Other Islands of the Dodecanese.


Map of Karpathos.
Map of Karpathos.


Diodorus Siculus states that the first inhabitans were Cretan subjects of King Minos, then the ruler of the seas. They were followed by Argives, under Iolkos son of Democleon.
Homer calls the island Krathos and mentions its participation in the Trojan War in the Iliad (II, 676). Strabo (C189) tells us that there were four cities on Karpathos:
   a. Nisyros, a city in the north or north-west of the island, the exact site of which has not been discovered but which is believed to have been located on the islet of Saria (ancient Saros).
   b. Potidaion, now called Posi, close to the chief town.
   c. Arcesia or Arcesine, near modern Arkasa.
   d. Brykoi or Brykous, a city whose site has been identified, by inscriptions, in the vicinity of modern Vroukounta or Vourgounta.

Karpathos initially took the Athenian side in the Peloponnesian War, but in 404 BC it was forced to succumb to Sparta. Later it was a member of the Athenian Confederation. Its subsequent history was similar to that of Rhodes. Under the Byzantine Empire, it was part of the theme of the Kibberaiotai, until captured by Leo Gavalas, Prince of the Cyclades, in 1224. In 1282, Karpathos came into the hands of Luigi and Andrea Maresco, two brothers from Genoa, and in 1306 it was captured by John Cornaros of Crete. In 1311 the Knights of St John, now in charge of Rhodes, took Karpathos as well. Later it was taken by Barbarossa, the Turks, and in 1912 by the Italians. Karpathos was liberated in 1945.


The Island:
Karpathos is the second largest island in the Dodecanese. It is to the south-west of Rhodes, between Rhodes and Crete, 242 nautical miles from Piraeus and 83 from Rhodes.
It is a long island with mountainous terrain, the highest mountains being Mt Lastos or Kalolimni (1215 m), which divides the island into its "Upper" and "Lower" parts, and Mt Prophitis Ilias (718 m).
Karpathos has a population of 5.323 people.

Karpathos - Pighadia:
Capital and main port of the island, on its south-eastern coast and in the foothills of the tree-covered Mt Kalolimni. It is a modern and pleasant town, standing on the edge of the bay, with 4 km of sandy beach. 1,5 km from the town, the road parallel with the coast passes the ruïns of an Early Christian Basilica of the 5th - 6 th century, St Photeine.
At Posi there are the remains of the acropolis of the ancient city of "Potidaeum".

Tourist resort, 8 km from Pighadia. It has two bays with golden sand and calm sea.

At 21,5 km from Pighadia you will find this village perched on a steep rock. This old-world village has fine neo-classical buildings with soft colours. The churches of St Mamas and of the Dormition of the Virgin are notable buildings.

The village, 9 km from Menetes, is divided into two by a stream, and is now a summer resort. Its name comes from that of the ancient city of Arcesia or Arcesine, remains of which have been found high on the hill. At Arkasa are the ruïns of the Byzantine Church of St Anastasia from the 5th century. This had superb mosaïc floors, which are now in Rhodes Museum.

A peaceful fishing village with a sandy beach, the port of Arkasa (2 km), 19 km from Pighadia. On the coast is the war memorial to the seven local fishermen who travelled from Karpathos to Alexandria to bring news to the Greek government in exile of the uprising during the Second World War.

13 km north of Phiniki and 32 km from Pighadia, with three sandy beaches, 2 km from the coast road.

4 km from the turn for Lefkos, 16 km from Pyles. An attractive village in the shape of an amphitheatre with white houses and stepped streets. A traditional Karpathos house with the typical wood decoration and pebble floors is open to the public.

The village is approximately 4 km from Mesochori, with a view of the whole of the east coast of the island. This is the starting-point for the difficult road to the village of Olympos and the path to the beach of Agios Nikolaos.

A mountain village at 310 m, in a verdant area, with fine buildings, most of which belong to Greeks of the Diaspora who have returned home. It was the capital of the island from 1700 to 1892 and is the headquarters of the Metropolitan Bishopric of Karpathos and Kasos.
From Aperi an aerth road leads to the attractive Mertonas and Katodio area with its streams and then to the sandy beaches of Achata and Kyra Panaghia.

A mountain village at approximately 400 m, 10 km from Karpathos with traditional architecture and a fine view out to sea.

At an altidude of 510 m and 12 km from Pighadia, is the mountain village of Othos, also with fine views out to sea. There is a small folk museum in the village with a tipical Karpathos house, a large number of of folk art exhibits, and articles in everiday use.

From Othos the road rolls down the side of the mountain towards Pyles, 15 km from Othos, providing an excelent view towards Kasos. The village itself climbs up the side of Mt Kalolimni. Its houses are painted in soft colours and its gardens are full of lemon trees. Excellent cheese and honey are produced in the area.
From Pyles an earth road descends trough an aromatic pine wood to the sea shore, approximately 1 hour on foot.

The port of the nothern part of the island and of the village of Olympos.

Olympos or Elympos:
Perched on the bare slopes of Mt Prophitis Ilias, 4 km from Diaphania, is a village which is, in effect, a living museum. Time seems to have stopped here. Tradition is kept up not only in the architecture of the buildings and in the manners and customs, but also in everyday life. The woman wear the traditional costume on an everyday basis - embroidered skirts, waiscoats, kerchiefs in bright colours and kidskin boots. The interiors of the houses are decorated with embroideries and on the outside they are adorned with painted plaster reliefs.
The dialect spoken here retains unaltered many features of ancient Doric. The houses have wooden locks of a type described by Homer. The woman still grind the maize in windmills and bake bread in outdoor ovens. It is believed that the village of Olympos was settled in the 10th and in the 15th century as a result of a gathering together of farmers and the inhabitants of Vrykountas - at the northern end of the island - which was destroyed by an earthquake. The site on which the village was built was inaccessible amid the mountains and thus safe for its residents, who elsewhere would have been endangered by pirate raids.
To begin with, the town was walled and had a tower in the middle, of which nothing has survived. Little by little the inhabitants began to build their houses outside the walls. The church of Our Lady in the centre of the village and the churches of St Onuphrius and of the Holy Trinity are worth visiting.
The line of windmills is striking, as it blends into the mountain ridge.

This village is deserted in winter and has a few inhabitants in summer, chiefly farmers. The footpath which leads to its sets out from Olympos, from the line of windmills, and passes a white church, streambeds and, just before the village, the white monastery of St Constantine - after a walk of approximately 90 mins. At this point on the path, a branch off to the right leads in half an hour to the Diaphani - Olympos road. If we continue straight along the path in front of the monastery, we see rising before us the gentle colours of the houses of Avlona.

Agios Ioannis:
At the ruïned village of Vougountas, or Vroukounta, north of Avlona. There are remains of the castle high on the hill, with the Chapel of St John below, while a whole area has scattered remains of the ancient city of Brykous, the site of which has not been identified with certainty. This is the living background against which the four-day local festivities which begin on 29 August are enacted.

Text from Davaris Publications. - Greek Islands: DODECANESE.

Karpathos. Karpathos. Karpathos. Karpathos.
Karpathos. Karpathos. Karpathos. Karpathos.
Karpathos. Karpathos. Karpathos. Karpathos.
Karpathos - Girl traditional dressed. (Big size photograph)
Click on the image to enlarge.

Back to the Top of the page!

Take me back to the previous page!


This page looks best when viewed in the latest version of the
Internet explorer browser!
© Nostalgia Travel ™ / Other Islands / Karpathos.