Last modified: 2010-04-24 by ivan sache
Keywords: agistri | cross: templar (yellow) | fishhook (yellow) |
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Flag of Agistri - Image by Eugene Ipavec, 22 September 2005
Quoting the Agistri official website:
The ancient name of the island was Kekrifalia, meaning 'embellished head'. Agistri is referred by this name by Homer as ally of Aegina island in Trojan War (Iliad, epos A', raps. B', verse 562). Thucydides (470-335 B.C.) and Diodoros (90-21 B.C.) also refer to Agistri by the name 'Kekrifalia'. Excavations have brought to light several archaeological finds of great interest that show that the island was inhabited 2500 years ago.
Agistri 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, as well as Kontari. Agistri, many times was subjected the influence of Aegina's tumultuous history.
Along the west coast and at close to the surface of the water one can see remnants of buildings from the pre-Christian period. Archaeological findings of the island are exhibited in the Cultural Centre in Megalochori (Milos).
During the 14th century the island became a haven for Albanian refugees (Arvanites), first from Serbian imperial expansion under Stephen Dusan and later in the years when the region 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 (Milos).
Agistri was not inhabited continuously. It appears that at the end of the 17th century it was abandoned, most possibly because of the frequent pirate raids in the area to which a small island such as this 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 in Agistri was formed by Royal Decree and 248 inhabitants were mentioned.
In the 1920s Agistri was again barely inhabited but in the period between the 1940s and the 1990s, Agistri was one of the few smaller Greek Islands whose population actually increased. Today the population is just over 1,000 that reaches around the 4,500 during the summer.
Traditionally the island's main products have been pine resin (used for making retsina), 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.
Today the island has four communities: Megalochori (or Milos), Skala, Metochi and Limenaria. The seat of the municipality is in Megalochori.
Eugene Ipavec, 23 September 2005
The flag of Agistri, as shown on the Agistri official website, is blue with a golden border, a golden cross in the middle, a golden fishhook (agistri means "fishhook" in Greek) in the upper left corner and the writing ΝΙΣΟΣ ΑΓΚΙΣΤΡΙ (Island of Agistri).
Valentin Poposki, Eugene Ipavec & Panayiotis Panayiotou, 1 November 2005
This cross shape, made from 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