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Dodecanese - Islands

RHODES

Capital of the Dodecanese, the southernmost string of Greek islands, Rhodes is one of the Mediterranean's most popular destinations. In addition to endless sandy beaches, good hiking, lively tavernas and great nightlife, Rhodes stays warm well into November, a boon for avoiding summer crowds. Indeed, spring and fall are ideal for exploring Rhodes` rich collection of historic sites and monuments, which bring Greek history alive in microcosm, from the ruins of Classical temples to Crusader castles and towns and Ottoman mosques.

rhodes__mandraki

The city of Rhodes, today a busy cruise ship, yacht and ferry port, is a 14th century Crusader city that was largely restored by the Italians between 1912 and1943. One of the finest examples of Crusader military architecture in the world, the town is a World Heritage Site. Indeed, stepping through one of the 11 gates in the medieval Gothic walls, one feels instantly transported to the days when towns were safe only behind high walls towers and massive gates locked against marauders. Cobbled streets and narrow alleys, thoroughfares of commerce now as then, present a busy bazaar of small shops where traditional crafts, such as fine lace and line, are still produced.

An important center from the 5th to 3rd centuries BC, Rhodes was also strategic link in the Roman and Byzantine empiresbefore the arrival of the Knights of St. John. Drawn from the noble Roman Catholic families, the order fought in the Crusades and swore vows of chastity, obedience and poverty. After the fall of Jerusalem in 1291, they took refuge in Cyprus, then bought Rhodes from Genoese pirates in 1306. By 1309 they had conquered the Rhodians and began building their great defensive city, including lodges for the seven nationalities of the Knights: France, Italy, England, Germany, Provence, Spain and Auvergne.

rhodes_castle

Many of the medieval structures remain, including the beautiful inn of France. The Palace of the Grand Masters dates to this period, as does the street of the Knights, a narrow passage from the walled city to the port. By the 16th century the Knights were strong enough to repel an invasion of 70.000 Turks, but nonetheless fell to Suleiman the Magnificent in 1522.

The Archaeological Museum of Rhodes, housed in the former Hospital of the Knights, includes the famed Aphrodite of Rhodes, an exquisite marble sculpture from the first century BC which inspired Lawrence Durrell`s famous book about post-war Rhodes, "Reflections on a Marine Venus". The Byzantine Museum, a former Byzantine church from the 11th century and then the Knights` cathedral, houses a fine collection of icons and frescoes from the 12th and 14th centuries. The Decorative Art Museum is a folk museum featuring plates and tiles from Lindos, island costumes and a replica traditional Rhodian house.

Tours are given of the Palace of the Grand Masters (Tuesday through Sunday) which include Hellenistic and early Christian mosaics from Cos, as well as exhibits on Rhodes from the 4th century to the Turkish conquest, and on ancient Rhodes. In the former, Byzantine Icons, Italian and Spanish ceramics, armor and military paint a picture of trade and everyday life in Byzantine and Medieval times. The latter displays fascinating finds dating back 2.400 years, unearthed during 45 years of archaeological excavations.

medieval_walls Tours are also given of the great medieval walls,two and a half miles long, with 151 escutcheons of Grand Masters and knights (Tuesday and Saturday, 2.45pm). In summertime, the grounds of the palace of the Grand Masters are the site of the sound and light show recounting the tale of the Knights` overthrow by Suleiman. Also of interest is the Nelly Dimoglou Theater, which in addition to lessons in Greek folk dancing gives performances every evening in season, Monday to Friday at 9.20 PM.

Beyond the Knights` quarter, or Collachium, lies the Bourg, the rest of the walled town where Greeks, Turks and Jews lived. The Jewish quarter is particularly interesting and picturesque, and scattered throughout the town are 14 mosques remaining from the Ottoman reign. In the new town outside the walls, the central market is a lively and entertaining combination of shops, produce stands and tavernas, as well as the grandiose buildings put up near the harbor by the Italian fascists during the 1920s.

