North Aegean islands

The North Aegean islands are a number of disconnected islands in the north Aegean Sea, also known as the Northeast Aegean islands, belonging to Greece and Turkey. The islands do not form a physical chain or group, but are frequently grouped together for tourist or administrative purposes. To the south are the Dodecanese islands; and to the west are the Cyclades and Sporades islands.

Within this group, the main islands in the northeastern Aegean Sea and along the Turkish coast are the Greek islands of Samos, Ikaria, Chios, Lesbos, Lemnos, Agios Efstratios, Psara, Fournoi Korseon, Oinousses and the Turkish islands of Imbros (Gökçeada), Tenedos (Bozcaada) and the Rabbit or Tavşan Islands. The main islands in the Thracian Sea in the far north are the Greek islands of Samothrace and Thasos.

Aegean Sea with island groups labeled
North Aegean islands (center) are not in a physical chain.
Northern Aegean relief location map
Northern Aegean Sea map.


From the Mesolithic Age, the North Aegean, as indeed the entire Aegean, ceased to be an obstacle and became a bridge joining the inhabitants of the region. Shipping, trade, economy, culture and social interactions developed in the archipelago and surrounding areas on the basis of communication and contact between the inhabitants. This was especially true after the permanent settlement of the islands 5000 years BC.

The islands of the north Aegean were in such a position that shipping and trade contributed greatly to the development of a significant culture. The culture reaches its peak around 3000BC. The growth of settlements such as Poliochnis in Lemnos, Emporiou in Chios and Iraiou in Samos, amongst others, are evidence of the importance of these centers at this time.

By ca. 2000 BC the Ionians had installed themselves in Chios while Samos and Lesvos are in the hands of the Achaeans. In the late 12th and early 11th centuries BC, a time when vast numbers of the people moved to Greece, the Aioleis arrived in Lesvos.

From the 8th to the 5th century BC the islands enjoyed great prosperity in their economy, trade and the arts. The islands were conquered by the Persians in the Greco-Persian Wars in the 5th century BC. After their release in 468 BC they made an alliance with Athens. However, during the Peloponnesian War (429-404 BC ) their allegiance swayed between Athens and Sparta. In 338 BC the Macedonians came into power followed by Ptolemaic Egypt. After this period the islands suffered the same fate as the rest of Greece by becoming the province of the Roman Empire. During the Byzantine era there is calm in the North Aegean, but from the 7th century on this was disrupted by Arab raids.

After the conquest of Constantinople by the Franks in 1204 the islands find themselves shared amongst the Venetians, Genoese and Frank princes (Frankokratia). Under this rule shipping and trade flourished. The fall of Constantinople in 1453 and the founding of the Ottoman Empire resulted in a period of destruction, plundering and persecution for the islands. The occupation also led to the decline of the Christian population. In the early 16th century the islands began to enjoy a period of prosperity.

The inhabitants of the islands were actively involved in the Greek War of Independence and the emergence of leaders in the struggle such as Lykourgos Logothetis, Constantine Kanaris and Dimitrios Papanikolis brought about reprisals from the Turkish authorities. The massacres of Chios in 1822 and Psara in 1824 brought attention from European powers which helped the Greek cause.

However, due to their position, close to the Asia Minor coast, the Turks did not let go of their hold on the islands easily. It was not until 1912 when the islands of the north Aegean were finally incorporated into the Greek state during the First Balkan War.

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Coordinates: 37°48′00″N 23°27′00″E / 37.8000°N 23.4500°E

Aegean Sea

The Aegean Sea is an elongated embayment of the Mediterranean Sea located between the Greek and Anatolian peninsulas, or between the mainlands of Greece and Turkey. The sea has an area of some 215,000 square kilometres. In the north, the Aegean is connected to the Marmara Sea and the Black Sea by the straits of the Dardanelles and Bosphorus. The Aegean Islands, numbering over are within the sea and some bound it on its southern periphery, including Crete and Rhodes. Along with the Ionian Sea, which it connects to the southwest, the Aegean Sea contain some 1415 islands. The sea reaches a maximum depth of 3,544 meters, to the east of Crete.

