Explore the Nautical Museum in Symi

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There are many sites to behold on the beautiful island of Symi, but perhaps one of the most famous is the Nautical Museum, located just over a mile outside of the main city in a town called Gialos.

“Nautical” is a term that refers to sailors and/or navigation over bodies of water. Accordingly, the museum is dedicated to the history of sea travel. As the Aegean Sea has been used as a travel point for millennia, Symi is the perfect location for such a tribute.

Visiting the Museum

The museum houses many exhibits related to the seas, water travel, diving, and much more. These include diving suits, compasses, model ships, old maps, tools used by seafarers, and much more.

One of the most popular exhibits is the beautiful paintings and model ships carved out of wood by hand. These were created by a local craftsman named Antonis Polias, who has also contributed to other museums around the island.

Although it is relatively small compared to other museums, it is still well-loved by travelers. Nearby, there is also an archeology museum that makes for an excellent pairing.

Learn About Sponge Diving

The museum has a section dedicated to sponge diving, also known as sponge fishing. It is an older discipline that involves diving underwater to find natural sponges. The practice was quite popular in the Aegean Islands and other places around the world for many years, as this was the only way to obtain sponges for cleaning.

The exhibit features an authentic sponge-diving suit, equipment, examples of natural sponges that were unearthed from the nearby waters, and many other pieces of history.

With the influx of manmade fibers and environmental concerns making the practice generally unnecessary in modern times, the Nautical Museum is a great place to learn about this once popular practice.

History of the Museum

The museum originally opened in 1983 and was conceived as a museum dedicated to maritime-based works, which is why some sources still sometimes refer to it as “The Naval Art Museum”.

In 1990, it moved into the beautiful neoclassical home where it can still be visited to this day. The home had been built in the same location that historically served as the island’s shipyards, making it the perfect location to learn more about nautical history.

The perfect location to learn about the history of water travel and diving both on the Aegean Sea and throughout the world, the Nautical Museum in Symi is an excellent resource and a fun place to visit for travelers of all ages. The Museum of Archeology down the street makes Symi an excellent place for learning about the region’s rich history.

Although there are many museums in both Greece and on islands in the Aegean Sea, this is certainly one of the most unique. No tour of the islands would be complete without a brief stop to learn about the beauty and wonder of sea travel throughout history.

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