Town altitude 26 m
Town land area 2 km2
Region averege altitude 43 m, lowland
Region land area 21 km2
Population 2011: 6.798, 2001: 5.895, 1928: 8.636 inhabitants.
Area per person 167 m² per person.
Economy relies mainly on trade, agriculture (viticulture), tourism and services
Karlovasi town (Greek: Καρλόβασι) is located at the northwestern part of the island, built at the homonymous plain. It is the second-largest in population city of the island and the commercial center of western Samos. It has a major port, serving the western part of the island. Karlovasi is the largest in size and most sparsely populated area of Samos. The distances are: from Samos town 32 km, from Pythagorio village 36 Km and from Marathokampos village 13 Km.
Administratively consists the municipal community of Karlovasi which belongs to Karlovasi municipal unit, of west Samos Municipality, of which it is capital.top
It was first inhabited in the beginning of the 17th century with its first inhabitants being Samians that had migrated to Chios island to avoid pirate raids and then returned back. Afterwards Peloponnesians, Cretans, Icarians, Naxians and others followed.
First was built Paleo (=old) Karlovasi, well hidden in woody area and then followed the other villages, Meseo (medium) Neo (New), Ormos (bay) or Riva and last was Limani (harbor) where building began at 8th of September 1871. All were build on hills and far from the sea out of fear for the pirates.top
Economic history & tanning
Karlovassi, from the first years of its creation, developed its economy, based on agriculture, mainly viticulture, exploiting the great plain around the city, which exceeds 6 km2. It soon expanded considerably into trade, which made Karlovasi the richest city of the island, as reported in his book by the traveler author Joseph Georgeirinis 1678.
Between 1880 and 1930, tannery branch flourished in Karlovasi town, when more than 50 tanneries operated with 300 workers and the exported leather products amounted to an average of 12.4% of the total island’s exports, with a maximum of 24% in 1888 and a minimum of 0.6% in 1894. It was a key factor in the Samian economy and became the regulator of the island’s economic life, while contributing significantly to the upgrade of the economic, cultural, educational and social level of Karlovasi. Read more about tannery branch in Karlovasi >>top
One opinion for the origin of the name is that it derives from the Turkish words Karli-Ovasi that means “snowy valley” but since it almost never snows in Karlovasi this opinion does not have many supporters. Author Zafeiriou (in his book Samian Chronicles) supports the idea that it was initially named “Kariova” meaning “Ikarian Colony” and this later evolved to Karlovasi and Nikos Dimitriou in his book Samian Folklore supports the idea that it derives from the surname “Karlovas” which is probably the correct interpretation.
During old days it was mentioned as Karlovasia (plural of Karlovasi) because it was comprised out of three communities, “Neo Karlovasi” (=New Karlovasi), “Meseo Karlovasi” (=Middle Karlovasi) and Paleo Karlovasi (= old Karlovasi). They were all independent villages and built on the hills that are surrounding the valley. During the 1950’s they were united along and thus comprised the Municipality of Karlovasi. In nowadays all three villages have expanded so much so they are united to one. It’s the largest in size and most sparsely populated area of Samos.top
Three settlements belong to Karlovasi town, Potami settlement at the seaside, 5 Km west from Karlovasi with 19 inhabitants, Sakouleika settlement, 6 Km south fromKarlovasis with 16 inhabitants, and Sourides settlement, 5 Km west from Karlovasi with 23 inhabitants.top
- Operating since 1895 at Karlovassi is the Philharmonic Society of Karlovasi, called “Cleanthes of Samos”, which brighten with its music all the religious or national celebrations, etc.
- Karlovasi is the headquarters of the Mathematical school of the Aegean University.
- Karlovassi was the birthplace of the pioneer and leader of the Samian revolution (against the Othomans) at 1821 Lykourgos Logothetis, the bard poet of freedom and Samian anthem Georgios Cleanthes, the great composer Manolis Kalomiris and other prominent men.
- Walk through the picturesque streets with beautiful houses.
- Visit the museums of the city (Tanning museum & Folklore museum of Karlovasi)
- Visit the great churches of the city.
- Visit the area “tampakika” with the old tanneries and tanning museum