The Aegean Islands can be divided into several island groups, including Dodecanese, the Cyclades, the Sporades, the Saronic islands, and the North Aegean Islands, as well as Crete and its surrounding islands. The Dodecanese, located to the southeast, includes the islands of Rhodes, Kos, and Patmos; the islands of Delos and Naxos are within the Cyclades to the south of the sea. Lesbos is part of the North Aegean Islands. Euboea, the second largest island in Greece, is located in the Aegean, despite being administered as part of Central Greece. Nine out of twelve of the Administrative regions of Greece border the sea, along with the Turkish provinces of Edirne, Canakkale, Balıkesir, Izmir, Aydın and Muğla to the east of the sea. Various Turkish islands in the sea are Imbros, Tenedos, Cunda Island, and the Foça Islands.

The Aegean Sea has been historically important, especially in regards to the civilization of Ancient Greece, who inhabited the area around the coast of the Aegean and the Aegean islands. The Aegean islands facilitated contact between the people of the area. and between Europe and Asia. Along with the Greeks, Thracians lived among the northern coast. The Romans conquered the area under the Roman Empire, and later the Byzantine Empire held it against advances by the First Bulgarian Empire. The Fourth Crusade weakened Byzantine control of the area, and it was eventually conquered by the Ottoman Empire, with the exception of Crete, which was a Venetian colony until 1669. The Greek War of Independence allowed a Greek state on the coast of the Aegean from 1829 onwards. The Ottoman Empire held a presence over the sea for over 500 years until their dissolution, when it was replaced by modern Turkey.

The sea was traditionally known as the Archipelago (in Ancient Greek, Ἀρχιπέλαγος, meaning "chief sea"), but in English the meaning of Archipelago has changed to refer to the Aegean Islands and, generally, to any island group. The rocks making up the floor of the Aegean are mainly limestone, though often greatly altered by volcanic activity that has convulsed the region in relatively recent geologic times. Of particular interest are the richly coloured sediments in the region of the islands of Santorini and Milos, in the south Aegean. Notable cities on the Aegean coastline include Thessaloniki, Kavala and Heraklion in Greece, and İzmir and Bodrum in Turkey.

A set of issues concerning sovereignty within the Aegean Sea have been and remains disputed between Greek and Turkey. Known as the Aegean dispute, it has had a large effect on Greek-Turkish relations since the 1970s. These include the delimitation of territorial waters, national airspace, exclusive economic zones and flight information regions.


Ammouliani (Greek: Αμμουλιανή, Ammoulianí), also known as Amoliani, is an island located in the Chalkidiki regional unit, Greece, 120 km (75 mi) from Thessaloniki. Administratively it is part of the municipal unit of Stagira-Akanthos. As of 2011, the resident population of the island was 547.

Ayvalık Islands Nature Park

Ayvalık Islands (Latin: Hecatonnesi, Ancient Greek: Ἑκατόννησοι, romanized: Hekatonesoi), are the group of islands around Ayvalık district of Turkey in Balıkesir Province in the Northeastern Aegean Sea. There are 22 islands and numerous rocks in the group, with Cunda Island, now a peninsula, being the largest. People live only on Cunda and Lale Islands. Cunda and Lale islands are linked to Ayvalık on the mainland, by a causeway enabling transportation by car. Cunda also has a ferry link from the main town, Alibey, to Ayvalık during the summer.

A Greek Orthodox metropolis was established, based in Cunda island, for some months in 1922.Wild life can be observed on the other islands, especially wild rabbits on Ilyosta Island. Also, those islands are the main points of interest to tourists as having small beaches and bays.

Chryse (island)

Chryse (Greek: Χρύση, romanized: Khrúsē, lit. 'Golden') was a small island in the Aegean Sea mentioned by Homer, Sophocles and Pausanias.

The island's main feature was said to be its temple to Apollo, and its patron deity a goddess named Chryse. The Greek archer Philoctetes stopped there on his way to Troy and was fatally bitten by a viper. Lucullus captured three men there in an ambush during the Third Mithridatic War. The island seems to have disappeared by the 2nd century AD; it is mentioned by Pausanias and Appian. An ancient oracle (written by Onomacritus) may have predicted this end.The Description of Greece says:

The following incident proves the might of Fortune to be greater and more marvellous than is shown by the disasters and prosperity of cities. No long sail from Lemnos was once an island Chryse, where, it is said, Philoctetes met with his accident from the water-snake. But the waves utterly overwhelmed it, and Chryse sank and disappeared in the depths... So temporary and utterly weak are the fortunes of men.

