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> The Island of Kalymnos
post Apr 10 2012, 10:27 AM
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Rolling Stone

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The Island of Kalymnos

Kalymnos is located between Kos and Leros in the south-eastern Aegean Sea and belongs to the Dodecanese Islands prefecture. The area is 111.14 square kilometres and is the fourth largest island in the Dodecanese prefecture. The name of the island used to be Kalynda then changed to Kalymna and finally Kalymnos. Also known as the island of the Sponge Divers due to its residents’ sponge fishery avocation.

Leros, Patmos, Pserimos, Astipalea, Telendos, Agathonisi and Lipsi also belong to Kalymnos. The capital of Kalymnos is Pothia where most of the inhabitants live. Chora is the second largest residential area and the former capital of the island. Other areas of Kalymnos include Argos, Myrties, Masouri, Skala, Vathis, Panormos, Emporios, Vlihada, Lafasi, Vothini and the islet Telendos.

The inhabitants’ occupation with sponge fishing led to economic growth and the island flourished, the effects of which are evident in the numerous neoclassic stately homes built in every corner of the island. Even today there are still sponge divers who go underwater to collect the sponges in their own traditional method. Traditions are still maintained and celebrated on this beautiful island, reminiscing the sponge-fishing boat departures, the moments of separation and then the celebration of their successful return.

Nowadays tourism has become a second resource of economic growth for all residents, who every summer see their island full of visitors mainly those who appreciate the island’s tranquility and lovely beaches. Even higher in numbers are the visitors from daily, organized excursions of nearby islands. The small boats from Kos take almost 2 hours to reach the island. Upon reaching Pothia, the picturesque capital you will be welcomed by a mermaid statue on rocks, cute houses with multi coloured windows, giving the visitor a pleasant first impression.

Following the beach road you can visit the Church Of Christ (or Saviour). Its temple is the work of a well know sculptor of Tinos Island, Giannouli Chalepa and its mural paintings were carried out by local painters. The beautiful buildings and green background complete the island’s image. At the dock the small touristic shops filled with sponges highlight Kalymnos character. The processing sponge workshops are worth visiting. If you have time to spare then the Archaeological – Folklore Museum is also worth visiting.

Close to town lies the Castle of “Chrysoherias” built by the Knights of Rhodes on ancient byzantine ruins, in the centre of which you will find the Church of “Chrysoherias”.The “Chorio” (Village) is the island’s older capital. Traces of the Knights can also be found here enhancing the byzantine Pera Castle (Away Castle).

Some years back I have sailed from the island of Kos to Kalymnos. I have some nice photos included in this entr which I am sure they will help you get an idea of what to expect.

My blog on Kalymnos.

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