Majestic temples and restored mansions gazing out at the Aegean welcome you to Kastelorizo. Two-story homes, painted vivid colours, crafted from local stone, wood from Asia Minor, and tiles from Antalya and Massalia. The little island that stands at the crossroads of Europe and Asia was a cosmopolitan and prosperous place, as shipping captains would bring riches and new ideas from all over the world. Today this island on the edge of the Aegean has only 300 inhabitants. It is the biggest of the 13 other little islands that surround it, hence its nickname ‘Megisti’ meaning ‘Largest’.
Few, but ever so hospitable locals prepare for Greek Easter. They air out their homes, polish their silver, take out the age-old recipes from their drawers.
Authentic and mystical experiences await you on the night of the Resurrection, when –according to the old custom – after ‘Christ Has Risen’ the priest chants the gospel in the courtyard, and then is not admitted back into the church until he shouts “Open the door” three times. The Resurrection celebrations begin the next day and last for three days in total. The locals of Kastelorizo have singing and dancing in their blood. Violins and flutes accompany traditional dances, while local treats and delicacies that have the aroma of the Aegean are served. On Easter Sunday the gospel is read aloud in several different languages and the women dance all together in the church’s courtyard. In the old days, the women had the power – they would ask the men to marry them, and not the other way around!
The island may be tiny, but there is so much to see. The neighbourhoods Pigadia and Horafia, with the mosque, the Lighthouse, the Museum of Modern History, the beautiful church St. George of Pigadi and the clock of 1903. Mandraki with its shipyard and cobblestone streets. And above it all rises the castle of the Knights of St. John, erected in the 14th century: the Kastello Rosso, from which the island got its name. Paleokastro with its Dorian acropolis and famous, world-renowned Blue Cave. The light of the sun, refracted through the sea, creates thousands of iridescent reflections onto the stalactites, transforming it into a magnificent palace!