On the island there are 5 villages, Chora, Emporios, Marathounda, Pedi and Panormitis.
The capital is Chora, which includes two settlements, Gialos and Chorio or Ano Symi. The oldest residential nucleus is the Village. It was settled around the castle, mostly for defensive reasons. It is built on hills. Joins Gialos with the “Kali Strata”, a road consisting of 500 stone steps. He was once the shopping street of Symi and will impress you with its mansions built along it. When eliminated the fear of the pirates, the village expanded towards the sea creating a new settlement, Yialos, which is the safe harbor. In Gialos were the residences of the captains and traders of Symi. Today it is an administrative and tourist center and attracts almost all the services and banks on the island.
Symi is an island with great history. According to mythology the island was named Metapontida or Aigli from the homonym Nymph, which gave birth there, to 3 Graces. Another version is that Symis’ name is given from the princess of Rhodes that Glaukus eloped there, because the King and father didn’t want to approve their wedding. Glaukus, who is considered as the first inhabitant of Symi, was a keen swimmer and naval architect, abilities and skills that taught to the inhabitants of the island. Another myth, according to Diodorus Siculus says that the first that settled at Symi was Chthonius, the son of Poseidon and Symi, when exiled from Dotio of Thessaly settled on the island, and gave the name of his mother.
The first inhabitants of the island were probably people from Mikra Asia, and later the Minoans.
Archangel Michael Panormitis Symi
The monastery of the Archangel Michael Panormitis is the most valuable attraction of the island. Built in the 6th century, but what we see today is the result of the restoration of the new buildings of the 18th century. The monastery is hosts two museums, the folklore and the religious. Here the pilgrims are queuing, but it is worth the wait: the energy is widespread in the church. Renowned for his miracles Panormitis is a major pilgrimage in the Aegean. In the monastery you will find Father Ierotheos, who will be there to guide you, to tell you the story of the miraculous images and charitable activities of the monastery. The monastery has cells located in big hostels where you can stay during your visit to the monastery. Residents claim that from wherever you throw a bottle or a tribute to the sea, even from the far distant Australia, despite the fact that they are traveling for many miles, if you really believe, your vow will reach to Panormitis of Symi.