Mandraki Harbor, linking old and new towns, is flanked by bronze statues of a doe and a stag, where the Colossus of Rhodes was once believed to have stood. One of the seven wonders of the ancient world, the Colossus of Rodos was a gigantic statue of Helios the sun god, erected in the harbor in 293 BC to commemorate Rodos`10-year resistance to a Macedonian siege.

West of town, the Acropolis of Rhodes (St. Stephen' s hill) offers panoramic views over town and coast. Named for an English admiral who kept watch here for Napoleon`s fleet in 1802,it is also the site of a 3rd century BC Hellenistic city, with a stadium, acropolis odeon and ruins of temples to Apollo, Athena and Zeus.

On the island`s southeast coast, visually stunning ancient Lindos is not to be missed. This is the most important of the three 11th century BC Dorian cities built on the island, a very rich and very early Greek citadel, today a National Historic Landmark. Traditional white houses, the distinctive "archontika", march down two hills, like handmaidens to the magnificent acropolis atop the higher hill. lindos

The Aegean Sea sparks at the bottom, lapping a half-moon beach. Typical of many ancient sites, Lindos embraces centuries of history, including Crusader walls and a central temple that was dedicated at different times to Athena, Aphrodite and Virgin Mary. The Sanctuary of Athena, within the medieval walls of the Acropolis, dates back to the 4th century BC, but the castle of the Knights was built by the knights of St. John in the 16th century.

Below the ancient acropolis the newer town of Lindos, which dates from the 15th century, remains one of the most picturesque in all the islands. Carved doors of the "archontika" open to interior courtyards with black and white pebble mosaic floors. Highly popular among visitors from every part of the world, Lindos nonetheless preserves its traditional look, thanks to regulations governing land use and architectural styles. Best buy: Lindian lace, prized by museums and famed since Alexander, who wore a cloak stitched by Lindian women.

Ialysos, another Dorian town, reflects the struggles to control Rhodes, from Dorians against Phoenicians to Turks against Venetians. On the west coast Kamiros, third in the triad of principal Dorian cities on Rhodes, is one of the best preserved classical cities. Discovered in 1859, the extensive ruins include a third century BC Doric temple, an altar to Helios, public baths and a sixth century BC cistern that watered 400 families. On the top terrace of the sixth century BC temple of Athena Polias, with a Doric stoa running 675 feet below. A nice beach here invites a plunge in the sea after a visit.

Rhodes' Valley of the Butterflies (about 15 miles west of the capital) is one of the most scenic pastoral settings on the island. Inthe verdant, forested valley, clouds of Jersey tiger moths cover the trees and feel the vanilla- scented air, perfumed by the sap of liquidambar trees, which draws the moths in summer.

valley_of_the_butterflies Not far from the Valley of the Butterflies are the domed chapels of Moni Filerimos, decorated with the cross of the Knights and the coat of arms of the Grand Master Pierre d' Aubusson. Our Lady of Filerimos is an Italian reconstruction of four chapels begun in 1306. The innermost chapel has a Byzantine floor decorated with a red mosaic fish.

Embona is an atmospheric village in the foothills of Mount Attaviros with a winery, also famed for its folk dancing, festivals and traditional ways.

monolithos_castle

Monolithos castle, built in the 15th century by Grand Master d' Aubusson, perches atop a hair-raising cliff overlooking the sea. Frescoes can be seen here in two small chapels. Near the fishing harbor of Skala Kamirou,Kritinia Castle a good spot for lunch, the ruins, of stand in the mute testimony to the 30 defensive castles built by the Knights around the Dodecanese.

Beaches: On the east coast Faliraki Beach has many hotels. Afandou, one of the island's longest stretches of pebble, has many excellent tavernas. Fourni beach, south of Monolithos is sheltered and sandy with a seasonal taverna.

Rhodes, being a pioneer tourism destination in Greece and with the privilege of operating two schools of tourism professions and one of official guides has been distinguished in the quality of services rendered to tourists.

