Aventura Yachting

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Kastellerizo (Greek) (see page  18)

The island's official name, Megisti (Μέγιστη), is rarely used in Greek, the traditional name Kastellorizo (Καστελλόριζο) being common. There are several hypotheses about the origin of the name Kastellorizo, which is thought to date from Byzantine era. "Kastello" derives from the Latin word "castellum", meaning "small fort", and this word (in the Greek form) was used frequently by Byzantine Greeks.

If you wish to visit you should book out of Kaş and book in to Greece and this can give your skipper some headaches.  However the many Greek restaurateurs complain to their authorities and remove the booking in procedure as their only real source of business is from yachts sailing along the Turkish coastline.  Check with your base manager before you leave.

The houses of the town are slender and characterised by wooden balconies and windows of the Anatolian type.  Behind the waterfront, many houses are still in a ruinous state. At the entrance to the harbour, on the east side, stand the single story remnants of the former Italian governate (palazzina della delegazione), erected in 1926 by the Italian architect Florestano Di Fausto (it), who also designed some of the most important buildings of the Italian period in Rhodes.  Nearby is the island's former Ottoman mosque which dates from the second half of the 18th century and which has been now restored and re-opened as a museum (2007). From here starts the town's quay, which runs along all three sides of the harbour. The central square —Plateia Ethelondon Kastellórizou—lies at the midpoint of the eastern side, near the vessel dock. On the opposite side of the harbour one has a good view from this vantage of Pera Meria, the western quay, and the monasteries of Profitis Elías and Aghia Triadha, the former now an army base.

Above the quay on the eastern side there is a pathway which leads to the Castle of the Knights (14th century). Of it remain the curtain wall, part of a square tower, the remains of a cylindrical tower at the east corner, and toward the sea another cylindrical tower. A Doric inscription, carved in the rock, attests to the existence of an earlier fortress here during Antiquity. Inside the tower there is a large covered cistern.

Ascending the steps on the eastern side of the town, one reaches the suburb of Horafia, where there is a square surrounded by the Church of Agios Yeorgios (1906), with a high dome of the Byzantine type, and the Cathedral of Agios Konstandinos and Eleni (1835).  It has three naves divided by monolithic granite columns from the temple of Apollo Lykios in Patara (Anatolia). The columns carry ogival arches. Further east is the small bay known as Mandraki, the secondary harbour of the island.

West of the town, beyond the summit of the island known as Vigla (270 m), stands Paleokastro (old castle), the island's ancient acropolis. This fortified elevation has classical origins: its plan is rectangular and measures 60 x 80 m. In its interior stand an ancient tower, built with square limestone blocks, and large water cisterns. Carved on the base of the castle there is also a Doric inscription, dating back to the 4th or 3rd centuries BC, with references to Megiste (the ancient name of Kastellorizo) and its dependence from Rhodes.  On the east side there are remnants of a gateway, or Propylaea.