Psara, George Sirian's Birthplace, in 2002

(click here to see 2010 pictures)


Psara, from the north

Psara Harbor

Old Quarantine House

Harbor at Sunrise

Massacre Monument

Monument Detail

Sarighannis names

Women's Monument

Invasion Site

Looking north from the Promentory

Site of the old West Harbor

Beach by the old Quarantine House


October 2002 was the first time a descendant of George Sirian had visited the North Aegean island of Psara since the six-year-old boy escaped from the massacre of July 1824.  In George's time the island was known to English speakers as Ipsara.  We found friendly people and a warm welcome -- and a family we never knew about!

Local Psariotes believe George Sirian's family name was actually Sarighannis.  George's name was first recorded on the rolls of the U.S.S. Constitution as "Sarean," which corresponds phonetically with the first three syllables of Sarighannis, and many of the Sarighannis family names were repeated among the children and grandchildren of George and Eleanor Marshall Sirian.  Though the surname no longer exists on the island, the descendants of the family include the retired mayor of Psara and many other residents.  They welcomed us as long-lost relatives.  We were overwhelmed, and humbled, in George's honor and memory.

The top row of pictures shows locations in and around the town of Psara, which is situated at the southwest corner of the island.

The second row shows views of two monuments:  an obelisk at the harbor commemorating the heroes who gave their lives in the cause of Psariote resistance (on which the names of several members of the Sarighannis family are listed), and a monument to the women of Psara who flung themselves from the top of the high promontory at the southern tip of the island rather than submit to their attackers.

The third row shows sites related to the invasion and massacre:  the first, the reputed site on the northern shore where the Psariote defenders were betrayed;  the second, looking north from the promontory where the defenders blew up their magazine and themselves rather than allow their arsenal to fall into the invaders' hands;  the third, the site of a once-thriving deep-water harbor on the west coast that is now unoccupied save for grazing sheep and a line of windmills that provide the island with electricity;  and the fourth, a sandy beach near the Old Quarantine House -- just the sort of beach George would have escaped from when his mother put him in a boat and pushed him from the shore just before being cut down herself by an attacker, right in front of the terrified boy's eyes.

At the time of this visit, Psara was reachable year-round by ferry from neighboring Chios, and less frequently by ferry from Piraeus.