TILOS

tilos_map Although small, this island situated to the south of Nisyros, captures the imagination of anyone interested in paleontology, for here there once lived a prehistoric dwarf elephant, whose skeletons were found in one of its caves.
The capital of Tilos is Megalo Horio (literally Big Village), located in the interior to the north of the island. It is built like an amphitheatre on a hillside, topped by a ruined castle erected by the Knights. The village occupies the site of the ancient town, whose remains can still be seen scattered among the houses. dwarf_elephant
erysto_beach Some 2.5 kilometres west of Megalo Horio, you can visit the monastery of Agios Antonios, while 6.5 kilometres to the northwest is another monastery with guesthouse - dedicated to Agios Panteleimon. Lush greenery surrounds this walled 18th century edifice Tilos's main port is Livadia, southeast of Megalo Horio. The island's best beaches are at Livadia, Agios Antonios, Plaka and Erysto (2.5 km from Megalo Horio).

NISYROS

Nisyros (or Nissiros) is a small volcanic island, a mere 41 square kilometres in area, situated between Kos and Tilos. In antiquity it was known as Porphyris. Mythology holds that once it was united with Kos and that when Poseidon was chasing the giant Polyvotis, he split the two islands asunder.

mandraki_nisiros The capital and port of Nisyros is Mandraki, set in the northwest at the foot of a steep hill. The whiteness of its houses forms a striking contrast to the dark, volcanic earth Yet another castle erected by the Knights of St John looms above the small town, while a chapel nearby dedicated to the Panayia 'is Spilianis (Our Lady of the Gave) , the patroness of the island, clings to the tip of the rock. Built in 1600, it is linked with many traditions and has a lovely 18th century iconostasis The island's hot springs. fabled since antiquity and still in use today, are to be found at Loutra just 1 5 kilometres from Mandraki. East of Loutra is the picturesque fishing village of Paloi.

*Note to Skippers: Paloi harbor have a new entrance (NORTH) since August 2007)

Another village, Emborios, lies to the southeast of Mandraki. in the interior of the island, in a lush area with mineral springs andplanted with olive trees, fruit trees, fig trees and grapevines You have to go almost to the middle of Nisyros to the Lakki plateau, to see the crater of the extinct volcano, Poly. bates. It is 260 metres in diameter and 30 metres deep with steps leading down to its centre. The reek of sulphur fills the surrounding air, while the scenery could belong to the moon.

In the south of the island, the charming village of Nikia perches on the crest of a hill 400 metres above sea level. Its white houses with their brightly coloured doors and windows and tile roofs are an attractive complement to the greenery that abounds in the district.

Nisyros is blessed with many lovely beaches: at Mandraki, Hochlaki, Agia Irini, Avlaki and on Giali, the isle! directly opposite.

volcano

KOS

Kos is the island that gave the world Hippocrates, the father of medicine. The third largest of the Dodecanese. it is long and narrow in shape, mostly flat with two low mountains. Dikaio (875 m.) and Simpatro.

It lies south of Kalimnos and was first inhabited in the Neolithic era In 700 B.C" it joined together with Lindos, Kameiros, lalyssos, Knidos and Halikarnassos to found the Dorian Hexapolis In the 4th century B.C" its Asklepieion became famous as the leading "hospital" of antiquity. kos
kos_harbor

The capital, Kos, is situated in a verdant district on the north-east of the island. at the back of an open bay. Around the port you can still see the ruins of the ancient city and the castle, built between 1450 and 1478 after the Knights of St.

John took over the island.

Excavations in the ancient city brought to light building foundations of the Classical era (e.g the Agora) and of Hellenistic and Roman times (the Gymnasium, Odeon. Roman baths, a Roman mansion with beautiful mosaics) , sections of wall from the Classical period, the foundations of a temple of Aphrodite and another temple. probably dedicated to Heracles The rest of the town is modern and well - laid - out, with contemporary

buildings, hotels and avenues lined with palm trees. In a lush area 4 kilometres west of town, you.11 find the Asklepieion (Asklipiio) or Sanctuary of Asklepios Its buildings, owing to the slope of the site, stand on four d~erent terraces un~ed by a marble staircase. The view from the highest one is stunning.

