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IKARIA was named for Icarus.

Icarus was banished to Crete along with his father Daedalus, after Daedalus revealed the secret of the Labyrinth for which he had designed. Icarus, with a pair of wings made from feathers and wax, attempted to escape from by flying away, however not heeding the warning of his father, Icarus flew too close to the sun causing the wax to melt and the wings to disintegrate which in turn caused Icarus to plunge to his death on the rocky shores of Ikaria.

Ikaria is situated in the Aegean Sea between Mykonos and Samos. It is the southernmost island in the archipelagos referred to as the Northern Aegean Islands. Ikaria is a long, narrow island with an area of approximately 255 sq. km and a coastline of 102 km. With a resident population of about 8,000, Ikaria is 142 nautical miles (8.5 hours by ferry) from the mainland gateway port city of Piraeus and is part of the Prefecture of Samos. It is believed that Ikaria has been inhabited since the 9th century BC when the Ionians colonized the island. Two centuries later it was already a regional power and then became part of the Athenian Alliance in the 5th century BC during Greece's classical period. From about the 4th century AD Ikaria fell under the control of the Byzantine Empire, which lasted until the beginning of the Crusades in 1205. Starting in the 13th century AD it was controlled by the Venetians, continuing until 1524 when the Ottoman Turks wrested controlled and made it part of then Ottoman Empire. In July of 1912, Ikarians rose in revolt and gained their freedom, founding the Ikarian Republic, with its own currency and stamps. Four months later the Kingdom of Greece sent a fleet of Naval ships to Ikaria and proclaim the island part of its kingdom. During Byzantine rule Ikaria was the island used to exile nobles and palace officials. As a result, some say the islands population today has a reputation of slight eccentricity. This manifests it self in ways such as the town of Christos Raches, which, nestled high in the mountains in central Ikaria's wine growing region, is famous for not opening its business district doors until after 10pm and staying open well into the wee hours of the morning. Ikaria, about 150 miles south of Chios, is an island of soaring mountains, winding roads and thick forests.

The main port and capital, Agios Kirykos, is a small yet quaint town on the southern coast of the island and is adjacent to the spa towns of Therma and Therma Lefkadas. The north side of the island is a beach lover's delight with its stretches of fine sandy beaches said to be the best in all of Greece. Ikaria is the ideal island for those looking for pure and wild nature coupled with clear seas and pristine beaches.

 

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