Area of island: 64 sq. km/25 sq. miChief place: Symi (Yialós)The island of Symi (Italian Simi, Turkish Sömbeki), in the Dodecanese, lies 44 km/27 mi northwest of Rhodes at the mouth of Symi Bay (Sömbeki Körfesi), which is bounded on the north by the Resadiye (Knidos) peninsula and on the east by the Daraçya peninsula. It has a much indented coast, and according to Homer it possessed eight harbors. The inhabitants live, as they have lived since ancient times, by sponge-fishing and boatbuilding. There is an experimental plant for the desalination of sea-water.Off the southern tip of the island lies the islet of Sesklia, with a lighthouse.From ancient times the fortunes of Symi were closely linked with those of Rhodes. The island was occupied by the Turks in 1523, and after the Balkan War (1912) was held by Italy. It was reunited with Greece in 1947.
Symi Town, Greece
The capital of the island of Symi bears the same name, Symi or Yialós, with its handsome 18th and 19th century mansions, lies on the north coast, in a bay sheltered by the little island of Nimos (alt. 360m/ 1,180ft). In the upper part of the town is a small museum.This was also the site of ancient Syme, the acropolis of which was on the jagged crag now occupied by the medieval Kástro (reached by a flight of more than 500 steps). From the top there is an extensive view over Pédi Bay to the south.1km/.75mi east is a massive ancient tumulus.
Northwest of Symi, in Nimborió Bay, are the remains of an early Christian basilica with beautiful mosaic pavements. To the south of the church are catacombs, said to have housed a school of icon-painters and sculptors in the A.D. fifth century. Symi has more than 100 churches, chapels and monasteries, as well as numerous windmills, mostly dismantled.
Monastery of Archangel Michael
On a long inlet in the south of the island of Symi stands the massive Panormítis monastery, dedicated to the Archangel Michael, the protector of inlets of the sea; it has a charming bell-tower and a beautiful 12th century church (pilgrimage center).
Visitors first encounter the island of Symi at the picturesque natural port of Aigialos, with narrow lanes and quaint houses. Here is the Church of the Virgin Mary, the main church on the island.The town is 15 minutes walking distance from Ano Symi.