Symi Architecture

Symi - Architecture

Ochre, salmon, red, light blue, white. The color chart becomes more and more daring in the big neoclassic houses of Gialos which have been restored. The rest of the settlement, a mixture of Aegean architecture with Venetian elements, is equally impressive in sight and size. Neoclassical-like facades, symmetrical openings, windows and doors with balconies make the buildings of Gialos look like human beings. The settlement was developed in the 15th and 16th century with a dense layout and vaulted passages and in the middle of the 19th century it started expanding towards the sea. Following the models of neoclassicism, the houses have tiled roofs, pediments, decorative elements and square ground plans. They are two-storeyed in the front and ground floored in the back, due to the slope of the terrain. In the past they were painted with lime, ochre, indigo and roof tiles – hues that came back to fashion in the facades in the recent years. The yards were paved with slates or pebbles. The neoclassic part of the settlement is affected by the cities of Asia Minor. It was built by craftsmen from Karpathos, who were skilled stonecutters.

The purely urban areas with the bigger and wealthier houses are located near Roloi in Harani and on the left side of Kali Strata, towards the parapet. There are scattered mansions in the centre of Horio as well; however, as a rule the poorer classes lived high in the settlement. The economic recession of Symi that started in the 20th century due to the steam power, which was the reason why the sailing ships were decommissioned, led to massive migration and abandonment by its residents. The destructions of World War II (blowing ups etc) completed the view of abandonment back then. Ever since 1975 Greeks and foreigners started buying and restoring the buildings and the settlement was declared historical preservable.

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