Dodekanisa guide ASTYPALAIA

Sightseeing

THE CASTLE

It protected the locals from piracy and revived the settlement which in the second half of the 14th century was almost abandoned. It was established by the Venetians of the house of Querini, in 1413. Its fortification, which was made out of local ferrous rock, was very strong and it still impresses visitors today. The only entrance is on the west side. It is a low-ceilinged passageway covered with vaults. At several points the wall rests on reinforced walls of houses, which are called "xokastra" and formed a second line of defense around the castle.

  • Within the walls a tower has been preserved at the southern end of the castle, as well as two churches, the Annunciation of Virgin Mary (Lady of the Castle) and St. George which was built in 1790.

THE CAPITAL (CHORA)

Until 180 years ago only the castle existed here due to the fear of piracy, which did not allow residents to extend the settlement outside the walls. After 1830 construction began on both sides of the road that connected the old port with the fortified hill. In the square of Chora there are:

  • the City Hall
  • the Municipal Library and slightly below the traditional coffee shop called “Mougou”.
  • From the Townhall two central streets begin leading up to the Castle.
  • One of the most popular aspects of Chora is the traditional windmills. They are located in the neck of the settlement, over the stairs and they have been recently renovated.

ANCIENT INFANT CEMETERY

The discovery of an ancient infant necropolis in the southern limits of Chora, on the hill of Katsali, is unique for the archaeological history of Greece. The landfill was located at the position Kylindra and it has been used continuously from the Geometric to the Hellenistic period. Approximately 2,260 burials in pots have been identified. From the sizes of the bones we conclude that they were only infants and young children.

BATHS OF TALARA

Remnants of a Late Roman bath have been found near the beach of Maltezana. You can still see the floor mosaics with themes of the four seasons of the year and the astrological cycle.

VAULTED TOMBS OF ARMENOCHORI

In Armenochori, in the area above the beaches Tzanaki and Kaminakia, the archaeologists have unearthed vaulted graves with rich grave goods which are exhibited in the Archaeological Museum Astypalaia. The fact that they date back to the early phase of the Mycenaean civilization leads to significant conclusions for the movements of peoples in the Aegean.

NEGROU (BLACK MAN) CAVE. According to tradition, one African pirate used the cave as a hideout, which is why it took that name. It has large chambers with stalagmites and stalactites. To traverse it you need a flashlight and basic speleological equipment. You can approach it with one of the excursion boats from Chora and Maltezana which tie up the beach of Vatsa. From there begins the path that leads to the entrance of the cave.

PANAGIA FLEVARIOTISSA

The church of the monastery is dedicated to the Presentation of Jesus at the temple hence the name Flevariotissa (referring to the month Februarya) as it is celebrated on 2/2. Apart from the church it includes other outbuildings. The church is cruciform with a vault and a dome. In the north wall the chapel on the panel of the rock is the spot where, according to local tradition, the icon of the Virgin, which is worshiped today by the faithful, was found.

MONASTERY OF ST. JOHN

This monastery once flourished and its facilities spread out on two hills with uninterrupted views to the sea. Today, only the church of John the Baptist is saved. Opposite the monastery, on another steep hill there was a castle. According to the legend they communicated through a secret tunnel. Today only a few ruins and a cistern have remained. The medieval fortress was destroyed in the 16th century by the Algerian Hayreddin Barbarossa.

PANAGIA POULARIANI

She has a reputation for contributing to the salvation of seafarers. Even today the old fishermen of the island narrate stories about friends who stumbled upon a storm and managed to regain their way to the island due to unexpected light from the direction of the church.

PANAGIA PORTAITISSA

A peculiar temple of the 18th century with an architecture which combines the Aegean style with influences from the Russian Enlightenment. The treasured icon of Astypalaia, Panagia Portaitissa, a true replica of the corresponding image in Iviron monastery on Mount Athos, is kept inside the church.

ARCHAEOLOGICAL MUSEUM OF ASTYPALAIA

It is located in Pera Gialos and it presents findings from the Neolithic Age to the Middle Ages. More specifically, you can see offerings from the Mycenaean vaulted tombs in Armenochori, tools and leaden weights of 1300 BC, silver coins and offerings of classical times, architectural members of the early Christian churches and Venetian blazons.

Tel.: +30 22430 61500

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