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History of Astypalea

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Astypa'laia or Astypalia' ( or Astropalia as it is called by the seamen) is the most westerly island of the Dodecanese. The island is 169 nautical miles from Piraeus, 94 n.m. from Rhodes, 57 n.m. from Kos and 44 n.m. from Kalymnos. The island's shape is one of a butterfly, the narrowest part being its isthmus of 100m. The total length of its coastline is 110km.

Archaeological finds show that the island was first settled by Carians, long before the age of written history and they experienced great prosperity in antiquity. In ancient Astypalaia there existed many archaic buildings: the sanctuaries of Athena, Asklepios, Apollo and Artemis.The Astypaleots worshipped Zeus, Dionysos and Dictyna as well as the heroes Achilles and Cleomides.
In 436 B.C. the island came under the hegemony of Athens and its annual financial contribution, according to the lists, amounted to 12,000 drachmas. Because of the position of the island in the Aegean sea, between Kos, Rhodes, Knidos and continental Greece, Astypalaia was a field of contest throughout 5th and 4th centuries BC, and it also experienced both Roman and Byzantine Rule. Claimed by Venice in 1207, it fell to the Turks in 1540 and then to Italians from 1912 to 1945. Finally, on 7th March 1948 it was united with Greece.

Astypalaia today:
Astypalaia is an island with little tourism and has thus retained its genuine Greek atmosphere.The people are warm and hospitable. Its splendid beaches (and small taverns) and the uninhabited islets nearby, which can be reached by caique, are good reasons for choosing the island for a relaxing holiday.


According to mythology Astypalaia was the daughter of Phoenix and Perimede and the sister of Europe. Astypalaia and the God of the Seas, Poseidon, had two sons, Anceus who became king of Samos, and Eurypylos who became king of Kos.

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