Belying former grandeur the island of Megisti, as it is officially
known even from ancient times, derives its name from the Greek word meaning “largest”
because it happens to be the largest island in a picturesque cluster surrounding
it. The total area of this “polynesia” (island complex) is 11.9 square
kms. It is a mountainous and rocky island.
Little is known concerning the island's ancient history due to the
few written accounts referring to it and the fewer still systematic excavations
carried out on Kastellorizo. Neolithic tools, pre-historic walls, stone hewn tombs,
a gold crown from the Mycenaean period, Doric inscriptions and other findings
pay witness to the fact that the island has been inhabited continuously from very
The safe, natural harbour on the northwestern coast has always been
the island’s greatest geophysical gift, as it is unique in the large harbourless
surrounding area. Naturally, it once generated an important amount of economic
and nautical trade, standing as it does at the crossroads of Europe, Asia Minor
Today Kastelorizo has a population of 275 inhabitants. This is the
number that remained from the 15.000 that there were at the turn of the twentieth
century. The locals’ main activities are tourism and fishing.
The town has fine two and three storeyed buildings, built in accordance
with the local architecture. Above all, it provides the visitor with the beauty
of an idyllic landscape and the nostalgia of a past glory. The island’s
greekness is attested to by its buildings, by the simple “ageaopelagitiki”-Aegean
Sea look of the settlement, by the archaic character of the local dialect
and by the spirit of the inhabitants.
The sites to be seen on the island are indeed not few: Two fine examples
are the Palaiokastro -“Old Castle” which is situated approximately
in the middle of the island and once served as both the acropolis and older fortification
of the island, whilst the “Kastro”-Castle is found in the south eastern
part of the harbour and 200 metres above sea level. In the eastern part of the
harbour there is an impressive stone-hewed lyncean tomb. Both, of course, are
a part of the invaluable inheritance of the much turmoiled historical past of
Kastelorizo is dotted with numerous churches and monasteries. The
patron Saints of the island are St. Constantine and Helen to whom a church of
exceptional architecture is dedicated. It is a three-nave basilica and dates from
1835. Beside the church is the “Santrapia Urban School” which was
inaugurated in 1903 and built through the patronage of Louka Santrape. Especially
picturesque is the monastery
of St. George of the Mountain which has monks’ cells, cisterns and a
cave-catacomb with a well and a finely worked wooden iconostasis.
Extremely colourful are the Easter adoration and festive customs as
are the important feasts, rich in traditional customs. These are the feasts of
“Dekapentavgoustou” - Dormition of Our Lady, St. Paraskevi, the last
Monday before Lent, the First of May, Prophet Elias and of the patron saints of
the island Sts. Constantine and Helen.
(Text: Manolis Makris)
This text (extract) is cited February 2004 from the Dodekanissos
Union of Municipalities & Communities pamphlet.
The island complex of Santorini is comprised of the islands of Thera,
the largest, Thirassia,
the smallest and Aspronissi
a small uninhabited island. These three islands are the remnants of the large
prehistoric island called Strongyle due to its round shape and later Kalliste
due to its beauty.
After an immense volcanic eruption around 1450 BC and the submersion
of the central part of Strongyle, the Caldera (basin) was formed, into which the
sea flooded. After centuries, in its centre emerged the volcano islets (Kamenes),
Palaia Kameni first and Nea
Kameni after centuries.
(Text: Manolis Lignos)
This text is cited February 2004 from the Municipality of Thera tourist pamphlet