History – Geography
Alonissos joined the Greek state in 1832, along with the rest of Sporades. Its current name was given between the years of 1836 and 1838 and replaced its former name which was Liadromia or Chiliadromia or Cheliodromi. The name Alonissos was considered to be the ancient name of the island, something that was proven to be wrong later on. However, the name remained. Researches concluded that the ancient name of the island was Ikos and Alonissos was the name of Kyra Panagia, a small island nearby.
According to mythology, North Sporades were created by the two Giant brothers Otos and Ephialtes (also called Aloades). The two brothers threw mountains in the sea in their efforts to expand the land into the sea. Their ultimate aim was to place Mount Pelion on top of mount Kissavos in order to reach Zeus and the rest of the gods in Olympus and defeat them.
The first traces of human presence on the island are placed chronologically in the middle Paleolithic period (100.000 BC – 33.000 BC). Findings on islet Vrachos just across Cape Kokkinokastro show that this area was used by hunters who manufactured tools, cut up large preys into smaller pieces and processed their skins. The presence of large preys reinforces the theory, according to which, during the Pleistocene period the sea level was much lower than it is today and North Sporades were joined with Magnesia with land, making the crossing for humans and animals feasible.
In the Geometric period (1100 BC – 700BC) Alonissos and the nearby islands were the hideout of pirates called Dolopes. Alonissos was near the trade sea routes of that era. Kimon, an Athenian general expelled Dolopes from the area and the island joined the Athenian Alliance.
In the Classical period (500 BC – 323 BC) Alonissos was renowned for its wines which were a sought after good in eastern Mediterranean. It is during this period that the island issues its own currency, a coin bearing the inscription IKION. Possession of the island changes hands twice between the Athenians and the Macedonians. The latter, implementing the scorched earth policy, will burn the island in 199 BC in order to block the supply of the roman fleet. Alonissos along with the rest of Northern Sporades will be granted to the Athenians by the Romans again in 42 BC.
Alonissos will resurface in history after the first Fall of Constantinople in 1204 when it will be occupied by the Francs. During the 15th century we have the first references of the name Diadromi which will be paraphrased to Liadromia later on. After 1453 and the second Fall of Constantinople the island will be occupied by the Venetians up to 1538. It is during this year that the Turkish fleet lead by Barbarossa will invade and loot the island enslaving its inhabitants. The population will start to grow again during the Greek Revolution of 1821, when refugees from the mainland will seek sanctuary in Northern Sporades.
Alonissos lies in the Northern Aegean sea and belongs to the island group of Sporades (the rest of the islands being Skyros, Skiathos and Skopelos). Its distance from Volos is 65 nautical miles. The total area of the island is about 65 square kilometers and its total coast line is 67 kilometers. Alonissos is rather mountainous with the highest peaks being Kouvouli (476m) and Geladias (456m). The old village is built in 200m above sea level. The 2011 population census showed that municipality of Alonissos has 1.881 citizens. The largest settlement on the island is Patitiri (winepress) which is also the islands port. In Patitiri the visitor can find the police and fire station, infirmary, pharmacies, post office, a branch of National Bank of Greece and the Town Hall. Other large settlements on the island are Votsi and Steni Vala.