The title is a truism of course… Neither in Alonissos island or elsewhere in Greece there are pirates . Piracy in the Greek seas ended around the late 19th century; in fact since the new Greek state was created after the revolution war of 1821.
So neither piracy nor pirates are there then. But here is their museum .
I went to see this museum, that summer morning after I had finished fishing . My fisherman friend dropped us at the port of Alonissos, called Patitiri . The coast smelled seaweed and delicious fresh seafood. Next to the pier a fisherman was cleaning sea breams, a bucket of them…
Fishermen from Alonissos are quite lucky, as though they say that things are not what they used to be at sea. Even so their catches are among the richest in the Aegean sea. They have the chance to fish along a small archipelago surrounded by countless reefs and shoals : some of the most vibrant fishing waters of the Mediterranean are here!
Islanders here were not always anglers. They were mostly farmers, although the profession that flourished during the history of Alonissos island was piracy; local and imported piracy. “Alonissos did not had a naval tradition but It had piracy. It was an ideal place for ambush with so many islets around…” told me earlier my friend Costas Maurikis, the owner of the museum of Piracy ( more correctly History Museum of Alonissos) at Patitiri, an experienced diver and a keen researcher of the history of the island. “After the revolution of 1821 , piracy still existed and the place was called Pirates’ Nests…Even Admiral Miaoulis came here with the royal fleet to hunt the pirates . “
Till 1910 the nearby islet of Psathoura was a boundary of the Greek state. This suited the pirates very much, because they hit Thessaloniki (a Turkish territory then) and afterwards found refuge here quickly, hidden in other deserted islands of the Northern Sporades.
We saw the pirate relics’ collection at the Museum of Costas and then got out at a lovely balcony for a coffee. The picturesque bay in Patitiri was in front of us, surrounded by pine trees and plenty of cement buildings. Yes, cement thrived in poor Patitiri .
The History Museum of Alonissos is the most important thing at the beautiful port: a small gem in Alonissos ! It includes the collection of Angela and Costas Mavrikis divided into wards; Piracy, Archaeology , National Memory and Folklore . The private collection of underwater antiquities is the largest in Greece ! But the most special ward is the pirate museum, a stunning collection that has countless rare items: from handcuffs to hold slaves, pirates’ trombones and nail bombs as iron needles that nailed those pirates jumped aboard at the time of the battle! The top exhibit – in my opinion of course – is an anchor for grabbing ships at a sea fight! I stood in front of the shelves for hours trying to imagine the Pirates of the Aegean and how they used their operational paraphernalia. What a time that was …
My trip to Alonissos that time was completed in front of these windows of the museum. So much I liked it (the only problem is that I could not take pictures because my camera had died : a shame ) .
Consider your trip to Alonissos unfinished if you did not see this Museum !
I told you, however …
Where am I ?
In Alonissos , one of the beautiful islands of the Northern Sporades group of islands, in Thessaly. Alonissos is the most remote island of this group and it is surrounded by many deserted islets, and here is the Marine Park of Northern Sporades . The best and most popular way to get here is by boat (regular ferry or high speed boat) from Volos and Agios Konstantinos village (where you get by car). The quickest way is to arrive here is by plane at the neighboring island of Skiathos and then travel by ferry boat to Alonissos .
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