Encyclopædia Britannica, Ninth Edition/Princes Islands

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PRINCES ISLANDS, the Demonesi or Demonnesi of the ancients, a beautiful cluster in the Sea of Marmora opposite that part of the Asiatic coast which trends south-east from Scutari to the entrance of the Gulf of Ismid (Nicomedia). They are nine in number—Prote (Turkish, Tinaki), Antigone, Khalki or Karki (Chalcitis or “coppermine island” of the ancients), Plate, Oxeia, Pitys, Antirobido (Terebinth or Rabbit Island), Neandro, and Prinkipo. Prinkipo or Principo (with an Italian c), Kyzyl-Ada or Red Island of the Turks, the largest of the group, is a broad green hill of red quartz rising with soft and verdant outlines into two peaks, the higher of which (500 feet) is crowned by the ex-monastery of St George, embosomed amid its oaks. On the height above the town of Prinkipo is the monastery of the Transfiguration and on the coast opposite Antirobido that of St Nicholas. A white-flowered heath (Erica arborea), two species of cistus (Cistus villosus and salvifolius), and lavender give character to the luxuriant vegetation. Khalki contains three convents and an Ottoman naval college; and the whole group, especially Khalki and Plate, form a great summer resort for the Greeks of Constantinople, from which city there is a regular steamer service.

The Princes Islands are intimately associated with Byzantine history. A convent in Prinkipo (now a mass of ruins at the spot called Kamares) was a place of exile for the empresses Irene, Euphrosyne, Zoe, and Anna Dalassena. Antigone was the prison of the patriarch Methodius, and its chapel is said to have been built by Theodora. In Khalki the monastery of the Theotokos (originally of St John), which since 1831 has been a Greek commercial school, was probably founded by John VIII. Palæologus, and was rebuilt about 1680 by the famous Panagiotaki, and again by Alexander Ypsilanti of Moldavia. Close beside it is the tomb of Edward Barton, second English ambassador to the Porte. Hagia Trias (a school of theology since 1844) was rebuilt by the patriarch Metrophanes of bibliographical memory. Antirobido is associated with the exile of Ignatius and Theodosius; and Plate contained subterranean state-prisons hewn out of the rock.

See Gustave Schlumberger, Les Îles des Princes, Paris, 1884; Grisebach, Rumelien und Brussa, 1839.