(1900 Times Atlas of the World)
1204: the Byzantine Empire is parcelled out among the leaders of the Fourth Crusade, but the small Aegean islands (including Scopello) fall into the hands of Venice: Scopello was ruled by the Ghisi, a family of Venetian merchants.
1276: the island returns under the rule of the reconstituted Byzantine Empire.
1453: the Ottomans conquer Constantinople: Scopello asks for Venetian protection.
1538: Hayreddin Barbarossa, admiral of the Ottoman fleet, seizes Scopello.
Views of Scopello
October 1807. Skopelo is one
of the most flourishing islands
of the Aegean, for which it
is indebted to its wines, sent
by the people in their own
ships to the Black Sea, and
many parts of the Levant;
oranges, lemons, and some
other fruits are also exported.
William Martin Leake - Travels in northern Greece - 1835
Today the town of Skopelos occupies an area much larger than in the XVth century when it was under Venetian rule; the old town, however, is still easily identifiable as it is located on a low hill which sharply falls towards the modern town (left picture above) or towards the sea (right picture above).
Views of the large "Pyrgo" (tower) of Scopello
At the top of the hill, on the site of the ancient acropolis, in the XIIIth century the Ghisi built a small fortress, not much more than a large tower.
A narrow and steep street of Scopello and a view from the tower
The town, which is on the
eastern side of the island, contains about 1200 houses, and
has a striking appearance in
sailing through the channel of
The Ghisi tower ensured control over the bay and it was protected by a maze of very narrow and steep streets, often interrupted by low arches.
Churches of Scopello: (left) Aghii Apostoli; (right) two chapels
It is the residence of the bishop of Sciathus
and Scopelus. The island abounds in sources,
which encourage the growth of
fruit-trees, and enable the inhabitants to raise a sufficiency
of the necessaries of life for
their consumption, with the
exception of bread corn. Leake
The old town is relatively well preserved: as it often occurs on the Aegean islands, the number of churches is extremely high in part because while the rulers were Catholic, their subjects were Orthodox. The church of Aghii Apostoli retains its original appearance with the stones not covered by plaster: it is in part decorated with reliefs and sections of columns taken from buildings of the ancient town.
(left) Panagia son Pirgo (Church on the Tower); (right) detail showing that the small chapel next to it was used as a mosque
The rocks falling into the sea have the appearance of towers and a picturesque church is thus called the "Church on the tower", although there is no evidence of a tower. The small chapel next to the church (shown in the image used as a background for this page) retains a small fountain where the Turks washed their feet and a niche indicating the direction of Mecca.
View from the sea and tower on the eastern side of the town
The island Halonesus, celebrated by
means of one of the orations of Demosthenes, for
Strabo, who takes no notice of Scopelus, shows
Halonesus to have been one of the principal islands
on the Magnesian coast and names it together
with Sciathus and Peparethus, the same two
islands which Ptolemy about two centuries afterwards associates with
Scopelus without naming Halonesus. It was probably
Khilidhromia, an island of about the same size
as Skopelo, and which, although now little inhabited or cultivated, produces wine, which finds a
good market at Saloniki. Leake
Alonissos is the modern name of an island next to Scopello: the size of the island is similar to that of Scopello, but only its southern part is populated: in the past it was called Khiliodromia; while old maps are generally relatively accurate in positioning Scopello and nearby Schiatto, Alonissos is often wrongly located or even ignored.
Views from the town westwards (towards Scopello) and eastwards
The small village at its southern tip enjoys excellent views in almost all directions. It is visible from the town of Scopello and its inhabitants signalled the arrival of corsairs or other enemies by lighting fires.
Introductory page on the Venetian Fortresses in Greece
List of the fortresses
|Geographic area||Location||Ionian Islands||Corfų (Kerkyra) Paxo (Paxi) Santa Maura (Lefkadas) Cefalonia (Kephallonia) Asso (Assos) Itaca (Ithaki) Zante (Zachintos) Cerigo (Kythera)||Greek Mainland||Butrinto (Butrint) Parga Preveza and Azio (Aktion) Vonizza (Vonitsa) Lepanto (Nafpaktos) Atene (Athens)||Peloponnese (Morea)||Castel di Morea (Rio), Castel di Rumelia (Antirio) and Patrasso (Patra) Castel Tornese (Hlemoutsi) and Glarenza Navarino (Pilo) and Calamata Modon (Methoni) Corone (Koroni) Braccio di Maina, Zarnata, Passavā and Chielefā Mistrā Corinto (Korinthos) Argo (Argos) Napoli di Romania (Nafplio) Malvasia (Monemvassia)||Aegean Islands||Negroponte (Chalki) Castelrosso (Karistos) Oreo Lemno (Limnos) Schiatto (Skiathos) Scopello (Skopelos) Alonisso Schiro (Skyros) Andro (Andros) Tino (Tinos) Micono (Mykonos) Siro (Syros) Egina (Aegina) Spezzia (Spetse) Paris (Paros) Antiparis (Andiparos) Nasso (Naxos) Serifo (Serifos) Sifno (Syphnos) Milo (Milos) Argentiera (Kimolos) Santorino (Thira) Folegandro (Folegandros) Stampalia (Astipalea)||Crete||Grambusa (Granvousa) Castello (Kasteli/Kissamos) La Canea (Xania) Souda Candia (Iraklion) Rettimo (Rethymno) Spinalonga and Castel Mirabello Castles on the southern coast Sittia and Paleocastro|
You may refresh your knowledge of the history of Venice in the Levant by reading an abstract from
the History of Venice by Thomas Salmon, published in 1754. The Italian text is accompanied by an English summary.