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Dimos Psaron.png
Coordinates: 38°33′N 25°34′E / 38.55°N 25.567°E / 38.55; 25.567
Island Chain: North Aegean
Total Isles: 6
Area: 44.511 km² (17 sq.mi.)
Highest Mountain: Profitis Ilias (512 m (1,680 ft))
Greece Greece
Periphery: North Aegean
Prefecture: Chios
Capital: Psara
Population: 422 (as of 2001)
Density: 9 /km² (25 /sq.mi.)
Postal Code: 82x xx
Area Code: 22740
License Code: ΧΙ

Psara (Greek: Ψαρά) is a Greek island in the Aegean Sea. It lies 44 nautical miles (81 km) northwest of Khios, 22 km (about 13 nmi) from the northwestern point of the island of Khios and 150 km (about 75 nmi) eastnortheast of Athens. The length and width is about 7 x 8 km and the area of the island is 43 km².

Psara had 422 inhabitants according to the 2001 census. There is only a single village on the island, which is also called Psara. It also constitutes its own municipality, of the same name. The municipality includes the small island of Antipsara and is one of the two in the prefecture that only have one community and one of the few in Greece that only contain one settlement, located almost directly to the west. Psara also has a small port linking to the island of Chios and other parts of Greece.



The flag of Psara was designed by the Psariots[1] and bears symbols of Filiki Eteria[2][3]. It is made of white cloth bordered with red with a large red cross and the inscriptions of the name of the island "ΨΑ-ΡΑ" and the words Eleftheria i Thanatos (Liberty or Death) in capital red letters. The cross is standing on an upside down crescent, flanked on one side by a sword, on the other by a serpent killed by a bird[1][3]. The flag was carried during the War of Independence by Psariot ships[4]

An original flag of Psara, is preserved at the National Historical Museum of Greece[2]


It has been inhabited since the Mycenaean period, and its inhabitants have always relied on the sea to make a living. Homer first referred to the island as Psyra.[5]

Destruction of Psara

Bronze medal with "ΕΛΕΥΘΕΡΙΑ Η' ΘΑΝΑΤΟΣ","ΟΛΟΚΑΥΤΩΜΑ ΨΑΡΡΩΝ - 24 ΙΟΥΝΙΟΥ 1824" ("FREEDOM OR DEATH", "HOLOCAUST OF PSARA - 24 JUNE 1824"). The medal was minted in 1924

Psara joined the Greek War of Independence on April 10, 1821. A noted native naval leader of the time was future Prime Minister of Greece Constantine Kanaris. The island was invaded on June 21, 1824 by Egyptian forces under the command of Ibrahim Pasha.

On July 4 the resistance of the Psariots ended with a last stand at the town's old fort of Palaiokastro[1]. Hundreds of soldiers and also women and children had taken refuge there when a Turkish force of 2000 stormed the fort. The refugees first threw a white flag[6] with the words "Ελευθερία ή Θάνατος" ("Eleftheria i Thanatos", "Freedom or Death". Then, the moment the Turks entered the fort, the local Antonios Vratsanos lit a fuse to the gunpowder stock, in an explosion that killed the towners along with the their enemies — thus remaining faithful to their flag to their death[1]. A French officer who heard and saw the explosion compared it to a volcanic eruption of Vesuvius.[1]

A part of the population managed to flee the island, but those who didn't were either sold into slavery or killed. As a result of the invasion, thousands of Greeks have met a tragic fate. The island was deserted and surviving islanders were scattered through what is now Southern Greece. Theophilos Kairis, a priest and scholar, took on many of the orphaned children and developed the famous school the Orphanotropheio of Theophilos Kairis.

The tragic event of the destruction of Psara inspired the poet Dionysios Solomos — the author of the Hymn to Liberty — to write a poem about it called "The Destruction of Psara"[7].

On the all-black ridge of Psara
Glory walks by herself taking in
the bright young men on the war field
the crown of her hair wound
from the last few grasses left
on the desolate earth

Historical population

Year Population Change
1824 7,000[8] -
1981 460 -
1991 438 -22/-4.78%
2001 422 -16/-3.65%

Notable people

  • Constantine Kanaris (1793/1795-1877) admiral, freedom fighter and politician, Prime Minister of Greece

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e CONGRESSIONAL RECORD—HOUSE March 24, 1995
  2. ^ a b Flag of Psara, Revolution of 1821 -National History Museum Catalogue Number: 1752
  3. ^ a b Nations and States in Southeast Europe,Center for Democracy and Reconsiliation in South Eastern Europe. p.99
  4. ^ "Η Ελληνική Σημάια", (The Greek flag) - Hellenic Army General Staff, Page 11, Image 14:[1]
  5. ^ Homer, Odyssey, III
  6. ^ Typos, Cyprus newspaper [2]
  7. ^ Jerome Rothenberg, Jeffrey Robinson (2009). Poems for the Millennium, Volume Three. University of California Press. p. 358.  
  8. ^ Finlay, George. History of the Greek Revolution and the Reign of King Otho (edited by H.F. Tozer). Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1877 (Reprint: London 1971), ISBN 900834129, p. 152.

External links

Coordinates: 38°34′9″N 25°35′4″E / 38.56917°N 25.58444°E / 38.56917; 25.58444



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