Blog

Thassos COVID Updates (February 2021)

Here is a detailed update of the COVID situation in Thassos for February 2021 and the months coming into it. We will continue to publish similar Thassos COVID updates for the remaining months.

Thassos Covid updates until February

Greece has been in a nation-wide lockdown since the 7th of November. If you want to move, you must have a good reason and need to send an SMS to a special number. Similarly, in Thassos, the lockdown has affected life in the community.

All cafes, snack bars, restaurants, and tavernas cannot host visitors. Although there is still the choice of takeaway, most businesses have decided to close as the expenses far outweigh any income. The 9 pm curfew certainly played a role in their decision, especially for snack bars. 

Schools remained mostly closed since the start of the academic year in September. Students follow their classes online. Although the schools opened for a few weeks at the start of the year for certain classes, the authorities again moved the classes online.

Rapid Tests started in January

Until the end of the year 2020, anyone wishing to test against the new coronavirus had to either pay for the test or be severely sick to be qualified by the local health authorities. If that was the case, a doctor would be sent to their home so that they could test against the virus.

However, since January, mobile units have been created by the municipality to offer free rapid tests to everyone wishing.

Test Results

Here are the announced results for all tests since January (published by the municipality):

  1. 18-19 Jan in Potamia and Panagia: 124 negative, 1 positive 
  2. 21 Jan in Rachoni: 67 negative, 0 positive 
  3. 28 Jan in Limenas: 113 negative, 0 positive 
  4. 10 Feb in Prinos in a school unit: 6 cases were found of the new British variant. This finding forced the mayor to demand all education classes be moved back online. This indeed applied within a few days for all students, from kindergarten to high school.
  5. 11 Feb in Prinos: 74 negative, 2 positive 
  6. 12 Feb in Limenaria: 160 negative, 3 positive 

Another source claims that up to 25 students in Thassos have tested positive in the new COVID British variant, brought into the island by a teacher. 

Thassos moved Risk_Zone on 19/02

Due to the recent events with the new British variant cases on the islands, the government decided to move the municipality of Thassos to a higher-risk zone on the 19th of February.

Now the curfew starts at 6 pm (instead of 9 pm) and goes until 5 am. Retail stores can only work with click away (a new initiative by the government to promote orders online but the option to pick up from the store in a determined time). 

Visits in any hair salon, clothes store, or bookstore can happen only with a scheduled date. 1 person, every 25 squared meters is allowed inside any store. All stores close on Sunday. 

Vaccination continues on February 

As with the rest of Greece, vaccination has also started on the island of Thassos for the elderly. First, everyone above 85 years only was vaccinated in the second half of January, followed in February by those above 80 years of age.

A platform can be used to schedule the appointment. For those who do not have the means or knowledge to use mobile devices, the municipality of Thassos has set up call lines and a special team to help booking the two appointments. 

The vaccine will come in two doses and by the end of February, most elderly above 80 years of age will have taken both shots. Apart from the mobile units, most vaccinations take place in the health center of Prinos.


Summer 2021

We will continue to publish similar Thassos COVID updates for the remaining months.

The whole island is preparing for the new summer season and everyone is confident that the current measures and vaccinations will help us have yet another safe and carefree summer under the light of the Greek sun!

Talk Soon,

Studios Plaka

Olive trees, Phoenicians and Mythology

You all know the olive trees in Plaka. But did you know they are as old as 3000 years? History and mythology come together to reveal a fascinating story about olive trees in Thassos. Learn how a Phoenician prince gave his name to the island in search of his sister, called… Europe!

The story starts 1200 years before the birth of Jesus Christ, when traders from the Phoenician empire appeared in Aegean waters. With them, they brought ceramic, stone and other goods. After all, the Phoenicians were famous metalworkers. It did not take long for them to notice the richness of Thassos soil’s minerals. We all know about the famous crystal-white Thassos marble which Saudi princes insist to use for their palaces. But at that time, Thassos was also a land rich of gold, stones and other metal resources.

Although the historic sources are vague, it is hypothesized that at the height of Phoenician trade (8th century BC), Phoenicians became increasingly interested in mining and exploiting Thassos soils. Among the gifts and exchanges they offered to Thassians were olive oil seeds which they planted themselves in the Western side of the island, mostly in the valley of what is now known as Prinos. It is no coincidence that these olive trees are now the tallest olive trees of the island. Oral tradition indicated that Phoenicians planted the olive tree seeds in the fields right next to sea level, such as Plaka. They were after all no roads and these areas were easier to access by boat.

A wonderful story from Greek Mythology comes to complement the historic facts. A girl named Europa (from whom today’s Europe takes its name) was a favorite daughter of a Phoenician king, named Anigoras. Anogoras had 3 sons and his daughter Europa, but everybody knew that he loved her daughter more than any other of his children. According to tradition, Zeus, the god of sky and the ruler of all gods, abducted Europa for her beauty. The king Anagoras then sent his three sons to find Europa and bring her home safely. His younger son was called Thassos (YES, Europe and Thassos are brothers!). Thassos desperately wandered many places to find her sister and to make his father proud. But he failed. He was desperate and did not want to face his father with his failure. Then, he came across a beautiful island in the North of the Aegean. He was lured by its beauty and richness of the soil’s minerals. He decided to settle in along with the rest of the Phoenicians that accompanied him. Therefore, the island was named after Europe’s brother Thassos.

Olive trees, Phoenicians and Mythology 1There are many sources that hint on the presence of Phoenicians in Thassos. You can hear locals speak about how the olive trees were brought in the island by the Phoenicians. Truth or not, one thing is sure: these trees are old. Hundreds to thousands years old. Some say these trees never die. But what is the truth? What does science say of the longevity of olive trees. The answers can surprise you. They argue that olive trees can live up to 5000 years. In fact, there is one olive tree in Sardinia that is documented to be 4000 years. In other words, it is possible that many olive trees in Thassos could actually be planted by Phoenicians 3000 years ago.

Why can olive trees live so long after all? Truth is, they don’t… literally speaking. The trunk and branches do not live forever. They hollow out and die off many, many times over the course of the life of the tree. The root and the parts of the olive tree that are underground however do not die of natural causes. They sprout and send forth new trees again and again. Any disease that makes the transition to an olive grove will simply kill the parts of the tree that extend above ground. After a suitable period, when nature safely clear the dead tree away, the olive root will simply sprout another tree. Wonderful, right?

Please remember this story next time you sit under the shade of Plaka olive trees. These plants are magnificent and bring a juicy story (and myths) with them. They may have been the reason why our island was named Thassos or our continent was named Europe. Who knows? Greek mythology may be entertaining and illogical, but hey, behind every myth there is some truth, right? In any case, next time you taste our olive oil or receive the traditional olive box gift from Maria, remind yourself that there is an interesting story, history and mythology, around these eternal trees.