Ikaria has been inhabited since at least 7000 BC, and even Homer was said to have used this island as a metaphor for his ‘Ithace’. Nas had been a sacred spot to the pre-Hellenic inhabitants of the Aegean, and it was an important island port in antiquity with a temple that was sacred to Goddess Artemis.
Ikaria’s freedom and independence spirit is also revealed through history. Ikaria remained part of the Ottoman Empire until 17 July 1912, when the Ikarians expelled the Turkish garrison and thereby achieved independence. For five months, it remained an independent country, with its own government, armed forces, national flag, coat of arms, postage stamps, and national anthem. In November 1912, after a delay due to the Balkan Wars, Ikaria officially became part of of Greece.
Today Ikaria is an island with an extreme allure, rich in local products, extreme diversities and globally known about its philosophy against all…clocks and its tradition of panigiria (local festivals). The island is included in the Blue Zones of the planet- regions of the world where people live much longer than average.
The island produces some high quality olive oil, wine, wild goat cheese and honey, the latter being branded as a super-food by Blue Zones’ Dan Buettner.