INFORMATION ABOUT AMORGOS ISLAND
Amorgos, is an island with intense natural beauty and deep blue beaches. It is located in the south-eastern side of Cyclades and abstains 136 nautical miles from Peiraeus Port. It’s capsule-shaped: the island is 18 miles long and 1.5 miles wide at its narrowest and 5 miles wide at its broadest. It’s the natural gateway and link between the Cyclades and the Dodecanese islands.
Amorgos allocates two natural harbours, Katapola in the centre of the island and Aegiali in the northern end. Most of the coasts are rocky and lead abruptly into the sea.
The island’s highest peak, Krouellos, rises to 821 meters and is located at the island’s northern end, above Aegiali. Here, the mountainous terrain is rockier and steeper. Amorgos has two other peaks—Profitis Ilias (698 meters) in the middle of the island and Aspro Vouno (or Vouno or Korakas, 639 meters) on the west. Small valleys and plains lay between these three peaks harbour settlements like Kolofanas on the west, Katapola in the center, Aegiali in the north, as well as smaller ones like Kamari, Arkessini, and Ayios Pavlos.
Amorgos shares the same geological history with the other islands in the Cyclades group. The oldest rock formations are slate and the newest the limestone, which between them cover most of the land. The island’s current shape is roughly 700,000 years old and was set with the sinking of large sections of its interior and the formation of its mountain masses.
The island’s flora is similar with the rest of the islands of Cyclades. vegetation is sparse, mostly shrubs with mastic shrubs, kermes oak, broom, and scrub (phrygana) beyond the fertile plains at Katapola, Kato Meria, and Aegiali that are thick with olive groves and other fruit-bearing trees. Vines, top quality vegetables, and some cereals are cultivated on terraced fields throughout the island. What the island lacks in size and in the density of its vegetation, it makes up for with the diversity of endemic flora, especially rare herbs with therapeutic attributes.
The climate on Amorgos is mild and similar to that of the other Cyclades. Aegiali is quite warm in summer because its basin-like shape shields it from the cooling northerly winds, or meltemia.
Amorgos is connected with Piraeus, Dodekanisa and Cyclades with many itineraries, mainly during the summer months. The island has transportation with a lot of buses itineraries mainly during the summer period.
AMORGOS ISLAND HISTORY
Amorgos was known in antiquity as Pagali, Psychia, Karkissia, and Melania. According to ancient geographers and lexicographers the island constituted three cities, Arkessini located in place Kastri, Minoa located in place Moudalia in Katapola and Aegiali located in Vigla at Tholaria.
Important archaeological discoveries that have been found, testify that the island was inhabited during the 5th millennium. Excavations on the island discovered the background of a Cycladic Culture and the relation of Amorgos, Naxos, Paros and other remote islands.
The Cycladic culture invades in the island during the 3rd millennium B.C. and leaves indelible traces with the familiar marble figurines. There are also signs of Minoan influence, while the island was subsequently colonized by Miletus and Naxos. Amorgos was a member of the first Athenian League or Athenian Confederacy. In the third and second centuries B.C., the island found itself under the dominion of the Macedonians, the Ptolemies, the Samians, the Rhodians, and the Romans, yet Hellenistic worship rituals predominate through the fourth century A.D. when ancient temples are converted to Christian places of worship.
Later, raids by Saracen pirates force the population to retreat inland and barricade themselves inside settlements at Kastro, Kastri, and in the 23 watchtowers whose remains can be seen around the island.
The icon of the Virgin Hozoviotissa, which is believed to have miracle-making powers, arrived on the island from Palestine during the iconomachy, the period when icons were rejected as encouraging idolatry. Extensive renovations to the monastery in 1088 were made under the Byzantine Emperor Alexis Comnenus.
Architectural vestiges from the Venetian era have been found on the island, such as the Gavras tower (o pyrgos tou Gavra), Kato Lakkos, and the stone-paved Lozes.
This period is followed by Turkish rule, during which Amorgos reaches its economic peak and experiences an ecclesiastic renaissance. In 1822, following the Greek independence revolt, the island becomes the seat of an eparchy of the nascent Modern Greek state. Seven years later, in 1829, one of the first Greek schools is established with funds from the Monastery of Panayia Hozoviotissa.
Later in World War II the population of Amorgos decreases and a large number of islanders migrate to urban areas or abroad.