Last modified: 2014-09-28 by ivan sache
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Flag of Angistri - Image by Eugene Ipavec, 22 September 2005
The municipality of Angistri (920 inhabitants in 2001, 1,337 ha; municipal website) is made of the island of the name. The municipal seat is the village of Megalochori (Μεγαλοχώρι, 461 inh.).
The ancient name of the island was Kekryfalia (Κεκρυφάλεια, "Embellished Head". Angistri is referred by this name by Homer as ally of Aegina island in the Trojan War
(Iliad, epos A', raps. B', verse 562). Thucydides (470-335 B.C.) and Diodoros (90-21 B.C.) also refer to Angistri by the name Kekryfalia. Excavations have brought to light several archaeological findings that show that the island was already inhabited 2500 years ago.
Angistri together with the surrounding islands constituted the Kingdom of Aegina under the mythical King Aeakos. Several areas are of archaeological interest such as Megaritissa, Aponissos (Απονήσος), as well as Kontari. Angistri was subjected many times to the influence of Aegina's tumultuous history.
Along the west coast, close to the surface of the water are seen remnants of buildings from the pre-Christian period. Archaeological findings of the island are exhibited in the Cultural Centre in Megalochóri.
In the 14th century the island became a haven for Albanian refugees
(Arvanites), who first fled the expansion of the Serbian Empire under Stefan Dušan and later
when Albania was part of the Ottoman Empire. The Albanian influence can still be seen in the long colourful dresses and headscarves of some of the older women, particularly in Megalochori.
Angistri was not continuously inhabited. The island appears as abandoned at the end of the 17th century, most possibly because of the frequent pirate raids in the area, to which such a small island was particularly vulnerable.
In 1821 the island was inhabited although the population was too small to be mentioned in a census of the time. By 1835, however, a municipality was established in Angistri by Royal Decree, 248 inhabitants being mentioned.
In the 1920s Angistri was again barely inhabited. However, in the
1940s-1990s, Angistri was one of the few smaller Greek islands whose
population actually increased. Today the population is below 1,000,
reaching around 4,500 during the summer.
Traditionally the island's main products have been pine resin (used for making retsina wine), olive oil, figs, barley and fruit. However, during the latter half of the 20th century the economy has come to be based on tourism rather than agriculture.
Eugene Ipavec, 23 September 2005
The flag of Angistri (municipal website) is blue with a golden border, a golden cross* in the middle, a golden fish hook (Angistri means "a fish hook" in Greek) in the upper left corner and the writing ΝΙΣΟΣ ΑΓΚΙΣΤΡΙ (Island of Angistri).
Valentin Poposki, Eugene Ipavec & Panayiotis Panayiotou, 1 November 2005
*This cross shape, made from the intersections of five circles, is called in Portuguese heraldry a "Templar Cross", though this it is well known to be a recent concoction, as Templars used several different cross shapes and this shape has been also used for unrelated purposes. Nonetheless it is used to represent the Knights Templar in current Portuguese heraldry, notably in subnational coat of arms.
António Martins, 23 September 2005