Discovery of the Week: Kastelorizo, Greece
This post is part of a weekly feature called Discovery of the Week. By discovery, I mean a place, a custom or dish that is not widely known. See, I love to read travel magazines, websites and books. Very often, I find beautiful and interesting gems that not a lot of people seem to know about. That is why I thought about introducing this feature because I am sure it will expose a lot of astonishing places. Additionally, I enjoy learning about the many amazing places in the world. I believe my readers also enjoy this activity.
This week discovery: Kastelorizo
Where it is located: Greece but it lies one mile from the south coast of Turkey.
What it is: The smallest island of the Dodecanese archipelago (5 sq miles). Last weekend, when I visited Mexico I bought a copy of the National Geographic Traveler magazine (Mexican edition). A story about this Greek island is featured in this month’s edition. When I saw the pictures of the colorful houses climbing the skirts of several mountains in contrast with the blue seas, it was love at first sight. It amazes me how such a small island has one of the biggest personalities I have encountered in the traveling world. I have been thinking the entire week about Kastelorizo. Therefore, it was the perfect choice for this week’s discovery.
The interesting thing about this island is that it has an official and traditional name. The official name is Megisti but it is rarely used. Everybody calls the island Kastelorizo which is a combination of two words. “Castello” comes from the Latin meaning castle and it is believed “rizo” is derived from the Italian word meaning red. So, here you have have it, an island where the castle turns to shades of red during sunset. By the way, Megisti means “biggest” or “greatest” which is ironic due to the small area of the island. It was probably given that name because is the biggest of a small archipelago.
Like most of the islands located in the Aegean Sea, Kastelorizzo has been occupated by many of the European countries and empires. In the case of this small island, the list of former owners seems infinite. Additionally, the closeness to Turkey plays an important role on how the island looks and exists today. A lot of the houses are built in the Anatolian style. An Ottoman mosque is located near the harbor. There are daily ferries connecting to Kas, Turkey. This island is a place to discover natural beauty, history and a peaceful way of living.
Did you know about Kastelorizo? Let me know in the comments section below.