Symi is an island in the Dodecanese with a total area of 57,865 sq. Km. Its natural harbor is Gialos, around which the city is built amphitheatrically. Symi has 2,606 inhabitants, according to the 2001 census, of which 2,427 are concentrated in the upper part of the city, the so-called Village, which is built on the slope of Mount Vigla. There are also resorts such as Nimporio to the north, and Pedi to the east. Gialos is connected by road to Chorio, Pedi, Nimporio, Marathounta and Archangel Michael Monastery of Panormitis, located on the southwestern tip of the island. Symi is a major tourist destination in the world, due to its impressive architecture.
The entire island of Symi, as well as the surrounding islands were declared archaeological sites by the Central Archaeological Council, comprising 159 sites and monuments that records the history of the area from prehistoric times to modern times.
Symi has been inhabited since prehistoric times. Some of the names mentioned are Kariki, Metapontis, Aigli, and Symi by the name of the wife of Glaucus, considered to be the first resident on this land. It is assumed that its original inhabitants were the Carians and the Phoenicians. Then came the Dorians.
Symi is known from mythology. On the island, according to tradition, three Harites were born. Its current name owes it, according to Diodorus Siceliot, to Nymph Symi, who according to legend she paired with Poseidon, the god of the sea. The result of their love was Hthonios, who became king of the first inhabitants of the island. According to another version, Symi was the daughter of Ialyssos and Dotida and was the eponymous heroine of the island.
Homer in the Iliad reports that her king, Nireas, led three ships to Troy.
In antiquity, we find Symi under other names, such as Kariki, Elkusa, Aigli and Metapontis, which were earlier. The first inhabitants of the island are the Kares, the Leleges from the neighboring Asia Minor coast, the Phoenicians and later settlers from mainland Greece. Symi has always been in the territory of the Rhodians. Only for a relatively short period, during the 5th century BC, did it fall to the Athenians. In historical times, it joined the Athenian alliance and formed an Athenian base during the Peloponnesian War.
Its history in later years is parallel to the rest of the Dodecanese islands. Thus, it first passed into Roman rule and later became part of the Byzantine Empire, until 1309, when it was conquered by the Knights of the Order of St. John of Rhodes, who, considering the privileged position of the island, pushed it to a long period of prosperity, linked to the development of commerce, navigation, sponge fishing and shipbuilding.
In 1522 it passed into the hands of the Turks. However, during this period, Symi possessed significant commercial and tax privileges, as well as religious and linguistic freedom of expression.
The inhabitants of Symi, with their fleet, took an active part in the Revolution of 1821. The Symiakians demanded from Governor Kapodistrias, in a memorandum on July 27, 1829, their liberation and the inclusion of their island within the borders of the Greek state. A request repeated by Benedictus from the Russian monastery of St. Panteleimon of Mount Athos, who wrote a personal pleading letter to the new Chief. Despite much effort, Symi was again under Turkish rule in 1832. The occupation lasted until 1912, the year in which the island passed into the hands of the Italians. The Italian occupation was particularly cruel to the inhabitants, who lived through years of great poverty. The Italian domination ended in 1943 without the end of the island's troubles, which often changed hands between the English and the Germans. It finally fell into the hands of the English on September 25, 1944. On May 8, 1945, the German Dodecanese military commander Otto Wagner signed the Dodecanese Protocol of surrender to the Allies. They were present the English Brigadier General Moffat, the commander of the Sacred Gate, an Indian and a French officer. The Germans wanted to surrender the islands to the Greeks, but the English refused to do so, who later sought to make the islands a province of the British Commonwealth. On March 31, 1947, the Protocol of Delivery was signed in Greece and the British Military Command handed over duties to the Greek Command. The final incorporation and surrender of the Dodecanese to Mother Greece took place on 7 March 1948.
Symi, like the other islands of the Dodecanese, had the misfortune of being found by foreign powers for six and a half centuries, and it was only natural for travelers to visit it during this period. Due to its geographical location, however, there were not many. However, travelers and geographers who visited her either wrote for her or stamped her on a map - there are few - or recorded valuable information on her history, customs and topography. In 1420 Christoforo Buondelmonti, an Italian Monk priest who traveled from Florence, wrote a book describing the island and drawing a rather primitive map of Symi. He mentions that the island was named Simie, by Simen, who was its king, or by the word Simane, which is the Greek version of the Latin word propinqua, meaning nearby, since it is very close to the East and its inhabitants were gaining bread. from their trade with the landlubbers. Residents with their small boats traveled between Rhodes and Turkey and traded.
In 1947, the National Dodecanese Liberation Front (NDLF) was established in Kos. The NDLF is also spread in Symi. Law 518/48 on the annexation of the Dodecanese to Greece was published in the Government Gazette in January 1948. On March 7, 1948, the Dodecanese Union with Greece was officially introduced.