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ASTYPALAIA

The beautiful Astypalaia island is the "bridge" that merges Cyclades with Dodekanisa. Full of high rocks and hills, splendid beaches and picturesque villages the island calls the visitor to a magic journey to the Aegean' blue and the white of its' houses.

Its' name that means the "old city" is credited to Astypalaia, sister of Europe, mother of king Minos while, according to another version it comes from the words "asty" (town) and "palaia" (old), from the Dorians chambered in the island discovering a previous Phoenician settlement.

It is an island of great history, tradition and uniqueness in sights with beautiful white houses with limy courts and planted edelweisses and picturesque country churches, a perfect choice for peaceful holidays.

Chora is the capital city and port, connected with Pera Gialos, for many the most beautiful metropolis of the Aegean Islands.

At its top, the Guerini' Venetian castle towers, built with the traditional local sable rock and surrounded by white houses whose curtains form a wall with the small windows looking like embrasures.

In the castle you will see the couple of the snow-white churches with the lithic ornate steeples, the Panagia Evaggelistria and Agios Georgios while in the opposite overmasters the castle of Agios Ioannis, traditionally referred as inexpugnable refuge for the citizens during the pirates' invasions.

The magnificent windmills at the pass over Skala have cylindric structure and are pertained at the category with the mills the covert of whom always follows the wind's direction.

Sententiously, the localities presenting the greatest archaeological and touristic interest are the following:

Talaras' Loutra (Talaras' Spa) at Maltezana with the unique Greek-wideHellenistic periods' inlays, with all tones of the azure palette tiles and colours and a considerable composition expressing the epochs and the star signs.

The monument of the French Admiral Bigot, leader of the struggle against the pirates at the end of the 18th century, near Schoinontas village. A Monument for the Heros is assembled in this place.

The ruins of the Minoan settlement and the debris of Pirgos at the entrance of Vathis Bay. It concerns about the relics of a paleochristian Cathedral of the 5th century with remarkable mosaics at Maltezana. Upon them is now built Agias Varvaras Tabernacle with Ionic capital at the lintel. At the courtyard rise monolithic columns and footstall while the area with the sward in front is believed as premier Artemis' Sanctum location.

The Venetian Castle of the Gouerini phratry with the family coat of arms, architectonically collateral to the castellated settlement character.

The houses of Guerinis, all environing the entrance at the east side are bi-level and until 1956 were inhabited. Inside the castle there is a couple of snow-white churches with ornate campaniles. At he entrance the one for Panagia tou Kastrou Evagellistria (Holy Mary the Salvationist of the Castle) and at the end the one for Agios Georgios. Panagias Church is built in 1853 upon the arcaded entrance to the castle and at its inside you can see the landlord epigraph of the 1413 and the shields of Guerinis. Agios Georgios Church was built at 1790.

Agios Ioannis Castle opposite the homonymous fane is a natural fortress with a secret entrance and a slack to the abutting hill, according to the tale. Here the horrid pirate Barbarosa attacked and extinguished the citizens. According to the myth, this castle was impregnable. Today, saved are the relics of its' structures and a lagoon. Maybe here had the habitants taken shelter at the hard years of the pirates' attacks that infested the Aegean Sea since the 7th century.

The Panagia Portahitissa' church at Chora is snow-white, with a gorgeous campanile and is lodged under the castle in Rodia. It is one of the most brilliant in the entire Dodekanisa group. It was founded by Osios Anthimos at the middle of the 18th century. It has a woodcut reredos, invested with thinness of gold, unique of its type. The tradition says that this icon was miraculously impressed on the wood by placing it over the prototype one of the Iberians Abbey at Mount Athos. Beside Panagia' church a small ecclesiastic gallery of old icons is lodged.

The Dragons Cavern with its impressive stalactites and stalagmites and Negros' Cave mythically related affined with myths of pirates and treasures.

Numerous are the beaches formed by the voes surrounding the island. Agios Konstantinos, Vatses, Kaminakis, Agios Ioannis Panormos and Pachia Ammos is only a few while boats transport the visitors seeking for peaceful coasts to the ones at the nearby Koutsomitis and Syrna islands.

At the Exo Nisi area you should visit Agios Ioannis and to admire the waterfall as long as in Livadi area you can admire a fertile vale of fruit-bearing trees and wonderful flowers. A motley scene that blends absolutely with the offshore landscape.

Southwards of Mesa Nisi you will meet Maltezana (Analypsis), the resort with the highest touristic inflow. Here, at 1827 the French Admiral Bigot set fire to his own ship to avoid its' capturing by the pirates.

Map of Astypalaia

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