Astypalea Page 4
Drinking and Dining
Most of the better eateries are in the Skala/Chora area. There are also a few bars offering a relaxed nighttime scene.
Better email us for accommodations available on this island.
The island was known, due to its Venetian past, as Astropalia and Stampalia. The current name is derived from a sister of Europa, the mother of King Minos. In classical times the island was famed for what it lacked: snakes! There was a short-tempered boxer named Kleomedes from Astypalea who killed his opponent while competing in the Olympics. This got him disqualified from the Olympics, so he went back to Astypalea and knocked down the school, killing all its pupils, in his rage.
Inhabited since pre-history, excavations show traces of both Phoenician and Karian settlements. Early Cretans, Mycenaeans and Megarites followed. Pyrra, Pylaia, and Theon Trapeza are additional names the island was known by. The many inscriptions discovered hint at its importance. Under the Romans it became a base from which to pursue the Aegean's many pirates.
The present castle or Kastro (9th Century), which overlooks the capital, Astypalea, was initiated under Byzantine Rule and called St. John or Aghios Ioannis. From 1203 the island was ruled by the Venetians (who enhanced the Byzantine keep) and subsequently sacked by the Turkish pirate-admiral Barbarossa in 1537. It took part in the War of Independence in 1821 but remained under the Turks until 1912 when it again passed to the Italians who held it until 1948. At that point all the islands of the Dodecanese were incorporated into the current version of the Greek state.
Hints from Harry
Even though this island is less crowded than many, advance room reservations are a good idea in summer. Visit in June, early July or September, if you can, and you'll have a peaceful and relaxing stay. More photos of Astypalea.
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