Kalymnos

Photo: Nikolaos Smalios

General Information

 

This island is located in the southeastern Aegean Sea between Kos, Leros and Asia Minor. It is the fourth largest and third most populous island in the Dodecanese prefecture.

Its surface area is 109.67 square kilometers and its coastline reaches 96km. It is predominantly a naval island. It's history, culture and tradition of which relate directly to the sea. The original name of the island was Kalydna.


Apollo was the patron god of Kalymnos, while his sanctuary was the political and religious center throughout antiquity, from the beginning of the 1st millennium BC to the early Christian centuries.

In the 6th century BC Kalymnos minted silver coins, which depicted a bearded head helmeted warrior on the obverse and the lyre of Apollo on the reverse. During the Persian Wars (early 5th century BC) the island was occupied by the Persians and Queen Artemisia of presbyter until released with the help of the Athenian fleet.

 

Archaeological site of Sacred Delion Apollo - Christ of Jerusalem

It was the political and religious center of ancient Kalymnos. Here there were religious and civilian buildings like temples of Apollo and Asklepios, theater, parliament, high school (gymnasium), inscriptions, dedications, statues statues of gods and mortals.

Grand Castle of Hora

It is a Byzantine castle of the 11th century. Repaired and expanded in the late 15th century, during the era of the Knights (1309 to 1522 AD), representing predominantly residential center of the island.

The densely built village of the Grand Castle of Hora is estimated that it could accommodate around 1000 - 1200 people. Inside the castle in good condition stand 10 chapels of the period 15th - early 16th century.

Archaeological Fortress Ebola - Archangel Michael

The Hellenistic fort in the area Ebola was built in the late 4th-early 3rd century BC. The fort was designed to protect the inhabitants of the valley, during raids.

During the 6th AD century built in the northern part of the imposing basilica of Archangel, built with building materials from the ancient fort.

Archaeological Site Kastri

Kastri is a small ancient fort, to which residents of neighboring areas resorted in time of need. From this position they could supervise the surrounding area, mainly in the marine area and that of the port of Emporio.

Archaeological Kastelli

Kastelli is a Byzantine fortress, built on the rocky hill of the headland Aspropountari. Created due to the vital need to the survival of the border island of Kalymnos and the Byzantine State as well, from the maritime raids from Arabs in the 7th century AD.

Archaeological site Damos

It is an ancient settlement which flourished from the Early Hellenistic (late 4th - early 3rd century BC) to the Late Roman period (mid-second century AD), according to archaeological evidence.

The excavations have brought to light a tiered paved road, on both sides of which were found homes, workshops, carved fountains and a number of artifacts.

Castle Chrisocherias

Castle Chrisocherias built in the mid 15th century, the period of occupation of the island by the Knights of St. John. Inside there are visible remains of the buildings, which were two churches, St. George and Our Lady of Chrisocherias.

On the eastern wall there are built- in three marble chivalric insignia. Within 65 meters northeast of the castle are the surviving three stone windmills.

Settlement Ellinika

It is perhaps the best preserved early Christian settlement of Greece, as the buildings are preserved in stunning condition, up to the roof in some cases. The settlement includes six early Christian churches.

Hellenistic outpost Prisons

the imposing Hellenistic outpost "prison" is a contemporary structure with the fort of Ebola. This functioned as an outpost-watchtower, warning the main fort in case of an emergency.

 

Archaeological Museum of Kalymnos

The new Archaeological Museum of Kalymnos. With the "Lady of Kalymnos" serving as the main attraction for visitors, the museum began operating in 2009. 

Antiquities of Prehistoric and Post-Byzantine era included amongst the exhibits, showing temporal history of the island during the past millennia.

The colossal bronze female figure which "emerged" from the sea area of ​​Kalymnos is one pole of interest, the large number of votive sculptures in the temple of Delian Apollo and a huge statue of Asclepius are the other pole of attraction.

Maritime Museum of Kalymnos

The Maritime Museum of Kalymnos was founded in 1994. Here the vistor can get a feel for the nautical tradition of the island, its history and methods of the sponge diving, and see many objects from ancient ship wrecks. In the four rooms of the museum there are showcased objects on the profession of sponge diving and the treatment of sponges.

Vouvalis Mansion

The Vouvalis Mansion built in the mid 19th century and renovated in 1894. It belonged to Nicholas Vouvalis (1859-1918) and his wife Catherine (1880-1959) and served as a their family home. Nicholas Vouvalis was the largest sponge merchant of Kalymnos, founder of a large Commercial Business selling sponges with branches in various parts of the world.

Museum of Marine Findings Valsamidis

It is a private museum, a life's work of the Valsamidis brothers who were born and live in Kalymnos. The findings, which are the results from thousands of dives in the seas of the world,  including almost anything one can find in the depth of the sea. A great variety of fish and shells, shellfish, starfish, corals, sharks, turtles and tortoises, and of course all kinds of sponges.

