Icaria: Follow Your Own Myth
The poorest island on the Aegean Sea became well known all over the world for its quality air and water.It is also known for the longevity and relaxed of living of its citizens. A traveler in Icaria has the chances to live the myth of his or her liking. The people of Icaria did not wear shoes or sleep in beds because of indifference to such comforts. However, they did enjoy ‘’good health’’.
Icaria belongs to the eastern Aegean Sea. The name Icaria or Icarios, as known during the classical years, is connected to the myth of Icarios, son of Daedalus who fell into waves while flying because the sun had melted the wax which held his shoulder wings in place.During the sixth century B.C. the inhabitants of Icarios wanted to be known as the place connected to the myth and so they said that Icarios fell near their island.
Around 750 B.C. Greeks from Militosettled in Icaria and established facilities in an area which is now called Kampos. Back then it was known as Oinoee because of its wine. In the 6th century B.C., Icarios joined Samos. The Cathedral of Artemis of TavropoloustoNa was built then. Na was both holy land and an important port for the earlier Greek residents of the Aegean. Na had a lot of water, forests, deer and other forms of game. The statue of worship of the goddess was and image of miraculous origin. Around the mid-nineteenth century the residents of HristosRabonplundered thecathedral out of ignorance and superstition and used the stolen materials to build the village church. In 1930 excavations were made by Greek archaeologist , Lino Politi. He found the foundations of two small cathedrals within four days. During the German and Italian occupation of Icaria in World War II, a lot of Politi’sworks of art had disappeared. The Knights of St. John had power over Icarios until 1521 when the Ottoman Empire incorporated Icariosto the empire. At that time there were problems with piracy, forcing the residents to adopt the policy of disappearance. That is, they moved their homes to the mountains to hide from danger.
Every village has one fair. The island has about fifty villages and a population of 8,423. St. Kirikos is both the capital and the port of the island, and it is in the southern part where there are neo-classical buildings which house the administrative services. Also, there are may ancient artifacts, vessels, columns, copper and stone tools ,amphoras in the Archaeological Museum, which is a neo-classical building as well. Many of these artifacts were found in the depths of the sea. There is also a folk museum. Within a distance of two kilometers from St. Kirikos one can see Therma, a village famous for its medicinal waters. This village got its name from antiquity and is the second city in Icarios. To the south, there is Makaniti, a fishing village built in the shape of and amphitheater.Evidilo, which is to the north of the island, attracts a lot of tourists and has the second port on the island. The port is beautiful with its captain houses and coffee shops. Kampos or Oinoee or the ancient capital of the island became well known for its good wine. The wine is dark and there is wine strong enough to make one mesmerized.InOinoee there is a public bath and a small music school where one can see musical and theatrical performances.The musicschool was used as an administrative building or a residence for leaders, which is why it was called ‘’the Palace’’. It is located on the side of a hill belonging to St. Irini which is on top of the lush valley.Armenistis belongs to the county of Rahon and is the most popular vacation resort in Icarios, with its beautiful taverns by the sea. The fishing village , Yialiskari, has a beautiful marina and a small church on top of a cliff ,giving it a unique characteristic.Nas is an idyllic well known alternative tourist resort with many tents that can be set up in a cool, green and peaceful landscape. HristosRahonbecame famous for its slow pace of life and for the fact that its stores open late at night. The people of Icaria used to sleep in the morning and do all their work at night to protect themselves against pirates. The village has an ordinary pace of life but everything stays open until late at night. If you do not believe me ask the locals.
The Unique Fair in Icaria
The fair in Icaria is organized by village volunteers who cook boiled and cooked goat’s meat , potatoes and salads while an orchestra plays music. While the music is being played, the emphasis is placed on the violin and on the dance of Icaria. The money raised is used to pay for the projects in the village. Naturally,all work begins after 11:00 at night and finishes early in the morning.
Beaches. The best and most beautiful beach is in Mesaktis with its bushes and it is between Yialiskari and Armenisti. A lot of watersport fans get together in the afternoon and do sports. The beach in Kambo is unique and belongs to Na, near the church of Artemis, which is next to the estuary of a river. Walk down the steps to take a dive. Seychelles was artificially created from sand which was extracted while opening the Tunnel of Mankiniti. Finally, Fanari or Faros is the largest beach on the island, and the bushes along the beach create the shade. It is next to the airport and a diving center.
Food: You can eat quality food in Icaria at low prices.Try wild goat’s meat with spices and oven-cooked potatoes, local cheese and plenty of wine, of course.