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History of Kastelorizo - Megisti

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KASTELLORIZO or MEGISTI (which means the biggest of the islands and was the ancient name of this beautiful, peaceful island) forms the far eastern boarder of Greece, 72 nautical miles east of the island of Rhodes and 170 miles from the west coast of Cyprus. The island is ideal for people who love peace serenity, nature and long walks. There are no cars on this island. There is only a small bus for the airport. Walking is the only means of transportation. There are however boats that can take you to the smaller islands around and to the famous Blue Cave. Megisti has a size of 9 sq kilometers and a coastal length 19 kilometers.

From the evidence of ruins, the history of the island dates as far back as neolithic times.There are cyclopean walls, now in ruins, evidence of the settlement in the island of Pelasgoi, the aegean people. The Minoans first and the Mycenians later also seemed to have visited the island as finds now in the Archaeological Museum in Athens show. Settlements of Dorieis and of the Lycians from the opposite coast of Asia Minor followed. The Lycian Grave of the 4th century B.C. is still one of the most impressive monuments on the island.

The ancient name of the island, isattributed to its first settler MEGISTEAS but according to another interpretation it is due to the fact that the island is the biggest of all the small islands spread around the area. The present name KASTELLORIZO was assumed during the crusades and was due to the red rocks, CASTEL ROSO, on which the castle was built.

Kastellorizo followed the history of the other Dodecanese islands and has the same martial and commercial tradition since it was traditionally administered by Rhodes.

At the end of the 19th century, the island flourished due to the wealth accumulated from the fishing of sponge. Famous schools and churches were built.
During the Italian occupation, however, many inhabitants emigrated to mainland Greece, to Australia -- where there are now about 50,000, and to Egypt. During the Second World War the Casttle was bombed. The island was finally reunited with Greece in 1948.

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