Island of Kastellorizo

Island of Kastellorizo

 Kastellorizo is an interesting, very tranquil place: one hotel and some pensions see few visitors. Locals say there was a large number of Italians after the release of the film “Mediterraneo” but they are rare now. From the evidence of the ruins on the island we see that its history dates as far back as the neolithic times. For example, one can admire the cyclopean walls, now in ruins, evidence of the settlement there of the pelasgoi, the Aegean people. The minoans first and the Mycenaeans later also seemed to have visited the island as finds now in the Archaeological Athens Museum show. Settlements of Dorieis and of the Lycians, from the opposite coast of Asia Minor, followed. The Lycian Grave of the 4th century BC. is still one of the most impressive monuments in the island. The ancient name of the island, is due to its first settler Megisteas but according to another interpretation is due to the fact that the island is the biggest of the hole group of these small islands strewn around the area. The present name Kastellorizo was assumed during the crusades and was due to the red rocks upon which a castle was built. The castle was thus named Castle Roso, which contracted became Kastellorizo. The island followed the history of the other Dodecanese islands and has the same maritime and commercial tradition since, traditionally was administered by the larger island, Rhodes. At the end of the 19th century the island flourished due to the wealth accumulated from the fishing of sponge. Famous schools and churches were built. During Italian occupation however, many inhabitants emigrated to the mainland Greece, to Australia, where there are now about 50000, and to Egypt. During the second World War the Castle was bombed. The island was finally reunited with Greece in 1948. Kastellorizo has many interesting sights, some of which are, The Castle at the port which was built upon the ruins of the ancient castle, in the 14th century by the Knights of Saint John and received its name from the red colour of the rocks . Next to the castle are the ruins of a turkish hamam and a restored water mill. The Lycian Tomb, a church-like grave built at between the end of the 5th century B.C. and the beginning of the 4th century B.C. The church of St Konstantine and Eleni was built in 1835 with granite brought over from the temple of Apollo in Lycia, in Asia Minor. Paleokastro, two kilometres NW. was built during the Byzantine times. On Kastellorizo one will also find the Cyclopean Walls, the ancient tombs, the monastery of St. George of the mountain the Archaeological Museum. as well as the Blue Cave which is the most beautiful in the Mediterranean. There, in his extremely beautiful cave one will see fantastic stalactites and stalagmites which can only be visited by boat. There are of course other caves. The Island is a natural biological paradise. The island is also home to a great variety of species of flora and fauna, including the monk (monachous-monachous) seal.

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