Island of Kassos

Island of Kassos

This is one of those typically Greek islands, the ones we picture when we imagine the real, traditional, untouched Greece. The pace is slow, and if you like relaxing, this is one of your best bets. With only two taxis on the island,  you'll get lots of undisturbed sleep, with the exception perhaps of a donkey or rooster. You'll be close to nature and those clear, blue waters.
Because of its isolation, the island has always been poor. The men try to manage on fishing or working on ships, and many hope that the tourism will increase. You'll find that the people are very friendly, but the only ones that speak English are usually those who have been forced to work abroad.
KassosFri is the capital of the island and is very picturesque with its stone houses. There is a church worth visiting here called Ag Spyridonas.
Emborios is another pretty village, with a church dedicated to the Virgin Mary.
In Ellinokamara there are caves where archaeologists have found traces of Neolithic settlements. Sellai is a stalactite cave you can visit.
In Poli, the old capital, there are some remains of the Venetian Kastro, and a beautiful church, Ag Triada.
What to See Kassos is first mentioned in Homer's Iliad where the Greeks go off to fight in Troy. The island has also been called Amphe, Achne and Astravi. The name Kassos comes, according to legend, from the island's first inhabitant, who was a Cretan prince. This indicates that the Minoans were amongst the first to settle on the island.
In the 8th century BC it was conquered by Rhodes, and 300 years later it became member of the Athenian League when war against the Persians united almost all of Greece.  During the Middle Ages Kassos belonged to the Venetians, but it was really a pirate nest. When the Turks ruled the island in the 18th century, it was reputed as a flourishing island with a strong commercial fleet. Ironically for the Turks, this helped greatly in the war of Independence that started in 1821, since the island contributed to the Greek side with a fleet of over 80 ships. Sadly, this didn't help the island, since almost everyone died during the war: either as fighters, or when the Turks slaughtered the inhabitants. The Turkish rule here didn't end until 1921, when the Italians took over.Kassos was finally freed in 1948. By then, the island was totally impover-ished, and it is not until lately that the island has started to come alive.
This is a very quiet island. Apart from just enjoying the sun and the sea, you can go fishing or snorkelling, or why not explore the island by foot. There are only a few beaches and Helathros and Ammouda are considered the best. A small boat can also take you to the island Armathea where there is a nice beach. With only two taxis on the island, the only way to get around is by foot. There is also a boat that can take you to the little island Armathia.
There are flights from Rhodes and Karpathos, and a few ferry boats from Rhodes, Karpathos, Milos, Crete and Pireus.
 
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