The Kalymnos Home

This private Folklore Museum with objects of popular culture and old household belongings. Here the visitor can discover the form and organization of life in a traditional urban house of the late 19th and early 20th century.

 

The Kalymnian honey is produced from at least the classical times and is mentioned by Pausanias as one of the best of honies from ancient times due to it's thyme flavor and its medicinal properties.

Other typical products are the traditional barley bread roll (ancient bakery base of the famous salad "myrmizeli"), fresh cheese made with milk from local goats produced in picturesque Vathi and in rural Argos, sweet red wine that tastes like visanto, Laura's wine from Agios Mamas and exquisite oil.

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Astypalea

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General Information

Astypalea is considered the "bridge" connecting the island groups of CYCLADES and DODECANESE. The island combines elements of both of these island groups. It has an area of 97 square kilometers, a coastline of 110 kilometers και 1,113 inhabitants. It is 23 nautical miles from Kos and 96 nautical miles from Rhodes. The island's high rocky mountains, it's amazing beaches and picturesque villages and towns, invite the visitor to take a magical journey into the Blue of the Aegean Sea and White of its traditional houses.


Astypalea’s name ( which means “old town”) comes from, according to mythology, a sister of Europe, mother of King Minos. Astypalea and Europe were daughters of Phoenix and Perimidis.

From the union of Astypalaias with Poseidon were born Agaios and the King of Kos, Eurypylus. Another version of the origin of the island’s naming says that it comes from the words city and old, because Dorians who settled on the island, found an older settlement built by the Phoenicians. Transformation of a foreign name, probably Phoenician, the words city and old meant low place, since the island is composed of two parts connected by a low isthmus.

Many researchers consider the place name as a non-Greek and dating back to the Sumerian language as-dub-gal-e, which means Gods big bank.

 

The multifarious shores of Astypalea is nothing but a perpetual game between land and sea.
In the middle of the island, the land narrows so much that a strip of land 10 meters, connects the two sections. The Strait, as the locals call it, separates the eastern Astypalea "Inner Island" and the western "Outer Island".

Astypalea or Hora

Capital and port of the island, built on a hill into the sea forming two bays: the port - Pera Gialos and the Bay Livadia. At the top of the Castle of dark local stone from which emerge the white domes of the Annunciation and St. George. Around the whitewashed houses with blue shutters and wooden railings on the balconies. Among them are churches and domed churches. In the neck of the hill, eight windmills, the ornaments of Hora. Beyond that is the traditional coffee shop and a little farther lies the Town Hall from where the two main roads begin which lead up to the Castle. Each one leads to a well known church, the Monastery of Panagia Portaitissa to the side of Livadi and Great Panagia to the side of Pera Gialos.

Analipsi or Maltezana

Seaside village with beautiful sandy beach stretched a small valley in Out Islands. The second name Maltezana reference to the pirates who pillaged the Aegean and found refuge in the bays of the island. The village hugs the bay with a long jetty where boats dock and reaches the orchards and vineyards. From Tour boats take you to beaches and islands Kraft, Hardy, Agia Kyriaki, Koutsomytis, Sirna and mosquitoes.

Livadi (meaning Meadow)

A seaside village that spread along a fertile valley on the homonym bay, Livadi is the island's flower garden. The gardens with mandarin, orange trees, vines, and houses smuthered in flowers, are spread across the width and length of the stream which leads to a beautiful beach.

Vathi

It is a very enclosed bay (about 50 meters), more like a lagoon. The village of Vathi has two small settlements Exo Vathi, located at the entrance of the bay and it has a small ladder where the boats tie up and that of Mesa Vathi, which is at the head of the bay with fields, a few trees and grape vines. In The visitor can reach Vathi by means of a passable dirt road or by boat which runs regularly from the Bay of Vai.

Surrounding Islets

To the southeast lie the islands Hondro, Ligno, Agia Kiriaki with the chapel of Ag Kiriaki, Koutsomitis with a beautiful beach and Kounoupi. Farther out lie the islands Adelfi, Syrna and the Tria Nisia. To the West are the islands Ktenia, Pontikoussa, Ofidoussa and Katsagreli, while in the North the islands Fokionisia.

Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites

The Baths at Talaros Maltezana, Hellenistic mosaics, unique in Greece, with bluish colors and ceramics and interesting compositions on the seasons and the symbols of the zodiac. The Monument of French Admiral Biggs, leader of the struggle against the pirates in the early 18th century. located near Schoinonta. Heroes monument has been erected in the town.

Remains of Minoan settlement and ruins of the tower dominating the entrance of the bay of Vathi.

Remains of Christian Basilica (5th c.) with remarkable mosaics in Maltezana.  On top of the ruins is built the chapel of St. Barbara, with Ionic capitals on the lintel. At the close towering monolithic columns and bases. The space in front of the ruins, the meadow , is a location where perhaps the temple of Artemis was.

