The crystal blue colour and the golden sand of the beaches in Karpathos amaze visitors. Kyra Panagia and Apella are the most beautiful beaches, while many other nice places can be found around the island. In fact, the southern coasts are developing as windsurfing spots.
The inland is dotted with picturesque villages. Olympos is the most beautiful village, built amphitheatrically at a high altitude. In this village, every house is self-governing, with its own windmill and church. Women in Olympos are dressed in their traditional costumes every day, not only on special occasions.
A popular trip is a boat excursion to the remote island of Saria. This island is totally uninhabited but has some interesting ruins and beautiful beaches. Many folklore museums can also be found in various villages, depicting the local traditions. Located geographically between the Greek islands of Rhodes and Crete, Karpathos is a truly relaxing place for vacations. Our guide of Karpathos offers all the needed information for a visit there.
According to Greek mythology, the first inhabitant in Karpathos was the Titan Impetus, son of Uranus and Gaia. Archaeological findings though proved that the island was inhabited during the Neolithic times and that the Minoans had a great influence on the civilisation and history of Karpathos. Some even believe that the Minoans settled on Karpathos. The acropolis of Arkassa was built by the Mycenaeans after arriving on the island in the 14th century BC. Then came the Phoenicians and then the Dorians who settled in Karpathos around 1,000 BC and brought great prosperity, developing four fortified cities.
In 478 BC, Karpathos participated in the First Athenian Alliance. It was Athens ally during the Peloponnesian Wars that took place from 431 to 404 BC, but after the Athenian defeat, the island succumbed to the Spartans. It became again part of the Athenian Alliance in 397 BC and became independent. The island of Karpathos owned Karpathos during the Hellenistic period. Then various invaders succeeded: first came the Romans, followed by the Arabs, the Sericucians, the Mauritanians, the Genovese pirate Moresco, the Venetians and the Ottomans. But the Turks were never interested in the improvement and maintenance of Karpathos and never inhabited it. They just sent officers to collect the taxes, once in a while.
With the beginning of the Greek War for Independence on 1821, Karpathos also joined the fight and offered its land for refugees and gave money for the supply of the Greek revolutionary troopes and the repair of the Greek ships. The island of Karpathos became independent in 1823, becoming a province of Santorini. But, in 1830, the protocol of London gave the islands of the Dodecanese (of which Karpathos is part) to the Turks. The Italians invaded the island in 1912. They were joined by the Germans who came on Karpathos in 1943, during World War II. Finally, Karpathos became part of the independent Greek State in 1948.
Museums - Archeological
The history of Karpathos begins from the Neolithic years and is strongly connected to the history of Crete. Most of the findings are traced in the ancient cities of Arkasa, Diafani, Aperi and Mesochori.
The island remains extremely picturesque and authentic with typical Karpathian houses spread on the imposing hills. This attractive aspect of Karpathos is presented in the Folklore Museum of Othos. It is a true depiction of traditional house with all the little items that were used by the locals like photos, wooden furniture and kitchen vessels.
Equally beautiful is the Folklore Museum in Menetes, a beautiful village high on the hilltop. Visitors will take a closer view of the Karpathian life and tradition through a vast collection of items from the agricultural life, embroidery and kitchen vessels.
Apella, Kyra Panagia, Achata, Mikri Amopi, Megali Amopi or Votsalakia, Afoti, Agios Nikolaos, Amopi Pera Ammos, Argilopotamos, Arkassa Beach, Christou Pigadi, Damatria, Diakoftis, Finiki beach, Lefkos beach, Psoraris, Valias, Vrontis
Religious Monasteries and Churches
Karpathos is mostly renowned for its religious celebrations and local traditions. Countless churches and monasteries are found on both sides of the island. The most important to see is the church of Agios Mamas located in the village of Menetes, south west of Pigadia, the capital of Karpathos. This Byzantine monument is quite famous for its original architecture and beautiful frescoes.
However, the most famous church in the village is the colorful 19th century church of the Assumption of the Virgin. The church of Agios Onoufrios dominates the top of the traditional village of Olymbos and attracts many visitors for its breathtaking view to the sea. At the center of Arkassa village, south west of Pigadia is built the white Church of Ipapandi and the ruins of Agia Sofia, an ancient Byzantine church.