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The “Tarsanas” at Agios Isidoros, Samos

The old traditional “tarsanas” (shipyard) at Agios Isidoros presents an image and an activity very common in Samos in the past, when the island had several shipyards, almost in every coastal settlement: apart from Agios Isidoros shipyards also existed in Pythagorio, in Kokkari, in Karlovasi, in Ormos Marathokambou and elsewhere.

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The wooden vessels, boats and caiques, built in these shipyards in the 19th century, were considered as the best for the difficult sailing conditions of the Aegean Sea. One of the reasons of such a success is the long lasting tradition of the island in building ships goes back to the 6th century b.C. when the “samaina”, the type of vessel developed on the island, dominated the Aegean Sea for more than one century; this “know how” kept developing and lasted until the steamships substituted the wooden vessels in trade and transports. Another reason is the material used: the local species of pine which has proved to be ideally sea resistant.

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Today only two traditional shipyards are still working: one at the port of Karlovasi and the other, the best known and important of them, in Aghios Isidoros. In the past this shipyard constituted of several independent units for building and repairing vessels, but today there is only one person working there: he is named Psilopatis and is famous for his skills in the entire island. His shipyard is possibly the last workshop of this kind operating on the island and it is found at the cove of Aghios Isidoros, an area of breathtaking beauty, which human traditional works do not spoil, but add up to it.

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The shipyard is situated some 5 kilometers far from Kallithea; the visitor may also access the place from Drakaeoi, but you should bear in mind that in either case you will drive on a dirt the last 4 kilometers on a dirt road.

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