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About Kastellorizo

Kastellorizo is a small Greek island located in the eastern Mediterranean Sea, about 2 kilometers (1.2 miles) off the coast of Turkey. It is the easternmost island of Greece and the European Union. The island is part of the municipality of Megisti, which is part of the regional unit of Rhodes.

Kastellorizo has a population of about 500 people and is known for its picturesque houses and narrow streets. The island has a long history and was once a major port in the eastern Mediterranean. Today, it is a popular tourist destination known for its clear blue waters and charming atmosphere. Kastellorizo is also home to a number of historical landmarks and cultural sites, including the Byzantine castle of Kastello, which gave the island its name.

The island is a peaceful and tranquil place, with a strong sense of community and a rich cultural heritage.

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Kastellorizo Architecture

The traditional houses of Kastellorizo were once home to about 1,500 families on the island. These houses were typically given as dowries to daughters and were constructed using a standard layout with materials imported from Asia Minor and the West. The houses are made of masonry with wooden floors and feature a gabled roof and a pediment on the facade. The floor plan is rectangular and typically covers an area of 40-50 square meters.


On the ground floor, there was often a commercial space or storage area and a separate entrance to the staircase leading to the first floor. The ground floor was also often built over a vaulted cistern for collecting rainwater from the roof. In the open layout of the ground floor, there was usually a central timber column supporting a large middle beam and smaller beams as part of the first floor's structural support.


The first floor usually had a hall room along the facade for receiving guests, and a smaller room with a fireplace towards the back of the house for warmth during cold winter evenings. Furnishings were minimal, with people sleeping on mattresses on the floor and eating while sitting on rugs. Among the few movable furnishings were a bench with storage space underneath and a low, round dining table. Fixed furnishings included wood-carved shelves for displaying decorative plates and other valuable objects, as well as an elevated iconostasis with a religious lantern in front of it.


The houses of Kastellorizo had timber balconies on the facade, which were often close to nearby dwellings due to the narrow streets. The houses were plastered and painted in shades of ochre, deep red, and blue, while the inside had a wider range of colors to distinguish different living spaces.

Kastellorizo History

Kastellorizo has a long and rich history.

 

The island has been inhabited since ancient times, and it has played a significant role in the history of the eastern Mediterranean.


In ancient times, the island was known as Megisti and was part of the Lycian League, a confederation of city-states in ancient Anatolia (modern-day Turkey). The island was later conquered by the Persians, the Ptolemies, and the Romans. During the Byzantine period, Kastellorizo became an important port and was used as a base for the Byzantine navy.


In the 14th century, the island was conquered by the Knights Hospitaller, who built the castle of Kastello, which gave the island its current name. The island was later conquered by the Ottoman Empire and remained under Ottoman rule until the end of World War I, when it became part of Greece.


During World War II, the island was occupied by the Italians and then the Germans. After the war, Kastellorizo became a major port and was used as a base for the Greek navy.

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