- G Ö K Ç E A D A - I M B R O S

Go to content

Main menu:

About Gökçeada
GOKCEADA (IMBROS):( in ancient times ) The most important settlement in Imroz is Kastro (Kalekoy) which means 'castle' in Latin. In Kalekoy, near the Byzantine walls, there was an Acropolis on the hill. Even today, one can see prehellenistic stones in the walls of the houses and the castle. The Kardamos Bay side of the castle is made up of stone from this period (No serious excavation has taken place. However one can see pottery, bricks, column heads, ancient coins about 2 m. below the surface. Some Imrozians "smart people" have robbed the site. Therefore it is important that such places have to be protected at the earliest date. E.S.). There was a shortage of water in the Kalekoy area and so a cistern on the hill of Roksodas and a dam in the valley were constructed. A German archaelogist dated this dam to the 4th century BC. and he published photographs of its ruins. One can travel from Pinarbasi to the Roksados valley following the right side in the direction of the sea. The valley faces the island of Samethrace. Because of religious ne- cessities the islanders prefered to irrigate Roksados rather than the larger Kastro plain. The temple of Imbramos was in Roksados. It, later, became the temple of Hermes. The ruins of this tample still exist. There was also a Dionysian marble throne, but this was taken to the monastery of Aia Constantin and has since disappeared. (Other noteable places are Tepekoy (Agridia), Pinarbasi (Ispilya), Kalekoy (Kastro), area. Walking from Tepekoy to Marmaros one can see the ancient large jars which contained 500-600 It. of water or olive oil but fortunately they are emtombed. E.S.). Stephanos Vizantios, one of the intellectual of the Hellenistic period, wrote in 'Lexicon' (dictionary) that Imroz was an Agean island and that there was a temple of Hermes there. There was an older jetty in the place of the new one in Kalekoy.
THE ROMAN PERIOD: The roman settlements were mainly in the Aydincik area. The romans were greatly influenced by Greek civilization. Titus Amrius Primus, the Roman administrator of Imroz of the period had his name written in Greek in the inscriptions on the Temple of Hermes. Another interesting inscription of the period was found on the walls of the Aia Andreas monastery in Bademli. It dated back to the 2nd century BC. The names of Imrozian women who had paid 10 drahmis were inscribed there. The Romans admiration for Greek culture is also reflected in Renaissance culture. Nikiforos, the patriarch of Istanbul, wrote that in 776 the Islands of Imroz and Samothrace were attacked by Bulgarians and 2500 slaves were taken to Bulgaria. Howe- ver, they were later returned when Emperor Constantin V paid the ranson demand in 779. The Crusaders conquered Istanbul in 1204 and Imroz was put under the jurisdiction of Galipoli. This continued for 58 years until it was returned in 1262. (The relics of this period exist around Aydincik, Yuvali, Kefaloz, Pirgos). The photograph of the tomb, shown in this book, was taken at Kokine between Aydincik and Yuvali. It is easily seen in this lurid land, beyond a very large cliff, two tombs decorated with an extraordinary carving. The local term for such a tomb is "Sarcophagus" and they can be found in other places on the island too. However none are as easily found as the a forementioned. The stones used in the building of some local houses are very interesting, as they too are relics of the period and should be protected). E.S.
THE OTTOMAN PERIOD: As soon as Istanbul was conquered and the emperor died, a great upheaval occurred on the island. The islanders thought that the Ottoman Navy would attack Imroz first. The rich escaped on boats from Kefaioz (Aydincik) Those remaining were peasant farmers. They had to think abouth how they would live under Ottoman rule. Kritovulos (annalist of Sultan Mehmet the Conqueror, present at the conquest of Istanbul) was one of the few remaining nobelmen. He sent his gifts to Hamza Bey, the Ottoman commander in Gallipoli, in an attempt to persuade them not to hurry to occupy the island. After that he headed a deligation chosen from Tasos, Limni, Semadirek and Imroz. They offered the islands to the Sultan in Hadrianopolis with the request that the social system be preserved. He became administrator of the islands for a short a time. When he was no longer in favour the administration of the islands was given to Palamidis; the moyor of Enez (Enna). The islanders would pay a tax of 1200 gold coins annually. When he died in 1456, the position was once more given to Kritovulos by Mehmet the Conqueror. In 1457 Papa Kolisios sent his brother Lodovic and a great navy to stir a rebellion against the Ottomans in the Aegean Islands. Some of the islands including Limni and Semadirek were seized by the Italians. However Kritovulos saved Imroz from his fate by political maneuvres. Due to his efforts Limni later had to pay 3000 gold coins annually to Dimitrius Paleologos, the despot of the Pele- penese. In 1463, during the Ottoman, Venetian war the island was occupied by Venetian Ad- miral Nikola Victor Cappello, but it was recaptured the same year. In 1467 Venetian Admiral Nikola Canale occupied it again a short time. In 1717 Ottoman Venetian war was fought near the island. The Ottomans destroyed 36 Venetian ships. Imroz was used as a place of exile during the Ottoman period and before it. During the Balkan wars, Imroz was conquered by the Greeks on 1st. October. 1912. But the Athens Agreement guranteed Ottoman rule for Bozcaada, Meis and Imroz. However this agreement fell through after the outbreak of the First World War. During the war, the battleship Goben sank two English ship's. (The Raglan and U28) just off the bay of Kuzulimani. (These wrecks were plundered by pillagers in the 1950's and their timber was used in the construction of Island houses). Turkey gave up her rights to Imroz and Bozcaada under the terms of the Sevres Agaty of Lausanne returned them on July 24th 1923.
From Piri Reis : The famous Turkish naval commander of the 16th century Piri Reis, in his naval book "Kitab-i Bahriye" describes the island: "There is a rumour about the island of Imroz: In Rumeli, opposite Imroz, from the shores of Ece Ovasi to the straits there were sentinels then, as there are now. The island was fortified so that messages to the sentinels could be sent. The watchmen on the island, by smoke in the daytime, and fire at night, would signal the number of ships on the sea. As soon as the seutinels in Ece Ova recieved these messages, they would relay signals to the Rumeli coast and in this way, news would reach Kostantaniyye (Istanbul) in an hour's time. After Konstantin this system of communication continued for a long time. But one day, Venetian ships somehow got a chance, took the island, and occupied it until the reign of Fatih S. Mehmet. After conquering Egriboz, Fatih Sultan Mehmet (Mehmet the Conqueror) took Imroz. Now the island has two fortresses It is a prosperous place. One of these fortress is called Iskinet. It is on a rock, in the middle of the island, far from the shore. The second fortress is called imroz. It is built on a high rock on the sea, looking north. At the foot of this fortress in front of the vi- neyards, there is small bay. The sentinels who are going to the fortress are landed here. It is an open bay and large ships do not anchor. The circumference of the island is 50 miles. The island is a long mountain, the west .is low, the east is high. There is a promontory here, they call it Kefalos Burnu. The Ece Ova coast in Rumeli is 15 miles from this promontory. The tip of the promontory is shallow. One must beware. On the southern side there is a place called Komur Limani (coal harbour). It is a safe place when the winds blow from the north but when it blows from the south one should be careful. From the Komiir Limani to Aynaroz the sea is shallow for about 5 miles. When a ship sails on these shallow waters on a clear day, the bottom can be seen. So let it be known."

Back to content | Back to main menu