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Sporades Islands | Skiathos

Skiathos History

Historically, the island developed similarly to its neighbors and first became of interest in 478 BC when it became a member of the Athenian Alliance. It played an anecdotal role in the famous Battle of Salamis, as it was at Skiathos in 480 BC that the Persian King Xerxes stopped to repair the ships of his fleet that had been damaged by storms while en route to Salamis. In fact, his fleet anchored near Mandraki on the northwest coast, and the bay was named after him. The island was later occupied by the Macedonians, the Romans, and the Venetians (from 1204 until 1538). During their tenure, the Venetians built the fort on the lovely islet of Bourtzi, just at the entrance to the harbor (which is now a peninsula attached by a jetty to one of the two quays that constitute the commercial harbor). When the Turks took control of the island in 1538, the Skiathians abandoned the capital and moved inland to the impregnable northernmost part of the island known as Kastro (photo). That remained the capital of the island until the inhabitants returned to the original (and present day) capital in 1830 and rebuilt the new town upon the ruins of the old. Skiathos was one of the first to recognize the fledgling Greek Republic in 1827, three years after its liberation from Turkish rule. During World War II, the Germans heavily bombed the island, and much of the town had to be rebuilt, though you will still find many lovely 19th century houses in the capital’s back streets and lanes.