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Armata, the representation of Greek Revolution in Spetses

Saronic ● Spetses ● 30 August 2017
 

Spetses is one of the most elegant Saronic Islands. The first thing that will impress you is Spetses Town, the harbour of the island, which stands imposing and beautiful. Neoclassical houses, impressive mansions and an aristocratic hotel of the past century at the sea front create an extremely beautiful scenery. The modern port is called Dapia, and there, you can stroll around or eat at the central square. In the narrow, pebbled streets of Dapia, there are also many elegant shops with famous brands, luxury restaurants and cocktail bars. The old port near Dapia is the perfect place to have a walk on foot or by a carriage with a horse. The scenery is lovely, the houses there are not as impressive as in Dapia, but they are also well-preserved and beautiful. Taverns by the sea in front of the pedestrian give you the ultimate feeling of the island, but the old port is not always calm and peaceful. In the old port, beats the heart of Spetses nightlife, and you can have fun there, in the cozy small bars until the dawn.

You can go to Spetses by boat from Piraeus within 2 hours or by car to Hermioni in Peloponnese and then by water taxi within 10 minutes to the island.


However, Spetses is not only its elegant beauty and its vivid nightlife. In September, Spetses become the ultimate talk of the town thanks to the impressive festival of Armata, which attracts thousands of visitors and gives the island a festive atmosphere.

The festival of Armata takes its name from the Church of Panagia Armata (=Armed Virgin), which was built in 1824 and is the symbol of the Greek Revolution against the Ottoman Empire from 1821 until 1828. The church commemorates the defeat of the Ottoman fleet during a naval battle in the strait between Spetses and Kosta, and the Armed Virgin is considered as the miracle that made the Greek fleet beat its enemies.

Every September, in the festival of Armata, is celebrated this victory and the miracle of Armed Virgin. A wooden boat, which is used as an effigy of the Turkish boat, is constructed a week before the festival in the old harbour. The festival starts on Monday closest to 8th September and offers a full entertainment programme with theatre, music, dance and performances for children. Everyone waits for the grand finale on Saturday when famous Greek singers prepare the crowd for the ultimate event.

At about 11 p.m., all Greek boats approach the effigy, which busts into flames and fireworks, while a commentary outlines the history of the battle and people scream with delight. The show and the fireworks create a spectacle, which reminds of the magnificent battle that was the start of Greece's liberation. The show lasts about one hour, and afterwards, everyone is ready to enjoy the famous nightlife of Spetses.


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