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KASTELLORIZO - Live your myth in Greek island
GEOGRAPHY. Kastellorizo, guardian of Greece's easternmost borders, lies 72 nautical miles southeast of Rhodes, only 1.5 miles from the Turkish coast. It is barely 9 sq. km. in area, has 19 km. of coastline, a population of 222 and is 328 nautical miles from Piraeus. Boats from Piraeus are infrequent, once a week all year round. The island is linked once a week with Amorgos, Astypalaia, Nisyros, Telos, Symi and Rhodes. There is a local, twice weekly, connection with Rhodes. The island has a wonderful warm climate, the sea is delightful, life is quiet, just the place for a relaxing holiiday.
HISTORY. In antiquity the island was known as Megiste and was first inhabited in prehistorric times. There are marked traces of the Mycenaean presence and it is to this era that the' gold wreath of vine leaves in the National Archaeological Museum, Athens dates. Also of prehistoric date are the remnants of Cyclopean walls, tombs and stone axes. The Dorian settlers built fortified acropoles on the site of the present capital and at Palaiokastro. Apart from a brief period of independence, its forrtunes were tied to those of Rhodes, from the 4th century BC until Roman times. Its geographhical position has played a decisive role in its history. It was the target of piratical raids in the Byzantine era and was taken by the Knights of the Order of St. John in 1306. It was subsequently captured by the Sultan of Egypt, the king of Naples and, in 1512, by the Turks. In 1920 it came under Italian rule and was only incorporated in the Greek state in 1948. During the Second World War it was more or less razed to the ground by bombs, to which the many destroyed houses bear witness.
SIGHTS-MONUMENTS. The main harbour and village is Kastellorizo where all its inhabittants live. Nothing now remains of its glorious past except a few remnants; the outer bailey of its castle with a few towers, bu i It in the 14th century by the Knights of St. John, ruined mansions of the ship owners and captains, and a few churches: St. Constantine (The Mettropolis), built in 1833, St. Nicholas (11th cenntury), the Virgin of the Fields (17th century) and St. George with its catacombs. In the small Archaeological Museum both ancient artefacts and items of folk art are exhibited. At Palaiokastro tombs, tools and ruins of the anncient acropolis are preserved. There are also the monasteries of Prophet Elijah and the Holy Trinity.
Another of the island's sights is the Blue Grotto, (Parastas' cave), the largest and loveliest sea cave in Greece, renowned internationally for its stunning stalactites’ formations, lit by the sun's reflected rays, a unique and unforgettable spectacle. In days of old it was a haven for pirates and nowadays seals bask within it. The grotto can be visited by boat, as also the nearby islets of Ro (6 nautical miles west) and 5trongyli (5 nautical miles southeast).
Accommodation is available in the municipal hostel and some rented rooms. The shores in the vicinity of the harbour are ideal for swimming and so is the beach at Mandraki. There is a refuelling station for yachts in the harbour.