Other Islands of the Dodecanese.


Map of Kalymnos.
Map of Kalymnos.


Neolithic period: Human settlements on the island, as witnessed by the paleontological finds from Tsingouras near Vathi.
Prehistoric period: Traces of human settlements in various parts of the island.
After this, Kalymnos was inhabited by Carians (Diodorus Siculus V,54), Pelasgians, Leleges (ruins of walls from the Pelasgian period and of an ancient acropolis at Kastela), Cretans, and Phoenicians (placenames, ruins of a building at Emborio, etc.).
After the 15th century BC: Kalymnos is colonised by the Acheans who had also setled on Kos - arrival of colonists from Argos and Epidaurus - foundation of the city of Argos.
ca. 1200 BC: Trojan War -Kalymnos takes part, with Kos and other islands. (Homer, Iliad, II 677).
11th century BC: arrival of Dorian colonists under Thessalos, son of Herakles and Chalkiope.
Late 6th century: subjugation to Darius, king of the Persians (Herodotus, Histories, VII, 99).
480 BC: Battle of Salamis -defeat of the Persians - Liberation of the island.
478-477 BC: Membership of the Athenian Confederation.
431-404 BC: Peloponesian War - Kalymnos is forced into an alliance with Sparta.
394 BC: End of Spartan souvereignty.
358-357 BC: Occupation of Kalymnos by Artemisia, queen of Halicarnassos.
333 BC: The generals of Alexander the Great drive Artemisia out of Kalymnos - The Greek cities are declared autonomous - The Kalymnians make an alliance with Alexander the Great.
309-262 BC: Ptolemy forcibly unifies Kos and Kalymnos.
85-82 BC: Mithridates occupies Kalymnos - after his defeat at Rhodes, the islanders drive away his garrisons.
44 BC: Rome takes over the island.
31 BC: Kalymnos is included in the Eparchy of Asia - the island is stripped of its art treasures.
Early Christia period: St Paul spreads Christianity in the area.
330 AD: Kalymnos becomes part of the Byzantine Empire (theme of the Dodecanese) - Frequent raids and short periods of occupation.
554 AD: A severe earthquake causes Pothia, the largest town on the island - located in the narrow Kalymnos-Telendos valley - to sink beneath the sea.
1257-1277: Venetian rule.
1303: The Zacharias brothers nephews of Emperor Michael Palaiologos of Byzantine and Princes of Phocaia, take control in Kalymnos.
1306: The Knights of St John occupy the island.
1455: Kalymnos is occupied for a short period by the Turkish admiral Hamja.
1522: Sultan Suleyman captures Rhodes, and the Knights of St John withdraw from the Dodecanese.
1523: The Kalymnians surrender to the Turks.
1912: Italian occupation begins.
1943: During the Second World War, the Germans occupy Kalymnos.
7 March 1948: The Dodecanese islands are united with Greece.


The Island:
Kalymnos has an area of 109,67 km² and a coastline of 96 km. It is 206 nautical miles from Piraeus, 80 nautical miles from Rhodes and 18 nautical miles from Kos.
For many generations now, the name Kalymnos has been associated with sponge-fishing. Today, Kalymnos is an Attractive island rich in natural contrasts, with bare rocky mountains separated by densely-vegetated valleys and deeply-indented coastline. There are a large number of interesting caves on Kalymnos, and scattered ruins point to the existence of archaeological sites all over the island.
Unfortunately, however, none of these sites has been properly excavated, and the items on show in the museum are the result of chance finds.

Kalymnos - Pothia:
Or Pothaia is the island's port and chief town, standing on a naturally amphitheatrical site; from the recesses of a valley where the settlement called Chorio is located, a torrent of brightly-painted houses floods out into the broad bay of Pothia, where the harbour lies. Along the wide seafront are numerous cafes, restaurants and shops, while caïques and other craft large and small moor in the harbour.
- The Museum: is in the Agia Triada part of Town, to the north of the sea-front. It has a large collection of archaeological finds, including statues, reliefs, vases, amphorae, figurines, pieces of juwellery and coins. Among the most notable exhibits are a relief of the North Wind, a head of Aphrodite Limenia, a granite statue of Isis, the Flying Lion relief, and heads of Hygeia and Aphrodite Pothaea - work of the 4th century BC, by the sculptor Scopas of Paros.
In the centre of the sea-front stands the cathedral church of Christ the Saviour. The interior of the church is ornamented with fine works of art: the sanctuary screen was carved by the sculptor Yannoulis Halepas of Tinos, while the icons in the wall-paintings are the work of the important local artists Sakelaris Manglis, Georgios Economou and Michail Alafouzos.

**Route A**

The Chrysochera Castle:
On the left of the road from Pothia to Chorio is the Chrysochera castle, built by the Knights of Rhodes on the ruïns of an earlier Byzantine fortress. Inside the enceinte is the church of Our Lady 'Chrysochera' - meaning ' golden handed'; the name is traditionally derived from the finding on the spot of a hoard of gold coins. On the slopes of the castle hill are three old windmills.

Sanctuary of the Nymphs, or Cave of the Seven Virgins:
To the north-east, on the side of Mt Flaskia, is the cave which bears these names. In antiquity, it was a sanctuary to the Nymphs and the recesses in wich votive statues were placed can still be seen. The alternative name comes from a folk tradition, that seven maidens took refuge in the cave in order to save themselves from the pirates who frequently raided Kalymnos in earlier times but were unable to find their way out of the labyrinthine passages in the rock.

