Fourni is a complex of islands that lie between Samos and Ikaria, Eastern Aegean islands. The complex includes two large islands, Fourni Korseon, and Thymena which are the only inhabited islands of Fourni, and 10 smaller islands. Fourni Town is the largest settlement of the complex with a population of 1,500 inhabitants, while few people also leave in Thymena village, on the opposite island.
The history of Fourni island begins from at least the 1st century B.C. and one of the greatest findings on the island is a Roman sarcophagus excavated in 1927. In the Byzantine and the Roman times, the island was gradually deserted as it became a shelter for pirates. Today, the majority of the villagers are fishermen, although during the summer season they are occupied in tourist activities, like rental accommodation. Actually, the fishing activity of Fourni has accentuated the island as one of the best fishing fleets in Greece.
Almost hidden from the rest of the islands and far from the port of Piraeus (long ferry trip, no airport), Fourni is at first the ideal destination for backpackers, romantic couples and families who want to escape the noisy crowd of the city center. The port of Fourni is filled with fishing boats and as the ferry approaches, you see a small town built amphitheatrically along the mountain slopes till the port side. The waterfront is filled with taverns and restaurants that serve incredible dishes from their local cuisine. You can sit in one of the tree-shaded tables outside and enjoy the magnificent view of the sea and watch the people passing by in the one and only busy street of the village.
Few shops are available in Fourni but facilities are enough for the limited number of tourists it receives every summer. The ideal place for true relaxation, Fourni has more than 30 beaches and coves all around and in many of them it is likely to be alone all day long. Due to the small distances, many beaches in Fourni can be reached on foot. Others can be also reached by boat, but most visitors usually rent a bike so that they travel long distances. Psili Ammos is a nice beach close to the town, Kambi is the most popular beach, while Petrokopio amazes visitors with its natural beauty.
Koumara is another lovely beach but requires some walking to get there. Other nice places to swim include Agia Triada, Bali, Chrissomilia, Vlihada and Elidaki, some sandy and others pebbled. Fourni is also a nice island for trekking. Distances are small, the landscape is interesting and cliffs lead you to get the best view of the vast Aegean Sea and the close Greek islands.
Fourni is the largest of the three island complex, including Thimaina and Agios Minas. It is an ideal destination for those who are not interested in the cosmopolitan resorts and the organized beaches. Fourni architecture is very interesting from the very beginning. The first houses on Fourni island were small and similar to each other, made of wood, seaweed, and mud from Thimaina. The first house was built in 1885 on the village square with two floors, windows, and stairs outside the door leading to the second floor.
Today, many of the houses in Fourni Greece are built with wooden roofs and stone stairs. They have a quite simple structure with wooden balconies and nice decoration. During the last years, the island has adopted the typical Aegean architecture including tower replicas. Chora of Fourni remains almost untouched by time with its narrow streets and traditional windmills that create the island's magical atmosphere. The peaceful island is ideal for a trekking experience where you will come across many small chapels with round domes at the most unlikely spots.
Visitors can enjoy their stay in many of the traditional hotels that have respected the traditional architecture.
Traditional products can be found all around Fourni, an island with virgin nature and a great climate. Among them is thyme honey, a local product with supreme quality that reflects the local climate and sunshine periods. Also, goat cheese is one of their local products of Fourni as well as mizithra cheese. Cattle-breeding is limited in Fourni, but enough for the locals.
Among all that, fresh fish is an abundant product of the island that you can find in all taverns and houses, cooked in a variety of ways. In fact, the locals have one of the largest fishing fleets in the Greek islands and their economy is mainly based on fishing and tourism.
The history of Fourni begins from ancient times, yet there is small evidence from that time. The island was known by the name Korsaioi islands and according to the historians, it was first inhabited in the 1st century BC from the Korsets. Archeological findings prove that the island had been inhabited during the Hellenistic times.
These findings include the sarcophagus that was found south of the church of Agios Nikolaos in 1927 and today decorates the square of the village. Also, marble columns of Dorian order have been found in the area of Kamari and lastly remains of a temple of Poseidon has been excavated in Chrysomilia. Throughout the Byzantine Times and the Turkish domination, Fourni was deserted as it became the pirate base of operations. According to some urban legends, many pirates have hidden their treasures in several spots of the island and secluded caves.
In the 19th century, piracy was confronted by the Greek Navy and people could again inhabit the remote islands of the Aegean. Therefore, by the end of the 19th century, the island had been inhabited again. During World War II, Fourni fell under Italian occupation. At that time, many people fled with boats to Cyprus and Egypt.
In the 1950s and 1960s, most parts of the local population migrated to large towns in Greece or abroad in search of a better life. Today, the island has about 1,500 permanent residents. The main occupation of the locals is tourism and fishing and in fact, they have one of the best fishing fleets in Greece. The history of Fournoi has been marked by many events throughout the ages.
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