Anafi History

Anafi is a small island in the Cyclades, located to the east of Santorini. According to mythology, Anafi emerged from the Aegean Sea when the Argonauts prayed to Apollo, the god of music and light, to save them from the angry sea. That is why the Argonauts built a temple dedicated to this god, whose worship was widespread on the island. Remains of this temple can still be found near the Monastery of Panagia Kalamiotissa. It is said that Anafi was first occupied by the Phoenicians and later by the Dorians. Following them, in the 5th century BC, it was conquered by Athens.

During the Middle Ages, it became part of the Duchy of Naxos and, later on, the stronghold of several Venetian royal families. In 1207 AD, Anafi came under Frankish rules The Castle of Krispi (a.k.a. Glezos Tower) built on the top of the hill of Chora was characteristic of this period, as it used to be the shelter of the inhabitants against pirates and enemies. In the 14th century, the Ottomans took control over the island and established a severe regime. In 1537, the history of Anafi is marked by the attack of pirate Barbarosa, who sold all the male inhabitants as slaves and slaughtered the women and children.

The island was liberated by the Turkish occupation in 1830, along with the other Cyclades islands. Since then, its economy is poor due to its small size and few inhabitants. That is why most of the inhabitants in the 1830s-1940s moved to the capital and settled in the district of Plaka, right in the center of Athens. Their new neighborhood was named Anafiotika and today it is the loveliest and most picturesque area of Plaka. Today, Anafi bases its economy mostly on fishing, agriculture, and tourism. In fact, only over the last years has tourism developed in Anafi and the tourists that go there are looking for extreme peace and quiet, as the tourist amenities on the island are few.