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Pholegandros - Live your myth in Greek island

Updated on November 30, 2010


GEOGRAPHY. Between Sikinos (5 nautical miles) and Melos (15 nautical miles), Pholegandros has a surface area of 32 sq. km., 40 km. of coastline and is 105 nautical miles from Piraeus. Its capital is Pholegandros (Chora) with 567 inhabitants, mainly concentrated there but also in a few scattered hamlets. In the summer there is a daily link with Piraeus and regular connections with Paros, Naxos, Sikinos, los and Santorini and, less frequently, with Syros, Siphnos, Seriph os, Delos, Heraakleion in Crete, the Dodecanese, Chios, Samos, Mytilene, Ikaria, Lemnos and Kavala. Local craft make trips to Sikinos and los during the summer season. A mountainous island (highest peak Aghios Eleftherios, 415 m. a.s.I.) with little provision for tourists, it is an ideal place for a restful vacation.

HISTORY. Karians are mentioned as the island’s first settlers. They were succeeded by Phoenicians and then Cretans. In historical times it was colonized by Dorians, became a member of the Athenian League and under Roman rule was a place of exile. From 1207 till 1607 it was governed by the Gozzadini family, and then it was captured by the Turks. It was pillaged by pirates many times.

SIGHTS-MONUMENTS. Chora stands in an elevated position (200 m. a.s.I.) above the harbor and consists of the quaint old quarter around Kastro, the castle built by Marco Sannudo in 1212 which is architecturally very similar to those of Siphnos and Kimolos in which the external row of houses comprises the outer wall. Two of the entrances to the castle are preserved and three little churches. The more recent sector of the village is equally picturesque with its dazzling white houses, narrow streets and courtyards. On the northeast side of Chora, at Palaiokastro are remnants of fortifications and ruins of the ancient city. The church of the Virgin is actually built on part of the city wall. Further south is the Chrysospilia, a cave with stalagmites and stalactites, evidently used as a cult centre in antiquity but as yet unexplored. In the region of Ana Meria, on the northeast side of the island, there are traces of a small fortress at "Kastelli". Southwest of Ano Meria is the small bay of Aghios Georgios with a lovely beach. There are numerous tiny churches all over Pholegandros, most of them for private worship. One can swim at Karavostasis, the island's harbor and in Aghias Geargias bay north of Ano Meria, which one can reach in the local bus. Accommodation is available in rented rooms.

- An alleyway in Chora with its unspoilt Cycladic architecture, quaint bye ways, pristine white houses, stairways and wooden balconies, contrasting sharply with the grey rocks on which it is built -


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