An amateur underwater archaeologist claimed to have rediscovered the island in 1960, identifying it with "a sunken land mass known as Kharos Bank, a 10-sq.-mi. area near the island of Lemnos", listed on British naval charts and located about 40 feet (12 m) below the surface. White building blocks (presumably from Apollo's temple) were said to be visible on the sea floor. The Kharos Bank is mentioned by others as a possible site, but there does not appear to have been further work on it.

Cunda Island

Cunda Island, also called Alibey Island, (Turkish: Cunda Adası, Alibey Adası), Greeks called it Moschonisi (Greek: Μοσχονήσι or Μοσχονήσος), is the largest of the Ayvalık Islands archipelago in Turkey, which was historically called the Εκατόνησα (Hekatonisa) or Μοσχονήσια (Moschonisia) archipelago in Greek. It lies in the Edremit gulf on the Turkey's northwestern coast, off the coast of Ayvalık in Balıkesir Province, Turkey, with an area of 23 square kilometres (9 sq mi). It is located 16 kilometres (10 miles) east of Lesbos, Greece.

Harpalus affinis

Harpalus affinis is a species of ground beetle native to the Palearctic, and introduced in the Nearctic and the Australasian region. In Europe, it is only absent in the following countries or islands: the Azores, the Canary Islands, the Channel Islands, Crete, Cyclades, Dodecanese, the Faroe Islands, Franz Josef Land, Gibraltar, Iceland, Madeira, Malta, Monaco, the North Aegean islands, Novaya Zemlya, San Marino, the Savage Islands, Sicily, Svalbard and Jan Mayen, and Vatican City. Its presence on the Balearic Islands and Sardinia is doubtful.

Imbros and Tenedos

Imbros and Tenedos, also known by their official names since 1970 of Gökçeada and Bozcaada, are two neighboring North Aegean islands which belong to Turkey. They form the districts of Gökçeada and Bozcaada, in Çanakkale province.

They are or have been treated or considered together for various purposes at different times:

in the Treaty of Lausanne of 1923, which awarded them to Turkey, under special provisions for the Greek minority living there

in a 2008 Council of Europe report

as a Metropolis of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople

List of Aegean Islands

This is a list of Aegean Islands. Except for Cunda, Uzunada, Rabbit Islands, Imbros, and Tenedos, which belong to Turkey, all these are Greek territory.

List of islands of Greece

Greece has a large number of islands, with estimates ranging from somewhere around 1,200 to 6,000, depending on the minimum size to take into account. The number of inhabited islands is variously cited as between 166 and 227.The largest Greek island by area is Crete, located at the southern edge of the Aegean Sea. The second largest island is Euboea, which is separated from the mainland by the 60m-wide Euripus Strait, and is administered as part of the Central Greece region. After the third and fourth largest Greek Islands, Lesbos and Rhodes, the rest of the islands are two-thirds of the area of Rhodes, or smaller.

The Greek islands are traditionally grouped into the following clusters: the Argo-Saronic Islands in the Saronic gulf near Athens; the Cyclades, a large but dense collection occupying the central part of the Aegean Sea; the North Aegean islands, a loose grouping off the west coast of Turkey; the Dodecanese, another loose collection in the southeast between Crete and Turkey; the Sporades, a small tight group off the coast of Euboea; and the Ionian Islands, chiefly located to the west of the mainland in the Ionian Sea. Crete with its surrounding islets and Euboea are traditionally excluded from this grouping.

Nemapogon orientalis

Nemapogon orientalis is a moth of the family Tineidae. It is found and Lebanon, Russia, Ukraine, as well as on Cyprus, Crete and the North Aegean Islands.

North Aegean

The North Aegean (Greek: Περιφέρεια Βορείου Αιγαίου) is one of the thirteen administrative regions of Greece. It comprises the islands of the north-eastern Aegean Sea, called the North Aegean islands, except for Thasos and Samothrace, which belong to the Greek region of Eastern Macedonia and Thrace, and Imbros and Tenedos, which belong to Turkey.