The most important structure is the temple of Asklepios, a Doric peripteral temple erected in the 2nd century B.C Otherbuildings include the Stoa (Colonnade). which housed Hippocrates' medical school and the Bomos or Great Altar (3rd century B.C ), which was decorated with sculptures attributed to the son of Praxiteles

Ouring your visit to Kos, it would be well worth your while to visit the pretty villages which are scattered round the island. Among them are Asfendiou, 14 kilometres southwest of town. built on the slopes of Mt Dikaio overlooking the sea; Pili, further south, with its ruined Byzantine castle and the Ypapanti church w~hin ~; Andimahia, perched on a plateau in the middle of the island; Thermes, with its hot springs and spa and Kar. damena, a seaside resort. both on the east coast; Tingaki (near the airport) , Marmari, and Mastihari, Kos's second harbour, on the north coast; and finally Kefalos on the southwest coast with its splendid beach The ruins of the ancient town of Astypalaia can be seen at the district known as Palatia nearby. kos_asklepio

You'll find wonderful beaches all over the island You can reach the closer ones by bicycle, a popular means of getting around on Kos. A new marina, located very close to the old harbor,(East) provide all necessary facilities for sailors and yachts.

SYMI

A lovely, mountainous island, Symi (or Simi) was reputed to be the birthplace of the Three Graces.While its interior is punctuated with small valleys, its coastline alternates between being steep and rocky or sandy and indented with little coves. In antiquity it bore the names Aigli and Metapontis. It took its present name from the nymph Syme, who was Poseidon.s wife After its conquest by the Knights of St. John in 1373, commerce and shipping flourished until steam replaced sail. The stately mansions in the main town date from this period. which reached its peak in the 19th century

symi_harbor The capital in the north of the island bears the same name and is pided into the upper and lower town. Ano Symi and Kato Poli. The lower town is also called Yialos The two districts are linked by a lane so steep it has steps It is flanked by charming neoclassical houses. some of them painted in warm pastel colours, with balconies and peaked, red tile roofs Manv of them also are embellished with neo~lassical features on the doors and windows Their interiors are decorated with wood carvings, the locals having been adept at the craft for generations The highest point in Ano Symi is capped by the usual castle of the Knights of St John, whose emblem can be seen above the main portal.

The traditional village of Emborios is Symi.s second port The ancient town of Metapontis was situated ciose by One of the island's most famous landmarks is the monastery of the Archangel Michael Panormitis on the southwest coast Built in the early 18th century. it overlooks the bay bearing its name in a setting combining mountain and sea It contains marvellous Byzantine frescoes and an intricately carved iconostasis.

There is no lack of wonderful beaches on Symi You'll find good swimming at Yialos, Pedio,Thessalona, Emborios, Maralhounda, Nanou as well as on the nearby islets of Agia Marina and Nimos....If you sail in the area of Dodecanese, Symi is a must to visit!

*Be aware that in Symis's harbor waters depth is 18-20m.

HALKI

halki_harbor

Situated to the south of Tilos and west of Rhodes, Halki has been inhabite since antiquity, when it must have been very prosperous, judging from the coir found by archaeologists.

Its name most probably reflects the copper ore (halkos) once mined there. It is a small but mountainous island (just 28 square kilometres in area).

The island capital cum port is calle variously Halki or Nimborio. Situate on the southeast coast its two-store houses with their tile roofs seem to clim up the sides of the hill overlooking th bay of the same name Worth a visit i its church of Agios Nikolaos, built in 1861, whose magnificent bell tower soar above the surrounding houses In earlier times, the capital was E Horio, which was placed well inland i an effort to escape the frequent plrat raids that were once the scourge of the Aegean. At its peak, it boasted 4,00 inhabitants; nowadays it is virtually deserted. Its stone houses, built in tiers lik an amphitheatre, are mute reminders c its past prosperity Above Horio the ruinel mediaeval castle occupies the site of th, ancient acropolis.

