Climbing or scuba-diving?
Famous all along for locals’ expertise in diving -mainly traditional sponge diving-, has also recently established fame as a popular destination for climbers. Kalymnos island radiates its own charm that seduces even the most seasoned travellers and opens up new perspectives on your holiday.
Tourism is not the only driving force of the local economy. The locals have traditionally earned their living by toiling away at sea, since up until the very recent times Kalymnos was primarily known as a sponge fishing island. Pothia, the port and capital of Kalymnos, is a bustling island city, that can sometimes frazzle you with its narrow sidewalks and frequent traffic jams, but it is certainly worth spending a little of your time to get to know it.
A walk in Pothia
In the capital’s port and squares you will notice the works of Kalymnian sculptor Michalis Kokkinos, who has drawn his inspiration from the sea and its people. Sponges can be seen everywhere, on the quay, on the fully equipped caïques (traditional fishing boats), in the gift shop windows, since sponge diving still remains one of the main activities of the locals.
Simple ordinary houses side by side with captains’ mansions of the 19th century stand out featuring many neoclassical influences. The neighbourhood of Marasia is also quite interesting from an architectural aspect. Special reference should be made to the Church of Sotiros Christou with its carved screen, work of the famous Greek sculptor Ioannis Halepas.
The Naval – Folklore Museum is housed in the old Vouvaleion Technical School in Pothia ( tel. +30 22430 51361).
The archaeological museum is home to the impressive bronze statue of the “Lady of Kalymnos” dating from the late 2nd century BC, salvaged from the sea by local fishermen (tel. +30 22430 23113).
The Folklore collection of the “Traditional House of Kalymnos” that describes the difficult life of Kalymnian sponge divers is particularly interesting (opening hours 8.30am – 2 pm). At nearby Vlihadia village you can visit the SeaWorld Museum(tel. +30 22430 22156).
Chorio, straight from the Middle Ages
From the port of Pothia you go to Chorio (4 km), with the castle of Chrysoheria towering over it, built by the Knights of Saint John’s Order of Rhodes. Higher up on the hill lie the ruins and the wall of the medieval city, also remnants of the rule of the Knights of Rhodes. On the road to Panormos you can admire the Early Christian churches of Christ of Jerusalem(5th century AD) and Evangelistria(6th century AD), built on the site of the ancient temple that was dedicated to Apollo of Delos (4thcentury BC).
Seaside resorts Linaria, Platys Gialos, Kantouni, compose the village of Panormos, with fine beaches and a variety of accommodation choices. A little further north unravel the beaches of Melitsaha, Myrties and Masouri. The heart of Kalymnos’ tourism beats here, with constant traffic and growing construction activity. Northwords, the road follows the outline of the coast, revealing the tiny bay of Argirontas, with Skalia and Emporios beaches following next.
At the fjord of Rina
If you head southeast from Pothia, you will find yourselves at the fjord of Rina, a spot on the island still untouched to a great extent. The region has possibly been inhabited from the Neolithic era. Neolithic implements and tools were discovered in Daskaleio cave, as well as findings from the later Minoan era.
Action and adventure
The island of climbers: Experienced climbers have opened certain exceptional routes on the sheer rock of Mount Patela, establishing Kalymnos as a new “paradise” for world climbing. A climbing course is organized between 1-10 August www.climbkalymnos.com)
Scuba Diving, a sport for everyone: The Island of the Sponge Divers, with its long diving tradition, is the ideal place to become acquainted with recreational scuba diving. Information at the Diving Center of Kalymnos +30 22430 47890.
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Copyright photo: Theo Athanasiadis / Views Of Greece
Copyright text : Germaine Alexakis/ Views Of Greece
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