The name Karlovassi originates from the two Turkish words Karli ovasi which mean snow-covered plain.The Turks called this area such because it was full of trees which became white when it snowed and resembled a snow-covered plain.

Karlovassi (or the Karlovassies) is made up of four districts which are: Neo Karlovassi, Messeo Karlovassi, Paleo Karlovassi and Limani. Neo Karlovassi which was previously called Neochori is built in an area where in ancient times there must have been a city of great prosperity. This is proven by the walls and sculptured marbles which have been found there.

The first inhabitants of Karlovassi, apart from the ancestors of the Samians who had immigrated to Chios after the Fall of Constantinople, were from Peloponnesus, Ikaria, Naxos, Crete, Evia and other islands. This explains why an icon of “Panagia tis Anapliotissas”, which was brought over from Nafplio, is found in the church Agios Dimitrios.
There are also the neighbourhoods of “Karioteika” and “Axologi” whose names bring to mind the first immigrants from Ikaria and Naxos, who settled here. These first inhabitants of Karlovassi built their homes in a forest called Alonaki so as not to be seen by seafarer

To the northwest of the town the monastery of Profitis Ilias is built o­n a densely grown plateau.

At a short distance from Neo Karlovassi is Messeo Karlovassi, which is also called Kalivia (cabins) because the first settlers in Messeo initially built cabins, that they later converted into homes. Messeo is separated from Neo Karlovassi by a torrent (known as Karlovassitiko Rema or Kerkitio in ancient times). According to past reports, the initial village was located towards the eastern side of the church Agios Athanasios, where there was most likely a village before the desertion of the island. This village extended from the church Agios Athanasios to the coast and beyond the church Osia Pelagia, where the icon bears an inscription that states the date of construction as the year 1470. According to legend, the village, which was built after the re-habitation of Samos, had two perishes: The parish of Agios Athanasios, previously mentioned, and the parish of Agia Marina.

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