Within its walls i another church dedicated to SI. Nichola~ (Agios Nikolaos) with frescoes Ponlamo is the only beach in Halki ac cessible on foot from Nimborio (10 min ) but caiques are on hand to take you t( its other wonderful beaches Trachia Flenagia, Sarri, Chania and Dyo Yiali. halki_picture

KALIMNOS

kalymnos_harbor

The terrain of this fourth largest of the Dodecanese is mountainous, except for two fertile valleys. It is along these valleys that its biggest villages have sprouted Kalimnos or Pothia and Vathi.

Castles, remnants of fortresses, ar chaeological finds, and old churches bear witness to the continuous importance of Kalimnos in the history of the Aegean Its natural attractions - caves, lovely beaches. unspoilt scenery - make it a mini earthly paradise Kalimnos is widely known as the spongefishers' island, since such a large portion of the population is engaged in this age - old occupation

Once the island's capital was located at Horio, which benefited from the protection offered by the castle of the Knights of St. John just above it T oday's capital is Pothia or Kalimnos, founded around 1850 by the inhabitants of Horio Its brightly coloured houses surround the port like the seats in an amphitheatre, arranged along the hillsides down to the caiques and fishing boats bobbing below An old church dedicated to Christ the Saviour adorns the waterfront It is decorated with frescoes and valuable icons, while its Iconostasis is the work of the well known sculptor, Yiannoulis Halepas Kalimnos has other charming villages, like Vathi, set in a fertile valley full of citrus tress, and Metohi, on the southeast side of the island. The quiet hamlet of Emborios lies to the north.

To the west are Massouri, Mirties, Kamari and Panormos where one can try sea-food delicacies such as "fouskes" and "chtapokeftedes"On the road to Panormos, you will notice the remains of a three - aisled basilica dedicated to Christ of Jerusalem, which was erected around the 6th century on the site of an ancient temple where Delian Apollo was worshipped T o the north of the main town is Pera Kastro, also called the Castle of the Golden Hands (Hrissoheria) , because the chapel in its interior has an icon of the Virgin whose hands are covered with gold leaf Northeast of Pothia. at the foot of Flaska hill, is the cave of the Seven Virgins or Nymphs (not to be visited) Kalimnos boasts two other caves, the richly decorated Skalies, about 100 metres from the village of Skalia in the north of the island (not to be visited), and Kefalas or Trypas Kefalas to the south (which can be visited and one can approach it by boat) At Therma, only one kilometre or so from Pothia. there are radioactive springs and therapeutic bathing installations, rooms where visitors may spend the night, and specially trained personnel to assist them Among the lovely beaches on Kalimnos are Massouri, Mirlies and Arginondas along the west coast and Vlyhadia in the south. kalymnos_vathy

LEROS

leros Situated between Patmos and Kalim nos. Leros is an island of small fertile valleys sandwiched between rolling green hills, deep coves and pretty beaches Leros' topography has given rise to many villages. The most important is the capital. Agia Marina - united with two other villages. Platanos and Pandeli, on the back side of the hill - a collection of little white houses, neoclassical buildings and narrow alleyways It starts at the seaside and gradually climbs up the sides of the hill, whose summit is dominated by the sombre remains of a Byzantine castle Of special significance during Byzantine times, its shape is that given it by the Knights of SI John, who arrived in Leros in the 14th century leros_view

Still standing today are the circuit wall and the church of Our Lady within it L.aki, 3 kilometres south of Agia Marina is the islands port. It is built at the back of a deep, practically enclosed bay, whose mouth is only 500 metres wide This is one of the largest and best natural harbours in the Mediterranean Alinda, Xirokambos, and Partheni are charming seaside villages, while you'll find wonderful swimming at the beaches of Agia Marina, Pandeli, Vromolitho, Alinda, Laki, Merikia, and Xirokambos, to name a few