Orthotylus intricatus

Orthotylus intricatus is a species of bug in the Miridae family that is endemic to North Aegean islands.

Orthotylus lesbicus

Orthotylus lesbicus is a species of bug in the Miridae family that is endemic to North Aegean islands.

Poecilus cupreus

Poecilus cupreus is a species of ground beetle native to the Palearctic (including Europe). In Europe, it is found in almost every country, and is only absent in a number of small states and islands: Andorra, the Azores, the Canary Islands, the Channel Islands, the Cyclades Islands, Cyprus, the Dodecanese Islands, the Faroe Islands, Franz Josef Land, Gibraltar, Iceland, Madeira, Malta, Monaco, the North Aegean Islands, Novaya Zemlya, San Marino, Selvagens Islands, Svalbard and Jan Mayen, and Vatican City.


Samothrace (also Samothraki, Samothracia) (Ancient Greek: Σαμοθρᾴκη, Ionic Σαμοθρηΐκη; Greek: Σαμοθράκη, [samoˈθraci]) is a Greek island in the northern Aegean Sea. It is a municipality within the Evros regional unit of Thrace. The island is 17 km (11 mi) long and is 178 km2 (69 sq mi) in size and has a population of 2,859 (2011 census). Its main industries are fishing and tourism. Resources on the island include granite and basalt. Samothrace is one of the most rugged Greek islands, with Mt. Saos and its tip Fengari rising to 1,611 m (5,285 ft).

Tavşan Islands, Çanakkale

The Rabbit Islands (Turkish: Tavşan adaları or Karayer adaları) are a group of small uninhabited Turkish islands in the northern Aegean Sea. They are situated approximately four nautical miles (7 km (4 mi)) off the mainland coast of the Turkish province of Çanakkale, 6 miles (10 kilometres) north of the island of Tenedos (Bozcaada), and 8 miles (13 kilometres) south-west of the entrance of the straights of the Dardanelles. The largest islet of the group, called Tavşan adası or Rabbit Island proper, is some 2 km (1 mi) long and 600 metres (1,969 feet) wide. To its south are three small rocky islets called Pırasa, Orak and Yılan.The Rabbit Islands gained some political and strategic significance in the early 20th century, because their territorial waters are important for the control of the entrance to the Dardanelles. They were assigned to Turkey in the Treaty of Lausanne, where they are mentioned in Article 12 along with the nearby larger islands of Tenedos and Imbros (Gökçeada), as the only Aegean islands to be retained by Turkey that are more than three miles (4.8 km)away from its mainland coast.Today the islets are a popular spot for diving enthusiasts.


Thasos or Thassos (Greek: Θάσος, Thásos) is a Greek island, geographically part of the North Aegean Sea, but administratively part of the Kavala regional unit. It is the northernmost major Greek island, and 12th largest by area. Thasos is also the name of the largest town of the island (officially known as Limenas Thasou, "Port of Thasos"), situated at the northern side, opposite the mainland and about 10 kilometres (6 miles) from Keramoti. Thassos island is known from ancient times for its termae making it a climatic and balneoclimateric resort area.

Thasos's economy relies on timber (it is rich in forests), marble quarries, olive oil and honey. Tourism has also become important since the 1960s, although not to the level of other Greek islands.


Uzunada or Uzun ada (literally "long island") is an island situated at the entry of the Gulf of İzmir on the west coast of Turkey.

It is situated between the Karaburun Peninsula, Turkey in the west, and the district of Foça in the east. Stretching over a length of c. 9 kilometres (6 miles) in north-south direction, it is Turkey's fourth largest island, and its third largest in the Aegean Sea.

The island has been called by many names. Its ancient Greek name was Drymoussa (Δρυμούσσα), and it is also known under its later Greek names of Makronisi ("long island") or Englezonisi ("Englishmen's island"), but more likely is that this name is derived from the word Enclazomenisi from ancient city Clazomenae at the opposite coast. To its south are several smaller islets, including Yassıca. It has also been called "Chustan Island" (or Keustan)."Uzunada" is also the name of several other, smaller islets along the Turkish Aegean coast. Uzunada is currently closed to settlements due to military activities.

Zabrus chiosanus

Zabrus chiosanus is a species of ground beetle in the Pelor subgenus that is endemic to the North Aegean islands.

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