This beautiful island boasts two castles that played an integral part in its history. If you’re an avid archaeology fan, exploring these two sites will also offer you a glimpse into Kalymnos’ Ancient and Medieval past.
If you want to experience these castles chronologically, begin at the Great Castle of the Nine Chapels, also called Megalo Kastro or Paleochora, near Chora. Built in the Middle Byzantium and rebuilt by the Knights Templar, the ruins of this archaeological site offer you a glimpse all the way back to the 4thC BC through to the 15thC AD. The Great Castle played an important role in offering the Kalymniotes refuge and shelter during pirate raids, while the nine chapels gave the terrified locals the religious sanctuary to pray until the pirates retreated. Take the time to admire the wood-carved altar in the Church of Panagia Keharitomeni within the castle grounds and then climb the 200 steps to admire the stunning view of Pothia from here.
The Castle of Chrysoheria, also called Pera Kastro near Chora, was built by the Knights Templar in the 15thC. This not-to-be-missed site features the remains of Kalymnos’ medieval past. Seek out the coats-of-arms belonging to the Knights Templar, then explore the Church of Panagia Chrysoheria and try to guess where a rumored hoard of gold coins was found under its floors. In fact, this entire castle and the church itself were both named after this unearthed gold treasure – Panagia Chrysoheria means “Virgin of the Golden Hands.” If you enjoy religious architecture, explore the other chapels embraced by the castle walls.
Photo: Κλαίρη Μουσταφέλλου