PATMOS

patmos_picture "The Jerusalem of the Aegean" is one way of describing Patmos or Patnos, as it was referred to in one 5th century inscription. It was here that SI. John the Theologian was exiled between 95 and 97 A.D. and was inspired to write the Book of Revelation or Apocalypse. Later the emperor Alexios Komninos ordered the monk Christodoulos Letrinos to found a monastery in honour of the Apostle. Thus the holy monastery of Patmos was built. the most important landmark on the island In September 1995 it was celebrated the anniversary of the 1900 years from the date that the Book of Revelation was written.
Patmos, situated between Leros and Ikaria, is a mountainous island with rocky soil and an abundance of small coves. The majestic fortress - monastery crowns the hill above the port, surrounded by dazzling white, cubelike houses which spill down its flanks. Interspersed among them are miniscule churches and grand sea captains' mansions, separated from each other by narrow lanes. high walls and small squares opening onto breath - catching views over the Aegean The construction of the monastery began in the 11th century. patmos_view

 

 

It is circumscribed by massive grey stone walls with battlements that protected the main church and another five chapels. Its extraordinary treasury contains Byzantine and post-Byzantine icons, sacred vessels, 9th century embroideries and other pricelless objects, while its library houses parchment documents, patriarchal seals illuminated manuscripts and rare old books. In the chapel dedicated to Our Lady frescoes can be seen which date to 1210-1220.

Ships arriving at Patmos dock in the island.s harbour, Skala, a lively place with its white houses flowered courtyards fish tavernas, hotels, restaurants cafes and shops. North of Skala is the village of Kambos, set among trees and greenery, and near it is what many consider to be the island.s finest beach. Patmos's indented coastline conceals a host of lovely beaches Among the favourites are Grigos, Kallikatsou, Psili Ammos and Diakofti.

ASTYPALAIA

This most western of the Dodecanese has had many names: Ichthyoessa (abundant in fish) in ancient times; Stampalia or Astropalia, as the locals call it today. The name Astypalaia means "old city".

astypalaia_view

A mountainous island with an indented coastline concealing numerous delightful coves, Astypalaia (or Astipalea) in fact resembles two islands joined by a ribbon of land only 105 metres wide.

The main village is Hora or Astypalaia, built up the side of a steep hill, and presided over by the massive, austere remains of a Venetian castle Its small, square houses. painted white with brightly coloured doors and windows. follow the contours of the hill in an almost unbroken band down to the sea. So closely are they packed that the walls of the uppermost houses form part of the outer fortifications of the castle.

A row of windmills on the pass of the hill provides an additional picturesque note One enters the castle from the southwest side of the hill Inside it are two chur ches, dedicated to SI. George and to the Annuncialion (Evangelismos) The former contains a noteworthy carved iconostasis.

Below the castle stands the 18th century church of Our Lady Portailissa, one of the most beautiful in the Dodecanese It too has an impressive iconostasis, covered with gold leaf.

Livadia, Analipsi and Valhi are charming fishing hamlets on the south and north coast of the island, while among its many beaches, Tria Marmara, Schinonlas and Valhi stand out.

The best shelter for strong NW winds is "Maltezana" , close (NE) to the main Harbor.

KASTELORIZO (MEGISTI)

Megisti (or Kastellorizo) is the Aegean's easternmost island. It has been inhabited since prehistoric times. The Dorians who settled it later constructed fortified acropolises near the present day town and at Palaiokastro, where some ruins can still be seen. The name Kastellorizo comes from its castle, Castello Rosso (or red castle), erected by the Knights of St. John.

