Overview of Kasos
Despite being a small barren island off the tourist map, Kasos is surprisingly rich in “content”, regarding its history, customs, music, gastronomy and famed feasts. It’s the southernmost of the Dodecanese complex, situated between Karpathos and Crete, and it is worthwhile the long journey to reach it (it’s better to arrive by plane, as the boat trip from Piraeus or Crete takes too long). Kasos used to be a powerful maritime and commercial centre that became devastated by a tremendous holocaust in 1824, during the Greek Revolution.
Nowadays it is low populated, displaying various influences from Egypt, Minor Asia, America and Italy, owed to its former conquerors, local seamen and numerous Greek expatriates that return here every summer. Kasos is one of the most unspoiled Greek islands; it seems forgotten in time, synonymous with tradition and ideal for peaceful vacations. The island’s rugged landscape is interrupted by a selection of beautiful beaches and a handful of traditional settlements. The port and capital of Fry (pronounced “free”) offers the majority of amenities found on the island and features the small picturesque harbor of Bouka, fine examples of Dodecanese architecture and also the landmark church of Agios Spyridon. Agia Marina is the largest settlement on Kasos, with great sunset views and several districts that feature mansions, windmills and churches.
Moving to the east, the village of Panagia, also adorned with old captains’ mansions, is famous for the major religious celebrations that take place here on August15th. Local customs are also praised at the settlement of Arvanitochori, which boasts of a Folklore Museum as well. Kasos reminds of a small neighborhood: Everyone is welcomed to join the feast, dance to the music of the kasian lyre and become part of this truly authentic Greek island.
: You can reach it either by boat (highly recommended) or via a descending path from the Monastery of Agios Georgios Hadion. It is a small and tranquil cove, protected by the wind. : A small sandy and pebbly beach, perfect for swimming and relaxation. From the nearby chapel of Agios Konstantinos, sitting on a small hilltop, you can enjoy a beautiful sunset. Ammoua is actually one of the four successive beaches found at the area of Antiperatos, near the capital of Fry. : An impressive pebbly beach, easily accessible and wind-protected, situated at the south part of the island. In ancient times, it used to be a natural port favored by Minoan seamen. : Isolated and surrounded by a rocky landscape, this sandy beach is accessible only by boat. Make sure you carry your own supplies. : An organized, easily accessible sandy beach with crystalline blue waters and all the necessary facilities, plus a couple of taverns.
: Emborios, Greek cuisine and sea food. : Arvanitochori, Greek cuisine. : Agia Marina, Greek cuisine.
: Formerly inhabited, it is the largest one around Kasos and a must-see attraction, mainly because of the gorgeous beach of Marmara – with fine sand, turquoise waters and exotic looks, it’s considered as one the prettiest in the Aegean. The beach of Karavostasi is another alternative swimming option on the islet. Before you hop on one of the regular boats that take you there, make sure you carry all the necessary supplies. : Try makarounes (a type of handmade pasta), dolmades (small stuffed grape leaves), pilafi (rice cooked in meat broth with tomatoes), kolokithopoulia (stuffed flowers of courgettes), paspara (lamb stuffed with rice, tomato, onion, liver, spices, etc) and boustia (lamb offal stuffed with liver and rice). Also, soupiopilafo (rice with squid ink), kouloures (crispy baked rolls) and the island’s three most popular types of sheep and goat cheese (almirotiri, elaiki and sitaka). Also don’t forget to taste Kasos’ delicious butter “kaouli”. For desert, you can have moschopougia (small pouch-shaped pastries filled with nuts). : The major ones take place on July 17th (at the village of Agia Marina), August 6th and 15th (at the village of Panagia), September 2nd (at the church of Agios Mamas, near Poli) and April 23rd (at the Monastery of Agios Georgios Hadion). Traditional music, dance and local specialties guarantee a genuine Greek island experience. Note also that many impromptu feasts are held throughout the summer at various venues on Kasos. : Situated at the area of Agia Marina, the cave of Ellinokamara is the island’s prime archaeological site. It dates back to the Paleolithic era and features a fortified wall and many important findings that came to light. Presumably it used to be a place of worship, while later on it became a refuge for the islanders. On the other hand, Stilokamara or Selai is located at a plateau southwest of Ellinokamara and displays some really impressive stalactites and stalagmites. : Kasos has almost a hundred churches and monasteries that reflect the deep religious feelings of the island’s people. Among those worth visiting is the monastery of Agios Georgios Hadion (Kasos’ major pilgrim centre), Panagia Potamitissa (impressively built into a cave, difficult to access) and Exi Ekklisies (a complex of six churches built next to each other, located at the village of Panagia). : It’s the island’s oldest settlement and former capital, worth visiting for the ancient deserted castle and acropolis, plus the superb views. : Every year on June 7th, the municipality of Kasos organizes a series of festivities to commemorate the holocaust of 1824 (the holocaust memorial is located at the area of Antiperatos). Moreover, many cultural events and music performances take place in August.
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