A tiny island, Kastellorizo is a place where your only means of transport
are your own legs, and the pace is slow and laid-back. The people are
typical islanders: friendly and curious, and even thought their lives are
not the easiest on this isolated island, they try to liven things up with
romantic songs of the past and many festivals.
At first glance, you'll probably think that this is a place that has always
been like it is today, but surprisingly, this was once of the most glorious
places of the Aegean sea. Exploring the island, you'll find many interesting
remains of the past: the only witnesses of what once was.
History:In ancient times, the island
was called Megisti. According to legend, the first settler was Megisthus, a
Cretan prince, but archaeologists have found evidence of Neolithic
settlements on the island. It was conquered by Rhodes in the 8th century,
and was to become an important commercial centre with 15 000 inhabitants.
The real greatness of the island was during the Turkish rule. When it stood
clear to the citizens that fighting the Turks was no use, they managed to
get special privileges when the island came under Turkish rule in 1537. The
local fleet had trade with many cities in Asia Minor, as well as with other
When the war of Independence broke out in 1821, the men of Kastellorizo
fought hard, but the island was not to be freed until 1948. It had then been
used by the French as a base for their fleet in the first World War, and
during the second World War it had been occupied by Italy. In the island was
made the famous Italian movie Mediterraneo, a touching story of few Italian
solders on the island during the second world war.
What to See A striking feature
of the islands only village, Megisti, is the brightly painted houses. This goes
back to the Byzantine and Turkish time, when the colours of the house would
display the status of its mistress.
In Megisti there is an archaeological/folklore museum worth a visit, as well as
a few churches of special interest. The Church of Agios Konstantinos and Eleni
was built partly with materials from the ancient Apollo temple in 1835. The
Church of Agios Nikolaos was built on top of the temple.
The Castle of the Knights dates back to the 14th century and was built on an
ancient temple site. This castle gave the island its current name since it was
built on red rocks: Castello Rosso. There are also some ancient ruins here, as
well as the remains of a Turkish bath.
Parastras is a stalagmite cave worth a visit. At the port there is a Mosque.
What to Do
: Kastellorizo is an excellent place for diving, sailing and fishing.
Apart from that, you can simply relax and enjoy the peace and quiet! On
the island are several traditional events and fairs.
On 13 September the island celebrates its liberation.
The feast of the Prophet Elias is on the 20th of July. On the eve the
custom is to drop people with their clothes into the sea.
On 21 May, is the feast of the Saints Constantine and Helen.
With devoutness also celebrated in the island the Holy Week. In Easter
there is a three days feast with dancing and night long jamboree.
Kastellorizo has maintain its traditional character for decades. The
preparation of marriage starts from the beginning of the week of
marriage. On Thursday, are the "Mousoukarfia (cloves). The unmarried
girls soak carnations, and make necklaces for themselves singing
traditional songs. On Friday, are the tradition of the "beds" in the
home of the couple.
On Saturday morning the children of the island pick herbs from the
mountain and put them on a boat, which goes around the port while the
children singing songs about the herbs. On Saturday evening they light
up incense to perfume the clothes of the groom and the bride to be,
whilst the water used for the soaking of the carnations is used for the
washing of the hair of the couple. The herbs are distributed to all the
guests on that same evening. On Sunday the wedding is celebrated,
followed by a traditional feast, open to all guests.
There are a few beaches here, and it is a good idea to
take a walk and find your own little bay. At Pharos,
where a small pier allows for boats to approach as well
as at Plakes, within 20 min. walk to the north. At
Mandraki, a narrow stripe of sandy beach. More beaches
to be found at the islands of Ro - two concave stripes
of sand - Aghios Gheorghios and Strongyli.
For the daredevils: swimming within the Blue Cave (alias
Cave of Phokialis), accessible by boat.
Nighttlife:You won't find any
loud bars or discos here, but staying up late on one of the taverns or
in the cafes is a nice way to spend your evenings, there are also some
bars in Megisti.
Food The food served here is
traditionally Greek. The local specialty is a pie made of chickpeas.
Shopping:There are a few shops
that sell ceramics, textiles and local honey, try also
the local baklava.
Getting Around On the island
there is a taxi and a small shuttle bus for the airport, the best way to
go around is by foot.
Getting There:There are daily
2 flights from Rhodes , the island is connected also with Athens as well
as with some islands of the Dodecanese during the summer with the
| Phone numbers*
| Size: 9 km2
|International code: 0030
|Population: about 200
|Local code: 22460
|Cash machine: Yes
|Port Police: 49270
|Telephone company (OTE):
|Price rate: Average
*The info displayed may be inaccurate. If changes have been made, please let us know.