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Kastellorizo

The remote treasure of the Aegean

 

On the easternmost edge of Greece floats one of the smallest and prettiest islands of the Dodecanese complex, Kastellorizo. Called also by its name in the ancient times, i.e. Megisti, the island has a long history starting in the early Neolithic era. Its ancient name lasted until the Middle Ages, when the knights of St John built Castello Rosso on the reddish rock above the port. Obviously, it is to that high castle with the double walls and the battlements the name of the island is owed. The palmy days started for Kastellorizo at the end of the 19th century thanks to fishing and shipping. Recalling those days there are the beautiful mansions along the coast. The 9 sq km big island became a tourists’ attraction after the Academy Award winner film “Mediterraneo” was shot there some 20 years ago.

A beauty in the Aegean

Upon arriving, you will be left speechless by the beauty of the harbour and that will be your rewarding for your long journey. Two or three-storied neoclassical mansions, built amphitheatrically, reflect their colourful facades on the sea and in your eyes. The minaret and the red dome of the mosque of 1755 will definitely catch your attention, no less than the picturesque fishing boats will do.

Scenic Kastellorizo village is the island’s only populated area. Cobblestone alleys and traditional colourful mansions with wooden and iron balconies beautify your walk through the village’s two quarters, Pigadia and Chorafia.

Taste katoumari and strava, the traditional sweets offered in local tavernas.

 

 

 

Village promenade

  • To the 14th-c. castle of the Knights Hospitaller of the Order of St John. It is on Castello Rosso, a hill of red rock, which gave the island its current name.
  • To the following buildings: the Town Hall (Kava area), Nea Agora and Entefktirio (Agios Georgios area) which housed a kindergarten in the early 20th century.
  • To the Archaeological – Diachroniko Museum of Kastellorizo, housed at “Konaki”, a historic, listed building. The gallery dedicated to ancient Megisti is particularly interesting. Items referring to the period from the early Christian years until the post-byzantine times are on display in other galleries.
  • To the 4th-century BC temple-like Lycian tomb below the castle.
  • To Mandraki, a district with a small, picturesque harbour east of the village centre.
  • To Chorafia, where the 1903 Santrapeia Urban School is located as well as Agios Georgios church (1903).
  • To Agios Konstantinos and Agia Eleni church, the island’s patron saints. It was built in 1835 and its interior is supported by ten, monolithic granite pillars which were transported from the temple of Apollo in Patara, ancient Lycia.
  • To Kastellorizo Historical Collection, housed in a mosque at the entrance of the port, in Kavos area. Exhibits include documents and photographic material referring to the modern history of the island (19th century – 1948).
  • To Palaiokastro. It is 2 km away from the village and has remained unaltered since the Byzantine times. Panagia tou Kastrou and Agios Stefanos churches are within the castle grounds. Below this area are acheres, ten cisterns built during the Turkish Occupation.
  • To Agios Georgios tou Vounou, a fortified monastery affording a marvellous view.

 


Taking a dive

You are not very likely to come across the typical golden Greek beaches of the postcards. Nevertheless, platforms and diving boards will help you enjoy the beautiful and clear waters. Find some at Plakes, Faros, Kavos or, even, at the harbour.

Little boats will take you to the nearby islets, such as Ro, with the little sandy beach, Stroggyli and St George, with the chapel bearing the same name.

But the best is yet to come: Go boating to Galazio Spilaio (Blue Cave), the biggest and most spectacular of all sea caves in Greece. It is known worldwide for its rich “decoration” of stalactites. The reflections of sunrays on the water light the stalactites creating a unique spectacle. Situated on the SE part of the island, the cave is allegedly inhabited by monachus monachus seals. If you go further south, you will find Kolones, another impressive cave.

 

 

Getting there
By boat from Piraeus and Rhodes.
By plane from Rhodes.

More info: www.megisti.gr

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