The Island and village of Kastellorizo
This chapter will evolve as I find the time and inspiration to add to it. For now you will find here facts and practicalities that I hope can be of interest and of use to visitors.
Kastellorizo, or Megisti as the Island is officially called, is the eastern most of the Greek Aegean. It lies seventy miles due east from Rhodes and 3 miles off the southern Turkish harbour of Kas, fairly close to Antalya. It is a port of entry and one is therefore able to travel between Greece and Turkey through here.
A bit of history
As is the case with most of the Islands of the Dodecanese, Kastellorizo has had a tumultuous past. Its large and well protected natural harbour made it an important trading and maritime centre, one of the many links between the Levant and the western world of the middle ages. Even though the island came under the rule of many different powers over the centuries, its local population was from a very early stage purely Greek. Centuries of Ottoman occupation did nothing to alter that; during this period the Island flourished as a maritime hub. Kastelloriziotes were renowned boat builders and exported their skills throughout Asia Minor; they were also specialists in the production of fine charcoal for water pipes. All these skills gave the local population a special status within the Ottoman empire, which translated in the right to openly exercise and teach the Orthodox religion. Religious schools further added to the wealth of the small island, with families from mainland Greece sending their children to be brought up in the Orthodox faith.
The apogee of Kastellorizo came in the early twentieth century. There were over ten thousands residents in the village, and the island was of strategic importance for western nations, a bastion and shelter set just a few miles from the Turkish coast and from the powerful remains of the Ottoman empire.
Decline came with the advent of modern commercial shipping; timber sailing