Poros
Πόρος
View of Poros
View of Poros
Poros is located in Greece
Poros
Poros
Location within the region
2011 Dimos Porou.png
Coordinates: 37°31′N 23°29′E / 37.517°N 23.483°E / 37.517; 23.483Coordinates: 37°31′N 23°29′E / 37.517°N 23.483°E / 37.517; 23.483
CountryGreece
Administrative regionAttica
Regional unitIslands
Government
 • MayorIoannis Dimitriadis (Ind.)
Area
 • Municipality49.582 km2 (19.144 sq mi)
Population
 (2011)[1]
 • Municipality
3,993
 • Municipality density81/km2 (210/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC+2 (EET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+3 (EEST)
Postal code
180 20
Area code(s)22980
Vehicle registrationYI, YK, YM, YN
Websitewww.poros.gr

Poros (Greek: Πόρος) is a small Greek island-pair in the southern part of the Saronic Gulf, about 58 km (36 miles; 31 nautical miles) south from port of Piraeus and separated from the Peloponnese by a 200 m (656 ft) wide sea channel, with the town of Galatas on the mainland across the strait. Its surface area is about 31 square kilometres (12 sq mi) and it has 3,780 inhabitants. The ancient name of Poros was Pogon. Like other ports in the Saronic, it is a popular weekend destination for travellers.

Poros consists of two islands: Sphaeria (Greek: Σφαιρία, pronounced [sfeˈria]), the southern part, which is of volcanic origin, where today's city is located, and Kalaureia (Greek: Καλαυρία, [kalavˈria]), also Kalavria or Calauria (meaning 'gentle breeze'), the northern and largest part. A bridge connects the two islands over a narrow strait.

Poros is an island with rich vegetation. Much of the northern and far eastern/western sides of the island are bushy, whereas large areas of old pine forest are found in the south and center of the island. It has a good road network and adequate tourist infrastructure, which makes it a popular resort for short holidays.

Geography

The bay of Vayionia (Βαγιονιά), the harbour of ancient Kalaureia with Aegina at the horizon.
The bay of Vayionia (Βαγιονιά), the harbour of ancient Kalaureia with Aegina at the horizon.

The land area of the municipality (which includes the islands and part of the adjacent Peloponnese coast) is 49.582 square kilometres (19.144 sq mi).[2] The landscape is very hilly and mountainous. The highest peak is the Vigla (358 m) in the west-central part. Following the island's topography and geology, small creeks and seasonal streams flow through steep valleys of the southern and northeastern part. The western and northern part of the island feature smooth hills and shallow valleys. Sandy beaches are restricted to the southern shore of the island, except for a bay in the northern part called Vayionia.

Poros contains the following villages:

Geology

The geology of the island comprises Mesozoic to Cenozoic sedimentary rocks (limestone, and Flysch-type sandstone) and ophiolites, as well as Neogene volcanic rocks on Sferia. The island is tectonically dissected and part of a Tertiary tectonic mélange. There are karstic sinkholes in the island's central limestone massif, and limestone caves with stalactites. Visible marine fossils are mainly found in the limestone, no occurrences of precious stones or ore deposits are known.

History

Poros town from Galatas on the mainland
Poros town from Galatas on the mainland

In the northeastern part of the island, in a location called “Kavos Vasili”, the archaeologists have discovered the ruins of a settlement of the Early Bronze Period. This settlement is the oldest of the wider area of Trizinia, Peloponnese, and is believed to be interrelated with the wreck found on the nearby Dokos island which dates to the same period.

Antiquity

Sanctuary of Poseidon
Sanctuary of Poseidon
Panoramic view
Panoramic view
Seafront
Seafront
View of the port
View of the port

Poros was divided in two islands during the antiquity: Sphairia (also known by its modern Greek form Sfairia) and Calauria (also known by its ancient Greek form Kalaureia and its modern Greek form Kalavria). Sphairia consisted of the area of the modern island which includes its current capital. Calauria was the larger part of the island to its north. During the period of Mycenaean dominance (1400-1100 BC) Calauria was quite powerful and the most important naval base of region was located on islet Monti or Liontari on its eastern coast. The city-state of Calauria was home to an asylum dedicated to Poseidon, the ruins of which are still accessible on a hilltop close to the town. This asylum may have been linked to the sanctuaries at Geraistos and Tainaros. Ancient historians stated that Calauria was the center of an amphictyony, a religious alliance between its city-state and those of Athens, Poros, Aegina, Epidaurus, Hermione, Troezen, Nauplio, Orchomenus, and Prasaiai. Modern archaeology has discovered no evidence for its actual existence, however, and now believe the "Calaurian League" to have been a later Hellenistic invention. An enormous feast was found dating to the Hellenistic period in the ruins of the Calaurian asylum, along with a plaque celebrating the "revival" of its amphictyony.