The island's only settlement is Megisti, otherwise known as Kastellorizo, on the northeast coast. Its houses line the horseshoe - shaped port and climb up the foothills of the mountain behind it. The top of the mountain is crowned by the aforementioned castle, where lambros Katsonis fought the Turks in 1788. The gracious two-storey neoclassical houses with their brightly painted doors and windows, wooden balconies and tile roots on the waterfront and the majestic domes of the churches, testify to the island's former prosperity. kastelorizo

A photograph in the Archaeological Museum will show you how many hundreds of houses there used to be. Most of them were destroyed by World War II bombs.

Though there are no beaches as such on the island, you can take a little boat to the particularly beautiful blue grotto of Parasta, and there is excellent swimming from the rocks near the port. Boats are also on hand to take you to the nearby islets of Ro (6 n.mi. west) and Strongili (5 n.mi. southeast). Both islands have wonderful beaches. Ro became famous when its sole inhabitant, the lady of Ro, used to raise the Greek flag there every morning.

KARPATHOS

This second largest island of the Dodecanese chain, lies between Rhodes and Crete. It is rather rectangular in shape and its terrain is mountainous, the highest peak being Kali Limni at 1,214 metres above sea level. Most of its settlements are to be found on its south coast, which is relatively flat. Near the north coast is a small island called Saria, with which Karpathos used to be united. On this islet, at the site called Palatia, there are some ruins belonging to the ancient town of Nisyros.

karpathos

Karpathos' capital and main port is Pigadia or Karpathos on the southeast coast. It was built primarily with funds sent home by immigrants to the United States and it does not reflect the local architectural style found in the older villages.

Southwest of the capital is Menetes, whose history started after the Middle Ages, and Arkassa which has been identified as the site of ancient Arkesia. Here the ruins of a Christian Basilica of 5th/6th c. A.D can still be seen.

Thirteen kilometres to the northwest, you come to Piles, mountainous Othos to the northeast with its folk art museum, and Volada, a traditional village with houses whose interior decoration is well worth a look. Further north, near the west coast, is Messohori, where there is a genuine Karpathian house open to the public. Note its characteristic wooden ornamentation and the pebble mosaic floor.Still further north, almost cut off from the rest of the island, is its most important village, Olimbos, which is accessible only from Diafani, Karpathos' second port.

Olimbos sits on a hlllside overlooking the Aegean. Founded sometime between the 10th and 15th century, it was originally fortified to afford its residents protection from the pirates. The highest spot in the village used to be crowned with a tower. Even today Olimbos has preserved its local architecture intact, both in the interiors and exteriors of the houses.

Its citizens take pride in maintaining their traditions and still speak a dialect which contains several Dorian words and idioms. Karpathos has many beautiful beaches : Finiki and Amfiarti to the southwest, Makriyialos to the southeast, Agia Irini on the west coast and Agios Nikolaos on the east. karparthos_beach

KASOS

kasos_view

Kasos, the most southern of the Dodecanese, is only 27 nautical miles northeast of Crete. Its first inhabitants are thought to have been the Phoenicians. Homer mentions it in his catalogue of the Greek cities that took part in the Trojan War.

Kasos is a mountainous island with a steep, rocky coastline and few beaches. In the 18th century, kasos established its own merchant fleet and grew rich from trade. It played an active role in the Greek War of Independence of 1821, earning the revenge of the TurkoEgyptian armada, which set fire to the island in May 1824 and subsequently slaughtered its inhabitants. Only a few survived.

The capital of the island is Fri, built on picturesque Bouka Bay. Its old stone houses- many of them constructed by sea captains - extend on both sides down to the sea.

To the east and very near Fri is Emborios, the island's other coastal village. It boasts a beautiful church dedicated to the Nativity of the Virgin. Other villages include Agia Marina, set on a hill lust one kilometre southwest of Fri, and Arvanitohori, southeast of Agia Marina, nestled in the island's only valley. Two kilometres from Agia Marina there is a cave called Sellai, 30 metres deep and 8 metres wide, with impressive stalactites.

Swimmers will find pleasant beaches at Fri, Emborios, Ammouda and on the nearby islet of Armathia.

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