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The history of Simi

Simi is a small Greek island that belongs to the Dodecanese archipelago, in the Aegean Sea. This island of around 58 km2 and 2500 inhabitants, can be found at about 430 kilometers from the port of Athens and about 40 kilometers from Rhodes, and is one of the most attractive and charming spots tourists could visit in this region of Greece.

According to the ancient Greek mythology, the island of Simi was named after the wife of Poseidon, called Syme, and was where the Three Graces were born. This island is also mentioned in the Iliad as the place where King Nireus, famous by its role in the Trojan War, would live and from where he would rule and control his domains.

The next information known about Simi is provided by Thucydides who has written that, around the year 410 BC, an important confrontation called the Battle of Syme took place in this island. According to Thucydides, during that battle several Spartan ships arrived to the waters of Simi and defeated a complete squadron of Athenian vessels.

There is not much information known about the history of Simi between that époque mentioned by Thucydides and the 14th century, although archaeologists affirm that it was always inhabited and there are some ruins that confirm that. Towards the 14th century, this island became part of the Roman Empire, and not long after that, and still in the 14th century, it was conquered by the Byzantine Empire.

During the period of time when Simi belonged to the Byzantine Empire it started growing at a fast pace and, in a few decades, became a very prosperous territory. This prosperity endured for several centuries and was mainly based on commercial and shipping activities. During the 16th century, the island was conquered by the Ottoman Empire and its importance as a major commercial spot in the Dodecanese archipelago continued.

Towards the 19th century, when commerce saw a new impulse provided by steam powered shipping, this island became even more prosperous than before, a fact that can be reflected, for example, in the great number of impressing and attractive constructions that were built in it during that époque.