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Ro Island
Category: Island
Prefecture: Dodecanese
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Kastelorizo 2742 hits
Megisti Information

Kastellorizo or Megisti as the island is officially known since ancient times, is situated on the southern easternmost part of Greece. Its total surface is 9,2 sq. kms. and it lies 72 miles east of the island of Rhodes and only 2 kms from the Turkish coastline. It is a mountainous island and it belongs to the Dodecanese islands complex. 

The island's capital, Kastellorizo, where most of the islands inhabitants reside, consists of the Pigadia and Chorafia districts as well as the little picturesque port of Mandraki. Kastellorizo is amphitheatrically built at the feet of a mountain and spreads on all three sides of the gulf. 

The picturesqueness of the scenery upon arrival on the island, cannot be easily described. The painted in impressive colours two and three storey renovated mansions with their wooden staircases and balconies, make it unrivalled in beauty amongst other islands. The whole island has been proclaimed preservable by archeology and it offers the visitor the beauty of an idyllic landscape and the nostalgia of a past glory. 

In past times the capital, which is also the port of the island, was the most important geophysical gift of Kastellorizo, since due to tis geophysical position it was a trade crossroad between Europe, the Middle East and Egypt. It ws only natural that it generated an important amount of economic and nautical trade which explains the noble air about the island that reflect its past glory and prosperity (also reflected on the rich embroideries and materials used for the traditional local island customs). 

Kastellorizo island has a population of 275 inhabitants. This is the number that remained from teh 15,000 that it numbered in the turn of the twentieth century. The local's main occupations are tourism and fishing. 

Megisti History

In ancient times the historic island of Kastellorizo was named Megisti from its first settler Megisteas. The island has been inhabited since the ancient times and this is proved by various findings such as neolithic tools, tombs, a gold wreth from the mycenean period, inscriptions and other findings. 

Ruins of the temple of Apollo Megisteas whose worship was spread all over the island and on the neighboring Asia Minor coastline, were found. 

The Dorians who settled on Kastellorizo built a fortified acropolis on the location where Palaiokastro lies today, and there are some ruins still apparent today. Kastellorizo participated in the Trojan war along with the other islands of the Dodecanese complex and being allied to Athens, it helped Athens in the war against the Persians. 

Kastellorizo passed to the possession of Romans and then it was captured by the Byzantines to end up to the rule of the Knights of St. John or Rhodes in 1306. Since then, Megisti island changes its name to the foreign word Kastellorizo which derives from the words Castello-Rosso, because of the red-coloured high rocks on which the castle is built. From 1440 until 1522 the island is conquered by Egyptians, Franks and the Turks at last. 

In 1659, it is conquered by the Ventians, but the Turks take the island back unti July 1788 when the heroic "sea eagle" Lambro Katsonis attacked the Turks and freed the island. During that period of time the merchant fleet of Kastellorizo island had a prominent place among the merchant shipping of the Dodecanese islands complex. Following the Independence Revolution of 1821, Greece was freed from the Turkish occupacy. However in 1830 the London Protocol provided that the Dodecanese islands should be placed under Turkish dominion again. Kastellorizo resigned to its fate but did not lose its shipping dynamism. On the contrary, it not only prospered in merchant and shipping business, but made a remarkable progress in literature as well. 

It was then that famous schools were founded, such as the Sandrapeia School (of the benefactor Lucas Sandrapes) where literacy and education were given to many generations. 
Magnificent churches were built, with rich iconography and sumptuous icon screens, such as teh cathedral of St. Constantine and St. 

Kastellorizo island had around 12-14,000 inhabitants, most of which were sea men. In March 1913, when the Kastellorizo inhabitants saw that the Greek fleet was taking rule over most of the islands of the Aegean sea (those that were not under Italian occupation), they rose up against the Turks who did not put up any resistance. Three years later, the French occupy the island abolishing the Greek authorities and install themselves on the island until 1920 when they hand it over to Italy. 

From this fateful and dark moment onwards, the noble island was plounged into mourning and grief. Its great cultural progress as well as its shipping and trade declined and many inhabitants, unble to put up with the Italian yoke, started to expatriate, the population decreased to about 2,000. 

Mourning and terrorism are prevalent on the island until Sept. 1943 when an army of occupation disembarked from the Greek destroyer "Pavlos Kountouriotis". The inhabitants do not proceed to demonstrations but observe this new disembarkation with anxiety as if they had a presentiment that something bigger would follow. 

Two months later German airplanes bombed the island; almost all the houses were destroyed. . The few inhabitants that had remained on the island are evacuated and taken to Palestine as refugees for two whole years. 

Kastellorizo, once a happy islands was now completely destroyed and deserted. The island remained for two more years under British occupacy until March 7th 1947 when Kastellorizo was annexed to Greece and remains Greek ever since. 
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The hidden canyon 2735 hits

A small but wonderful canyon.