 

Castles

The Venetian Castle of Quirini, with the family crest. Architectural belongs to the type, fortified settlement where the exterior walls of the homes create a wall with small windows for loopholes.

The houses of Quirini are built around the entrance on the east side, with two levels  and until 1956 were all inhabited. Inside the castle are two churches, white, with ornated bell towers. At the entrance, the Church of Virgin Mary of the Castle (Panagia - Evangelistria) and on the far side, the church of St. George. The church of Panagia was built in 1853 over the arched entrance of the castle. Inside there is an inscription dating from  1413 and the escutcheons of the Quirini. The church of St. George was built in 1790.

 

Castle of St. John opposite the monastery of St. John. Natural fortress with a secret entrance and passageway to the adjacent hill, as they say. This is where the terrible Barbarossa attacked and killed the inhabitants. According to tradition, the castle was impregnable. Today, ruins of buildings and cistern. Perhaps this is where the inhabitants fled during the difficult years of the pirate attacks which raged on all through the Aegean from the 7th century. Access to the castle is difficult.

 

Monasteries and Churches

The church of Panagia Portaitissa Chora, painted white, with a beautiful tower, below the Castle in the rhodium-poetic name from the tree that was in the churchyard. It is one of the most beautiful in the Dodecanese. Founded by Anthimos the Blessed in the mid 18th century. Inside there is a carved iconostasis, dressed in gold foil, unique of its kind. Tradition says that the image portrayed is that of the monastery of Mount Athos Iberians (placed over the wood and the image imprinted itself). Next to the church of Panagia church housed a small collection of old icons.

The Church of Panagia in Chora, with mosaic flooring in the courtyard. Part of a complex of five temples, which with a background of the sea , makes for a spectacular site. 

The Monastery of Panagia Flevariotissa in Chora, built in pit slope. Inside the cave is part of the church, filled with Byzantine style building. It  was a very ancient site for worshiping, as is clearly seen  in the architectural remains in the  courtyard. Remarkable as well is the wooden iconostasis.

 

The Monastery of St. John of Makri, built on an imposing landscape between two cliffs, overlooking the sea and the islets of Chtenia,  Pontikoussa  and Ofidoussa. Beneath the church are gardens and springs with crystal clear waters. The creek leads to beach with crystal clear waters. Best time to visit is at sunset.

 

Picturesque Chapels

 

The chapels of Agios Dimitrios, Agios Eleftherios, Saint Panteleimon, St. George and St. Constantine, stand out from the others. The Chapel of the Ascension, the oldest settlement of Maltezana.

 

The chapels of Agios Dimitrios, Agios Eleftherios, Saint Panteleimon, St. George and St. Constantine, stand out from the others. The Chapel of the Ascension, the oldest settlement of Maltezana.

Also see...

The church of Panagia, deserted, on th road to Vathi.
The church of St. Nicholas on a hill in Vathi.
The churches of St. John in Vathi and Mary of Thomas.
The remains of an early Christian basilica on the hill of St. Basil in Livadi.

 

Caves

The Cave of the Dragon in the Vathi, impressive stalactites and stalagmites.
You can reach them from Vathi by boat or hiking (about 2 hours).

Cave Negrou on Vatses.
Tradition connects them with myths of pirates and treasure.
You can reach them by boat from. There are organized tours to the cave and the surrounding area.

 

Do not forget to taste the traditional cuisine and products of the island:

"Pouches" (pie with kopanisti and honey)
Home made sweets (quince, fig, bitter orange, bergamot)
Diples and kserotrigana, lentils with grated pasta and vinegar
Dolmades (stuffed vine leaves, cabbage or zucchini)
Ladotyri, cheese in a basket, "chlorate" (cheese)
Xyalina (type yogurt)
Pasta with Lobster, octopus meatballs, fish
Goat stuffed with rice, chopped offal and spices ("Lamprianos")
Kitronokouloura (with green and saffron) lampropittes
and finally the special honey from the island with amazing taste and aroma of thyme.

Read more: Astypalea

Mastichari

Μαστιχάρι

General Information

 

Mastichari is located 22 kilometers west of the town of Kos. The port is the sea link with Kalymnos which is directly opposite, and the beachside area is now a modern tourist resort.


 

The ruins of an early Christian basilica with its beautiful mosaic floor a short distance from the sea is one of the features. Many possibilities to stay in the small settlement around the harbor and the surrounding area.At Mastichari guests among others will find peace, quiet and calm, but good food at very popular fish restaurants, which are located just 20-30 meters from the sea and offer apart from fresh fish and many tasty combinations of seafood.

To emphasize here that Mastihari is famous for its fresh fish and seafood as many fishermen have established it as a home port so whatever you eat at noon is the morning's catch. The beach at Mastichari has characteristic white sands and the clear waters have a distinctive blue color that makes  you feel that you are in some exotic part of the Pacific Ocean.

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