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Gavdos

According to Callimachus, Gavdos was the island of Calypso, the one known from the epic Ogygia. You can actually see on your own the nymph’s “palace” near a cave, if you ask it from a local. Of course Gavdos, apart from its mythological glamour was also used as a place of exile “hosting” famous Greek fighters, such as Aris Velouchiotis, Markos Vafiadis, Partsalidis and many others and the houses in which they lived still remain. Other sights of the island are the tombs found in Lavraka Bay, in northwest of Gavdos. These are dated back to the Minoan age, even though edifices of the same period have not been found. In the same location remains of a settlement of the Roman period were discovered and it is considered that it is related with Gortyna of Heraklion. In the area you will see remains of the aqueduct as well as the oven that was used for the exploitation of iron ore. Besides, it is believed that the essential deforestation of Gavdos is dated back to the Roman period, when its trees were used as firewood for the production of iron.

The iron was exported from the Lavraka harbour which today is found three meters under the sea. South-eastern from Lavraka, in the region of Agios-Yiannis there are the ruins of the city from the First Byzantine Period. During this period, the city of Agios-Yiannis had 8,000 residents, whilst the prominence of Gavdos is proved by the fact that it had its own archibishop. In Agios-Yiannis you will also see the famous chapel that was erected from 900 A.D. In the village of Vatsiana you will find a notable Folklore Museum and in the settlement Ampelo you’ll have a chance to see the vineyards of Minoa. Also, in Psathi, findings prove the existence of Minoan settlement. Kastri is the island’s capital, where you will take beautiful walks in the picturesque alleys with the houses build out of stone and the beautiful gardens. In Gavdos you will find wonderful beaches in Sarakiniko, in Agios-Yiannis, in Pyrgos, in Potamos, and in the pebbly beach of Lavraka, as well as the sandy beach in the cape of Tripiti with the three natural consecutive arches in the rock that is joined with the sea and it is believed that it was in this place that Ulysses was held in captivity by Callypso. In the same cape you will also see an abandoned lighthouse, the second most visible lighthouse in the world after that in the Land of Fire in Argentina.

The tower’s height was 14 m., while its focal height was 360 meters. It was built from the French Company of Ottoman lighthouses in 1880 and it was incorporated into the Greek lighthouse network after the Balkan Wars of 1912-13, but it was destroyed by a German bombardment in 1942. It was replaced by the lighthouse that is currently operating today just a little bit more to the south in the same cape. Wherever you prefer to camp, you will find easily a tree – a pine, a cedar, a plane tree - to put up your tent and rest assured that no one will disturb your peacefulness. Also, nothing during your sejour in Calypso’s island will remind you in which age you live in.

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