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Astypalea island Greece

Astypalea Astypalaea Griechenland Astypalaia isola

Astypalea is like a bridge that connects the Cyclades and the Dodecanese combining elements from both island complexes. It has an area of ​​97, a coastline of 110 km. And 1,113 inhabitants. It is 23 nautical miles from Kos and 96 from Rhodes.
Full of high rocks and hills, with beautiful beaches and picturesque villages, it invites the visitor on a magical journey to the blue Aegean and the white of its houses.
Its name (meaning "old town") is given, according to mythology, to a sister in Europe, the mother of King Minos. Astypalea and Europe were daughters of Phoenix and Perimedes. From the union of Astypalea with Poseidon were born Agkaios and the king of Kos Evripilos. Another version about the naming states that it comes from the words asty and paleos, because the Dorians who settled on the island found an older settlement built by the Phoenicians.

From a transformation of a foreign name, probably Phoenician, the words asty and old meant a low place, since the island consists of two parts that are connected to each other by a low isthmus. Many scholars consider the place name to be non-Greek and reduce it to the Sumerian language as-dub-gal-e, which means god bank.

An island with a rich history, tradition, unique images with beautiful white houses and whitewashed courtyards with bougainvillea, picturesque chapels, is an ideal place for a quiet vacation.
Chora, the capital and port, is built on a rock that penetrates the sea, forming two coves. On one side is the port and on the other Livadi bay.
Chora is almost united with the port, Pera Gialos, is for many the most beautiful island capital in the Aegean. At the top of Chora dominates the Venetian castle of Guerini, built with the traditional local dark stone, surrounded by white houses. The outer walls of the houses create a wall, with small windows for loopholes.
The town and the castle of Astypalea "illuminated" by the full moon

Inside the castle there are two whitewashed churches with ornate stone bell towers, of Panagia Evangelistria and Agios Georgios. Opposite, dominates the castle of Ai-Giannis, which tradition wants invincible, a refuge of the inhabitants in the pirate raids. The amazing windmills that are located in the saddle above Skala in Chora, have the shape of a cylinder and belong to the category of the windmill, whose roof turns depending on the direction of the wind.

The island is divided into the Inside and the ‘Outside Island with a sandy strip the Strait 100 meters long. If it were not for this narrow strip that connects them, Astypalea would be two separate neighboring islands.

Beaches of Astypalea

There are many beaches formed by its lacy coves around the island. Agios Konstantinos, Vatses, Kaminakia, Agios Giannis, Panormos, Pachia Ammos are some of them. Boats transport visitors who want to enjoy deserted beaches to the nearby islands of Koutsomyti and Syrna.

Inside and Outside island

In Exo Nisi it is worth visiting Agios Ioannis and admiring its waterfall as well as Livadi, south of the capital, with its large beach. In the area of ​​Livadi, marvel at the fertile valley with its fruit trees and beautiful flowers. A colorful image that blends in beautifully with the seaside landscape.

In the south of Mesa Nissi, you will find Maltezana or Analipsi, a resort with the largest tourist traffic in Astypalea. Maltezana took its name from the Maltese pirates who had the island as their base. Here, in 1827, the Frenchman Bigot set fire to his ship in order not to be captured. On the northeastern side of Astypalea is the lagoon Lost Lake, on the shores of which Vathi is built.

From here you can visit by boat the Cave of the Dragon, the Cave of Negri or further south the Italian fortress Castellano.
For day trips there are the islands of Chondro, Ligno, Agia Kyriaki, Koutsomyti with a beautiful beach and Kounoupi. Farther away are Adelfia, Syrna and Trianisia. In the west the islands Ktenia, Pontikoussa, Ofidoussa, Katsagreli and in the north Fokies. Astypalea belongs to the Dodecanese islands at the south east Aegean . The coastline of Astypalea is rocky and wild with beautiful coves and beaches like some of the southern coasts of Crete. The shape of the island resembles an egg-timer narrowing in the middle to a strip just 10 m wide which connects the two sections. This strip is known as 'Steno', which divides Astypalea into the eastern Mesa Nisi (middle island) and the western 'Ekso Nisi' (the outer island). To the southeast are several little islands: Hondro, Ligno, Aghia Kyriaki which has a church dedicated to Saint Kyriaki, Kounoupi and Koutsomytis with a lovely swimming beach. A little further away are the Tria Nisya, Syrna and Adelfi and to the west are the small islands of Pontikoussa, Ktenia, Katsagreli and Ofidoussa . Going north you will come to Fokionisia. The capital of Astypalea is Hora which as well is the main port of the island. Hora is built on a hill which protruding from the sea forms two bays ,Livadia and Pera Yialos . The top of the hill is dominated by a fortress built from dark local stone which creates a beautiful contrast to the glowing white domes of the churches Evangelistria and Aghios Georgios that was built there. At the base of the hill are white houses with their traditional blue doors and windows and wooden railings around the balconies. Dotted amongst the houses are churches and domed chapels. On the crest of the hill are the eight windmills, regarded as the crowning glory of Hora. It is well worth visiting the traditional coffee house near to the Town Hall before reaching the crossroads to climb up the hill to the Fortress. Each road here will take you to a church like the Monastery of Panaghia Portaitisa on the Livadia and the Megali Panaghia Church on the Pera Yialos. Ferries from Athens approaching the island frequent.

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