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Agathonissi Island, Greece

The terrain of this fourth largest of the Dodecanese is mountainous, except for two fertile valleys. It is along these valleys that its have sprouted - Kalimnos or Pothia and Vathi. Castles, remnants of fortresses, archaeological finds and old churches bear witness to the continuous importance of Kalimnos in the history of the Aegean. Its natural attractions - caves, lovely beaches, unspoilt scenery - make it a mini earthly paradise. Kalimnos is widely known as the spongefishers. island, since such a large portion of the population is engaged in this age-old occupation. Once the island.s capital was located at Horio, which benefited from the protection offered by the castle of the Knights of St. John just above it.

Today’s capital is Pothia or Kalimnos, founded around 1850 by the inhabitants of Horio. Its brightly coloured houses surround the port like the seats in an amphitheatre, arranged along the hillsides down to the caiques and fishing boats bobbing below. An old church dedicated to Christ the Saviour adorns the waterfront. It is decorated with frescoes and valuable icons, while its iconostasis is the work of the well-known sculptor Yiannoulis Halepas. Kalimnos has other charming villages, such as Vathi, set in a fertile valley full of citrus trees, and Metohi, on the southeast side of the island. The quiet hamlet of Emborios lies to the north. To the west are Massouri, Mirties, Kamari and Panormos where one can try sea-food delicacies such as fouskes and chtapokeftedes. On the road to Panormos, you will notice the remains of a three - naved basilica dedicated to Christ of Jerusalem, which was erected around the 6th century on the site of an ancient temple where Delian Apollo was worshipped. To the north of the main town is Pera Kastro, also called the Castle of the Golden Hands (Hrissoheria), because the chapel in its interior has an icon of the Virgin whose hands are covered with gold leaf.

Northeast of Pothia, at the foot of Flaska hill, is the cave of the Seven Nymphs (not open to the public). Kalimnos boasts two other caves, the richly decorated Skalies, about 100 metres from the village of Skalia in the north of the island (not open to the public), and Kefalas or Trypas Kefalas to the south (which can be visited and can be approached by boat). At Therma, only one kilometre or so from Pothia, there are radioactive springs and therapeutic bathing facilities, rooms where visitors may spend the night, and specially trained personnel to assist them. Among the lovely beaches on are Massouri, Mirties and Arginondas along the west coast and Vlyhadia in the south.


USEFUL TELEPHONE NUMBERS:

Port Authority: 22430 24.444 - 29.304

Police: 22430 22.100 Fax:29.301

Municipality: 22430 59.141 -59.143

First Aid: 22430 23.025 - 28.851