Astypalea, according to the
myth, was the daughter of Phoenicos and Perimidi and
the sister of Europe.
The island has been known since
the Phoenician times and all through antiquity, and
has always played a role because of its strategic
position. She was an ally to the Athenias, Alexander
the Great, the Romans and later the Byzantines.
The Venetians, in 1203, built
the Casle to protect themselves and the population
from the pirates. Barbarosa, the Turks and the Italians
have occupied it until 1947 when it was united with
Greece, along with the rest of the Dodecanese islands.
It lays between Amorgos to the
west, and Kos and Kalimnos, to the east. It is shaped
like a butterfly, the wings joined by a mere hundred
meters narrow! In antiquity the island was called
the “Banquet of the Gods”, because of the abundance
of game and fish.
It is one of the most beautiful
and picturesque islands of the Aegean, with a population
of 1200 .
Hora is the main village, crowned
by the Castro and the old maze like settlement surrounding
it. Today Hora and Pera Gialos, the Port, have joined,
creating a most spectacular cascade of white, all
the way down to the sea. Other villages are: Livadi,
the fertile garden of Astypalea. Maltizana, a fishing
village on the eastern part of the island and Vathy,
a protected and peaceful lagoon.
Small white chapels, tucked away
on the hills, and a few sheep and goat farms, are
the only human mark in the vast unspoiled landscape,
ideal for walking and hiking. (there are no snakes
on the island!).
The rolling hills and valleys
are covered with an abundance of thyme, sage and fragrant
herbs, which help produce the best quality honey.
For the bird lovers, a large variety of local and
migrating birds, attracted by the large reservoir,
offer an exciting time.