Kalymnos was famous as a sponge diving center and even though the local sponge beds have declined, sponge diving still employs almost 400 Kalymniots who leave for 4 month stints to plumb the depths around Crete and N. Africa.
Kalymnos is great island if you are into rock-climbing and scuba diving.
There was a significant archaeological find in 2001, which is not completely excavated yet. It contains a trove of sculptures gathered by 4th Century Christians from the island's pagan temples and buried in a pit under a now ruined basilica. There is squabbling over whether the magnificent finds being unearthed will stay in Kalymnos or go to Athens, so check on the scene to see if anything is on display yet.
Kalymnos' capital Pothia is the third largest city of the Dodecanese and a busy working harbor with real Greeks going about their daily lives. The town is set in an attractive bay and rises halfway up the hills covering most the island's largest valley. The forward areas stretch upward to the old capital of Hora.
The nighttime landmark is the huge illuminated cross on a hilltop near the Ag. Panton (Monastery of All Saints).
The Archaeology Museum (Tu-Sun, 8:30-3, Tel: 23113) just off Platea Kyprou holds finds from Kalymnos' Neolithic and Bronze Age past. There are Victorian furnishings, portraits and panoramas of Constantinople here. The Sponge Factory (open daily, 8:30-2, Tel: 28501) has a complete and interesting history of spongers and the dangerous occupation of retrieving them.
There are many old mansions, enclosed orchards and fine views to be seen back of the port. On the water front, you'll notice a mixture of old buildings marked by the Italianate influence with fanciful pink domed buildings. And there are the newer usual tourist enterprises, souvenir shops, restaurants, and ticket agencies.