Chora (Chorio):
2,8 km north-west of Pothia is the village which was once the chief town of Kalymnos. There is a finely-ornamented Church of Our Lady 'Kecharitomeno' or 'ton Tsikoudion', once the island's cathedral.

Pera Kastro:
This castle stands on a rocky hill directly above Chora, the old capital of the island. It is a Byzantine structure, extended by the Knights of Rhodes. Although it is uninhabited today, the protection from pirates which it could afford was the reason why many people lived here until the 18th century. Among the ruïns of the stone houses are nine whitewashed and well-preserved chapels.

Christ of Jerusalem:
The church of Christ of Jerusalem is on the road from Chorio to Panormos. It was built by the Byzantine Emperor Arcadius - using materials from an ancient temple of Apollo - as an indication of his gratitude for having been able to take refuge in Kalymnos and survive a great storm that struck his ship as he was sailing back from Jerusalem. The church is now in ruïns. Other ruïns in the same area suggest that the Hellenistic temple of Apollo, in the Ionic order, was a large, richly ornamented and important sanctuary.

Tombs with grave goods, the foundations of houses and traces of a wall have been found in this area to the north of Chorio. The name comes from the ancient Doric word damos, equivalent to demos, meaning the assembly of the people. The abundant fig trees (sykies) explain the area's other name, Sykomeria. A narrow branch, left, off the main road leads to Kantouni.

5,5 km from Pothia. The road to the plateau of Argos turns left off the main road beyond Chorio. The exact position of the ancient settlement named by colonists from Argos in the Peloponnese after ther mother city is not know. However, there are ruïns and traces of ancient buildings which, taken in conjunction with the name, are a strong suggestion of the nature of the city that once stood here. The Argos road ends at the Nunnery of the Annunciation.

Elies - Panormos:
This pretty village is 4 km from Pothia. A road, left, from the little square takes us to the beaches of Kantouni and Linaria - Platis Yalos. Perched on a steep cliff above Kantouni is the Monastery of the Cross, whose feast day is 14 September.

as the main road heads downhill from Elies, we come to a fine view of the coastal vcillage of Myrties, resort area which has been developed for tourism - with accommodations, cafes, tavernas and shops. Every ten minutes or so, launches set out from the jetty for the island of telendos. There are also sailings once a day to Xirokampos on Leros.
Myrties has an excellent pebbly beach with crystal-clear water. The sunsets at Myrties are magical in their beauty.

This island lies about 700 metres off the coast of Kalymnos, of which it was once part. In the earthquake of 554 BC, which according to the historiographer Agathias lasted for 14 days, the ground subsided and the channel of water separating the two islands came into being. On the bed of the sea, important ruïns have been found of the ancient buildings in a large city which has been tentatively identified as Pothaea.
The terrain of the island is mountainous, with Rachi (458 m) as the highest peak. The harbour of Telendos is small and quiet, and the visitor will find tavernas, cafes and a few rooms to rent. On the island are the remains of a Roman town, a castle, and th medieval monastery of St Basil. Behind the town - to the west - is a sandy bech.

The next village along the main road, after Myrties, is Masouri, also a resort with a wide range os tourist facilities. There is a superb view to Telendos from most of the restaurants, cafes and bars, and much of the accommodation also takes adventage of the view.

This little village is 17 km from Pothia, at the head of a bay by the same name.

The name of this village, wich is 3 km from Arginontas and 20 km from Pothia, comes from the ancient city of Skaliodes on Kalymnos.

Skalia cave:
1 km before we enter the village of Skalia, 200 m to the right of the road on a rocky hillside approximately 150 m above sea level, is one of the finest caves on the island.

An unsurfaced track, after the summit of the hill, climbs from Skalia to this little village. The distance of about 2 km can be walked in an hour.

The road continues beyond Skalia to Emborios, where there is a very pleasant pebbly beach with plenty of trees to provide shade.
Emborios, 20 km from Pothia, was a centre for trade in very ancient times, as can be concluded by its name (meaning 'Place of trade') and from the traces of ancient buildings that have come to light.

  **Route B**

The south of Kalymnos.

This modern hydrotherapy unit, which has accommodation facilities, is 2 km from the taxi rank in Pothia. The waters contain sulphur, potassium, sodium, chlorine and radium.

Nunnery of All Saints:
The convent is located approximately 4 km from Pothia. Next to it is the imposing new church of St Sabbas, with a fine bell-tower. There is an excelent view from the precinct of the nunnery.

After the nunnery, the road continues to the village of Vlychadia, wich lies in the interior of the island to the west of Pothia.

Nunnery of St Catherine:
The convent stands 2 km from the Nunnery of All Saints.

  **Route C**

East of Kalymnos.

8 km to the north-west of Pothia is this attractive village, standing on the edge of a verdant valley with dense mandarin groves and market gardens. Vathi is at the head of a natural bay which runs deep into the cliffs to form a kind of fjord. The waters are calm and the little habour, called Rina, is protected from the weather. The area is know for the quality of its mandarins.

The road from Vathi continues along the valley into the interior of the island and reaches Stimena. On the hill called Kastela, above the village, are traces of the ancient Acropolis.

This island, which its tiny population, is about six nautical miles from Kalymnos harbour. Pserimos is small, with low hills and sandy beaches where the water is shallow until quite a long way from the shore. There is a quiet village with a few rooms to rent and tevernas. Pserimos is visited each day by launches operating day trips from Kos and also from Kalymnos.

Text from Davaris Publications. Greek Islands: DODECANESE.

Click on the image to enlarge.

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Beaches on the Island of Kalymnos

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Nostalgia Travel ™ / Other Islands / Kalymnos.