During the 5th century, the Persian Empire annexed the Greek cities of western Anatolia. Athenian help for a revolt then drew them into a general war with mainland Greece and the Greek states on the Aegean islands. At the beginning of the Peloponnesian War, Troezen and Calauria offered asylum to an anti-Macedonian politician who eventually became the tyrant of the region. After the death of Alexander the Great in 323 BC, the Ptolemies of Egypt occupied Calauria. Around the same time, the Athenian orator Demosthenes came to the island, where some report his suicide. In 273 BC, the last explosion of the Methana volcano dramatically changed the morphology of Poros and the wider region.

The Sanctuary of Poseidon has been excavated by Swedish archaeologists. The 1894 field season is considered to be the first Swedish archaeological campaign in Greece. Swedes have continued excavations from 1997 in collaboration with the Greek National Heritage Board.[4]

Roman and Byzantine times

Further information: Byzantine Greece and Ottoman Greece

During the Roman period (86 BC to 395 AD) Poros was part of the Roman Empire along with Trizina, to which it was a tributary. In Byzantine times, Poros and other islands were often raided by the pirates that dominated the Aegean Sea.

Venetian period

In 1484 the Venetians occupied Poros and used it as a strategic port in their sea battles with the Ottomans. Poros was the most powerful city of the wider area, also governing Methana Island, Epidaurus, Damalas (Trizina), Fanari and Valario. During that time, the island had about 15,000 inhabitants, making it one of the largest cities in Greece. Venetian rule ended in 1715.

Ottoman period

The Ottoman Period began in 1715, much later in Poros than in the rest of Greece. Shipping and commerce were the inhabitants’ main activities, but Poros’ fleet wasn't as famous as Hydra's or Spetses’ fleet, due to the fact that it did not participate in many sea battles.

The Greek Revolution

Monument for the Greek revolution. The eagle's beak has been repaired since this photo was taken.
Monument for the Greek revolution. The eagle's beak has been repaired since this photo was taken.

Poros had an important role during the Greek Revolution in 1821, due to its strategic position. The Greek revolutionary leaders, often met in Poros to discuss and plan their future actions. The first Greek naval base was established in Poros in 1828 and remained there until 1878. In September 1828, the ambassadors of England, France and Russia met in Poros with Ioannis Kapodistrias in order to determine the borders of the future Greek state, which was established two years later, in 1830.

Russian naval base

Hellenic Navy base
Hellenic Navy base

With the Treaty of Kuchuk Kainarji, Russia secured free shipping for its navy and merchants alike, throughout the waters of the Ottoman Empire. As Russian naval activity grew, need arose for a supply station, and land was acquired at the edge of Poros town. Extensive materiel, coal, and food storage facilities were built, as well as a hardtack baking factory. After Greek independence, Governor Capodistrias requisitioned the facilities for use of the Greek war navy, and offered the Russians an alternative location in a nearby cove. The new facilities were far larger, and were used by Russian ships throughout the 19th century. The number of Russian residents of Poros increased and even a Russian school was established. As Russian naval activity declined, so did the base and by the early 20th century only a single Russian watchman was left guarding it. It was then granted to the Greek Navy by the Czar but was never put to actual use, and the abandoned buildings were left to decay. The ruins, in elaborately carved stone, were listed as protected architectural monuments in 1989.

Twentieth century

In the beginning of the 20th century, among the activities of the Poros’ inhabitants were agriculture (mainly wheat, grapevines and olives), livestock, fishing and shipping.[5]

Main sights

Neoclassical buildings
Neoclassical buildings
Archaeological Museum of Poros
Poros clock tower
Poros clock tower

Historical population

Year Town population Municipality population
1981 3,929 -
1991 3,273 3,570
2001 4,059 4,282
2011 3,651 3,993

Notable people

Transportation

Poros is linked to mainland Greece by a car ferry to Galatas. Poros has no airport but is easily accessible from Athens by ferry or hydrofoil.[7]

There is local bus service on the island from Poros harbor to Neorio and Monastiri.[8]

See also

References

  1. ^ a b "Απογραφή Πληθυσμού - Κατοικιών 2011. ΜΟΝΙΜΟΣ Πληθυσμός" (in Greek). Hellenic Statistical Authority.
  2. ^ "Population & housing census 2001 (incl. area and average elevation)" (PDF) (in Greek). National Statistical Service of Greece.
  3. ^ map
  4. ^ Link text Berg, Ingrid (2016) Kalaureia 1894. A Cultural History of the First Swedish Excavation in Greece
  5. ^ Encyclopædia Britannica, 1911
  6. ^ "Τεπελενι".
  7. ^ "Galatas (Poros - Hidra), Methana". KTEL Argolidas. Retrieved 7 May 2016.
  8. ^ "Transport". Retrieved 7 May 2016.