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Feel free to check out the genealogy of my family from the villages of Glossa and Klima on the Greek Island of Skopelos, in the Aegean Sea.
To honor our forefathers, their stories, their struggles, and to preserve these for future generations.
A Note About the Island of Skopelos
The island of Skopelos, the largest of the Northern Sporades Islands, lies in the northwestern Aegean Sea. Administratively, it is part of the Prefecture of Magnesia in the Periphery of Thessaly. The ancient name of the island was Peparethos and its earliest occupants, who came from Crete, are traced back as early as 1500 BC. During its long history, there were times that the island was completely uninhabited and used as a refuge by pirates. Other transient occupants included the Venetians prior to the fall of Constantinople and the end of the Byzantine Empire in 1453. Skopelos supplied ships and men and was liberated from the Ottoman Empire during the war of Greek independence in the 1820's.
Skopelos has an area of 37 square miles (96 sq. km.). The interior is covered by a series of low mountains, the highest peak being Delphi which reaches a height of 1188 ft. (362 m). The entire 40 mile (67 km.) coastline is blessed by an abundance of natural harbors which provide safe haven from Aegean storms throughout the year. The name Skopelos comes from the ancient Greek word meaning "rock" indicating its rocky nature. Despite this, eighty percent of the island is covered with pine trees giving Skopelos the notoriety of being amongst Greece's greenest islands. Other trees commonly seen on the island are olive, almond, plum, and fig trees. Another one of Skopelos' valuable natural resources is its many natural springs and its plentiful fresh water supply. For many years the island's main export was its wine. In the 17th century it was said that Skoplos had "the best in the Aegean." Pine resin, dry plums (prunes), and dry figs were also exported in the past. Since the late 1980's, few farm or tend to their land, and tourism has taken over as the island's main industry.
Skopelos has 365 churches and four active monasteries. The island's patron saint is St. Reginios, martyred in February of 362 AD. His feast day is February 25.
The capital of the island is the beautiful town of Skopelos, called "Hora" by many on the island (probably to avoid name confusion), which literally means "land", "territory", or "region". Hora is Skopelos' largest town and harbor (~ 3,000 inhabitants), and is located on the eastern end of Skopelos' north coast. The town rises from the harbor in an amphitheatrical way.
The western side of the island and all its villages face mainland Greece. On the northern end of its West coast is Skopelos' second largest town of Glossa (~ 1,000 inhabitants). Glossa is situated on the mountainside above its port of Loutraki. From the town is a spectacular view of the Aegean and the adjacent island of Skiathos. When the "Maestros" or northwestern wind blows and clears the haze, one can see as far south as the island of Evia, and as far west as the mainland of Greece and Mount Olympus. Glossa's main church is The Dormition of the Virgin Mary, "Panayias," and it celebrates its feast day on August 15th. The small town of Loutraki has always been Glossa's port and has recently grown due to its seaside location and the relocation of the inhabitants of Lower Klima after the 1940s earthquakes.
The island's third largest village, until the earthquakes of 1965 was Klima, which is located on a hillside and overlooks the ocean about 5 km (3 mi) from Glossa. In the 1940's, it was separated by its topography into two communities; Upper Klima ("Ano Klima") which contained the village administration, the school, and the bakery, and Lower Klima ("Kato Klima") which contained the church of Ayïi Anaryeri (The Holy Unmercenaries, Saints Cosmas and Damianos) and the village cemetery. The church was founded in 1828, and it celebrates its feast day on July 1st. Cobblestone streets typical of the island's villages connected the two villages. Both villages had their own coffee shops and general store. Between the two villages were mountain springs which ran constantly for collecting drinking water and washing clothes. The drinking water was brought home in large clay amphoras. Two earthquakes changed the nature of the village forever. The first in the mid 1940's displaced the Lower Klima inhabitants, forcing some to move to Upper Klima and most to move to Loutraki. The second, in 1965, forced the Upper Klima residents to permanently relocate in the 1980s to the newly established village of Klima / Elios located on the water about 4 km away. This relocation was accomplished with the help of the government. What remained of the village slowly declined for a few years until foreign tourists and a few non-local Greeks began buying the dilapidated homes of Upper Klima, and restoring them in the local style for use as vacation homes, thus the integrity of the upper village, most of its homes, and its cobble-stone streets remains.
Before steel and concrete construction, which protects present day buildings from earthquakes, traditional island homes were built from local stone and mud. Some were then whitewashed with asbestos (lime) and their roofs were covered with ceramic tiles. All two story homes had a wooden balcony. Electricity and running water inside of the homes slowly became commonplace starting in the early 1960's. Narrow streets are typical of the island's villages. They are paved with cobblestones and ascend the villages using steps which eliminates automobile access to the villages' interior. An asphalt road was paved in the early 1960's and remains to this day connecting all of the island's villages. The road stretches from Loutraki on one end, to the town of Skopelos on the other, passing all villages and beaches on the way. Travel time is one hour.
The ancestral village of Klima and the island of Skopelos have been recorded under the following names: Klima or Clema or Klima Glossis or Klima Glossa Skopelou or City of Magnesia or Island Skopelos Greece or Skopelau or Skopelou or Scopelos or Scopellos.
Last Update: February 8, 2010
|Created by Constantine V. Polizos. All images and information on this site are property of Victor G.Polizos and may not be used without permission.|