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Πέμπτη, 10 Ιανουαρίου 2013

Explore the magnificent island of Kastelorizo









Kastelorizo or Megisti, is the Aegean's easternmost island. It is a tiny but very beautiful island of the Dodecaneseconsisting of a circular port of about 50 inhabited houses. Even though the island has very few inhabitants, they are allvery hospitable and wait on the port to welcome the tourists. The island's only settlement is Megisti, otherwise known as Kastellorizo, on the northeast coast. The gracious two-storey neo-classical houses with their brightly painted doors and windows, wooden balconies and tile roofs on the waterfront as well as the majestic domes of the churches testify to the island's former prosperity. On Kastelorizo island you will enjoy good local cuisine, the sea and a good warm climate away from the noise of civilisation.
Not to be missed are visits to the close by little islands of Ro and Strongili and a visit to the 'Fokiali blue cave'. It is a huge sea cave in the south east of the island (it can be visited only by boat) and it takes its name because of the sunlight, which as it decomposes by the waters, it gives the cave a blue phosphorescent coloration. There are no direct flights to Kastelorizo from Athens. Air connections are via Rhodes. There are 5 to 6 daily flights from Athens toRhodos in the summer and 3 in the winter. Flight time from Athens to Rhodos is approximately 60 minutes. Flights leave from Athen's Eleftherios Venizelos Airport. There are 3 flights per week from Rhodos to Kastelorizo. Flight time from Rhodos to Kastelorizo is approximately 45 minute


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Apart from its glorious past, Kastellorizo has also many sights worth visiting.
Τhe castle of the order of St. John

It was built in the 14th century on the edge of a small slope right above the port, on a reddish rock (Castello Rosso) from which the island got its name.




Today, only parts of its exterior walls and of some of its towers are still intact

Stone-hewed Lycean tomb

It is a perfectly preserved tomb of the 4th century B.C. hewed in the stone at the foot of the Castle.

It is worth mentioning that Lyceans was the name given to the inhabitants of Asia Minor because they worshipped “Apollo Lycios” where “lycos” stands for the Greek word “wolf”.

Palaiokastro

On the western side of Kastellorizo is the most ancient and important sight of the island – Palaiokastro.

It is an ancient settlement with a lot of remains of buildings and water cisterns.

On its Doric Acropolis of the 3rd century B.C. there is an inscription that mentions the name of Megisti.

In the area, in the location of Limenari, there are remains of the Cyclopian Walls.

Archaeological Museum

It is located close to the remains of the castle and it has exhibits of great value from different periods of time as well as objects of folk art.

Do not miss to visit it.
Monastery of Saint George “tou Vounou” (of the mountain)


Having walked along the cobbled lanes of the port, it is worth walking up the 401 steps that lead to the monastery of St. George Tou Vounou.

It is situated in the area of Palaiokastro and huge natural stones surround it. Inside the monastery there is a catacomb and Saint Charalambos.


Cathedral of St. Constantine and St. Helen (1835)

In the most prominent location of the island right above Mandraki the metropolitan temple of the patron saints of the island Constantine and Helen dominates.
It is a brilliant religious and architectural jewel, closely related with the social and cultural life of Kastellorizo, from its foundation until nowadays. It is a church of unique art, with a three-nave basilica, rich icons, marble icons screens and a tall marble bell tower.

The roof of the Cathedral lies on twelve enormous monolithic granite pillars, brought especially from Patara (Lycea) in 1835, when the historic cathedral was built. According to tradition, these pillars are from the ancient Temple of Pythius Apollo.
Blue Cave


The famous aqua colored cave of Kastellorizo is one of the rarest geological phenomena and one of the most amazing formations on earth; Kastellorizo is worth visiting just for this cave.

Also known under the name of “Parastas Cave” or “Fokiali” – due to the seals (fokia in Greek) that live inside it – it is the largest and most beautiful caves of Greece while it is also considered to be the most phantasmagoric cave of the Mediterranean Sea.

It is situated at south of the island, it is 75m long (inside), 40m wide and 35m high, and the entrance has the height of a small boat that can just pass through the mouth when the sea is calm at dawn.

The calm waters of the cave look like an immense blue-green mirror with plenty of iridescence, which seems to illuminate this enormous fairy-like palace, the numerous stalactites and the thousands of wild pigeons, with various colors.
Ro islet

Located on the SW side of the island is the islet of Ro that you can only visit by boat. Well known for its ‘Lady of Ro” who was its only inhabitant, and who for decades rose the Greek flag every morning.

Still, you may visit the islet of Stroggili on which is the nautical lighthouse – the island’s only inhabitants are its lighthouse keepers.

Both islets (Ro and Stroggili) offer crystal clear waters and are ideal for a swim.

At last, the visitor should know that Kastellorizo has many important feasts and celebrations.

The most important one is on July 20, for the celebration of Prophet Elija.On this day the locals dive into the waters in honor of the saint.

Also, on the 13th of September there are celebrations for the Day of Independence of the island.








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