to enjoy swimming in its little coves, their chances to stay on the island are restricted to the capacity of a small hotel. Next to Inoussa are many more unpopulated islets creating the Inousses Group with a total area of 14 sq. km. and population 500. The distance from the port of Chios is 9n.m. and there is daily transportation by ferry boats. History The island’s strategic position in the middle of the straits formed could not escape the attention of the Venicians and Turks who used it as a naval base. Periodically, the same did the pirates, who named the area for centuries. Discovering the island The island’s only community has the status of municipality. It boasts for its many new and old ’’captains’ mansions’’. There are also interesting of churches and chapels as well as a Museum of Naval History. Three km to the northwest lies the monastery of Evangelismos. Also worthy our attentions the chapel of Zoodochos Pigi (Life Giving Spring) on the islet of Pasha nearby.


Psara island is found 44 nautical miles NW of the port of Chios to which it is connected with frequent feery-boat transportation. The nearest Chian port to the island is Limnia (17 n.m.). Psara is a bald island of 40 square km and population 460. Along with neighboring Antipsara and other deserted islets such as Daskalio, Kato Nisi and Ayios Nikolaos they form a small island group.


In the ancient era the islet was known by the name Psira. It’s history’s glorious pages though, were written during the Independence War in 1821. Psara, behind Hydra and Spetses, was then the third naval power in Greece and one of the first islands to revolt against the Turks. Its fleet captained by the notorious torch bearers (bourlotierides) Kanaris, Papanikolis and Pipinos had sowed fear and terror in the Turks’ ranks. In 1824 the Turks decided to destroy the island and attacked with 140 ships and 14000 Janissaries. A hard yet uneven battle ensued, withthe Turks winning and occupying the island.. Those who escaped with Kanaris went to Evia where they later established the community of Nea (New) Psara. Many preffered to die heroically by exploding the island’s munitions depot. The rest were massacred or taken to be sold before the island was put to fire. The destruction of Psara neverberated among the Philellenes and sparked national poet Dionysios Solomos to write his famous poem that begins:

On Psara’s range now black like coal Glory was walking alone and forlorn

Psara waited until 1912 to be reunited with Greece. In the north, built on a slope of Profitis Ilias, the island’s highest peak (530m.), is the chapel of Kimisis tis Theotokou (Virgin’s Dormition). It contains a interesting library with many books, some of them printed in old Venice.


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