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AGIOS EFSTRATIOS

Agios Efstratios (called Ai Strátis) is a small volcanic island in the northeastern Aegean Sea among Limnos, Lesvos and Skyros. Due to the ruins of its ancient cities and its serene, unspoiled landscape, the island has been declared a Site of Community Importance (SCI) in the European Union and is an important bird sanctuary in Greece.

AGIOS EFSTRATIOS

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The island’s only settlement is located in the valley created by two streams. It was here that the inhabitants of Ai Strátis had their gardens and orchards until the devastating earthquake of 1968. Trawlers and caiques dock in the little port, from which there is a marvellous view of the sunset. Ai Strátis, with its population of 250 permanent residents, has attracted the interest of many researchers, as it lives at its own pace, cut off from the rest of the world by coincidence or idiosyncrasy.
A few days are sufficient to discover the local people’s thirst for communication, their kindness and politeness. They’ll tell you about the gray volcanic beach with its warm water. From the attractive port, alongside the caiques and fishing boats, you will set out in their boats to sail around the island and visit the beaches of Agios Dimitrios, Trygaris, Trypiti, Ftelio, Gournias and Lydario, which are not accessible by road.
The rare fauna of Ai Strátis seek refuge in the sea caves, where the Mediterranean seal nests. Birds of prey and seabirds build their nests on the rocks. The sea floor is covered by what the local people call fykiades (seaweed meadows), the precious habitat of an enormous number of marine organisms, offering natural protection from erosion.
Worth seeing are:
- The Marasleio School that operated as an elementary school until 1968. It was built between 1906-1909, and financed by the community of people from Ai Strátis living in Egypt. Today it houses the Museum of Democracy with exhibits, photographs, authentic objects, hand-written newspapers and videos depicting the life of the people who were exiled on the island.
- The churches of Christ, St. Nicholas and St Basil.
- The chapel of St Minas, on a hill where ancient remains have been found.
- The grave monument of Nikos Sialmas, flying officer of the Hellenic Air Force, who lost his life when his plane crashed in June of 1992.
- The sea caves and interesting geological formations along the island’s coasts.

Source: Visit Greece - The Official website of the Greek Tourism Organisation