Introduction - About Kastellorizo Island
Satellite image of Kastellorizo
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From the evidence of ruins the history of the island dates as far back as the neolithic times.There are cyclopean walls, now in ruins, evidencing the settlement in the island of pelasgoi, the aegian people. The minoans first and the Mycenians later also seemed to have visited the island as finds now in the Arcaeological 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 b.c. 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 from all small islands spread in the area. The present name Kastellorizo was assumed during the crusades and was due to the red rocks, Castel Roso, on which the castle was built. Kastellorizo followed the history of the other Dodecanese and has the same marital and commercial tradition since was traditionally in the administration of Rhodes island. At the end of the 19th century the island flourished due to the wealth accumulated from the fishing of sponge.
Kastellorizo or Megisti, is the Aegean's easternmost island. It is a tiny but very beautiful island of the Dodecanesse consisting of a circular port of about 5 0 inhabited houses. Even though the island has very few inhabitants, they are all very hospitable and wait on the port to welcome the tourist people.
KastellorIzo is a rocky island whose terrain is sharply divided into mountains, hills, plateaus, valleys, stream-beds - and only one real harbor, with two smaller bays next to it.
The village in which the island's people lived was very densely built.
It consisted of seven different quarters : Mouragio, Kaoulaki, (or Pountos), Horafia, Kavos, MIli, Palamferia and Madraki, where the boat yard was.
The village stands on the northeast side of the island.
Kavos seems to have been the first part of the village to be built. At Niftis there were market gardens and vineyards.
Nearby, at Nefatsi, was the modern cemetery.
The Municipal Market is a recent building, having been constructed under the Italian occupation.
Today, the inhabited part of the town is the Kordone or rim of the harbour, though some people still live in the Madraki district.
Close to Kastellorizo there is a small island called Ro.
'The lady of Ro' in the opposite photograph, was the last inhabitant of the island of Ro, whose role of keeping the flag high on the most isolated outpost of Greece, even when she was far advanced in years, made her a symbol throughout the land.
The Lady of Ro and her successors express the traditions of the island and the whole Greeknation.
The cafe-owners, the taverna-keepers, the musicians, the craftsmen, the seamstresses, the salesmen and all sorts of other professions and occupations - teachers, civil servants, postmen, tailors, barbers, even priests - earned their living from the sea captains.
For that reason, the sea faring occupations lay at the centre of life on Kastellorizo.
The sea was present in every event that took place in society, and it was bound up with all the joys and sorrows of the islanders.
It is hard to capture in the pages of a book all the bustling vigour of Kastellorizo in the 19th century and the first half of the 20th.
There are moments when melancholy turns into beauty, when you sit in one of the port's taverns, eating some fish, drinking some wine, and watch the swallows flying in and out the kitchen door. Kastellorizo is the most easterly of all Greek Islands. This is where Europe ends and Asia Begins.