Karpathos


Karpathos

Infobox Greek Isles
name = Karpathos
native_name = Κάρπαθος
skyline = Pigadia.jpg
sky_caption = Pigadia


coordinates = coord|35|35|N|27|08|E
chain = Dodecanese
isles = 7
area = 324.800
highest_mount = Mt. Lastos
elevation = 1215
periph = South Aegean
prefect = Dodecanese
capital = Karpathos (town)
population = 6511
pop_as_of = 2001
postal = 857 00
telephone = 22450
license = ΚΧ, ΡΟ, PK
website = [http://www.karpathos.gr www.karpathos.gr]

Karpathos ( _el. Κάρπαθος) is the second largest of the Greek Dodecanese islands, in the southeastern Aegean Sea. The island is comprised of the municipality of Karpathos plus the community of Olympos. Part of Olympos also extends north to the neighboring Saria Island. The island has also been called _la. Carpathus, _it. Scarpanto, _tr. Kerpe.

Geography

The island is located about 47 kilometers southwest of Rhodes, in the part of the Mediterranean which is called, after it, the "Carpathian Sea" (Carpathium Mare). Karpathos comprises 10 villages. All villages preserve intensively the traditional style of the island. In the southeast of the island you can find Pigadia (Officially: Karpathos City), capital and main port of the island. The capital is surrounded by the villages of Menetes, Arkasa, Aperi, Volada, Othos, and Pyles. In the North one can find Mesochori, Spoa and Olymbos the last village in the North of the island, of great folkloric and architectural interest. There are two ports in the island; one is in the town of Karpathos and the other in the north of the island next to Olympos named Diafani.

History

War and conquest define Karpathos' history. Karpathians fought with Sparta in the Peloponnesian War in 431 BC and lost their independence to Rhodes in 400 BC. In 42 BC the island fell to Rome. In the following centuries, Karpathos was ruled in turn by the Arabs, the Genovese pirate Moresco, the Venetians, and the Ottoman Empire. It was both in ancient and medieval times closely connected with Rhodes; it was held by noble families under Venetian suzerainty, notably the Cornaro from 1306 to 1540, when it finally passed into the possession of the Turks. From its remote position Karpathos has preserved many peculiarities of dress, customs and dialect, the last resembling those of Crete and Cyprus. Ottoman rule ended when the Italians conquered the island, together with the whole Dodecanese, during the Italo-Turkish War of 1911-12. Karpathos even found itself ruled by the Italians years before the end of World War II. Karpathos became Greek teritorry in 1948. Its current name is mentioned, with a slight shift of one letter, in Homer's Iliad as Krapathos ("Οι δ'αρα Νίσυρον τ'είχον Κράπαθον τε Κάσον τε").

Despite such a scattered past, the last half-century has been pivotal in the development of the island's character. A war-ravaged economy sent many a Karpathian to the U.S. eastern seaboard cities; Karpathos today has a significant Greek-American constituency who have returned to their beloved island and invested heavily. As a result, Pigadia and other towns successfully infuse modern elements into a traditional setting. In the mountains to the north, a world unto itself, residents preserve tradition almost religiously.

Transportation

Karpathos Island National Airport, with its relatively large runway, is located on the south side (Afiartis area). Karpathos is connected to neighboring islands and to the mainland via ferries and airplanes. The ferries provide transport to and from Piraeus (via Crete and Rhodes). Scheduled domestic flights connect the island with Rhodes, Kasos, Crete and Athens daily. Additionally, charter flights from various European cities are frequently scheduled during the high season (April through October).

Within the island, automobiles are the preferred mode of transportation. The port, the airport, the main villages and other popular locations are connected by an adequate system of municipal roads, most of which are paved. Access to Olympos is difficult though, as the road leading to the village is still not paved. During the summer months, small private boats depart from Pigadia to various locations daily, including Olympos (via Diafani) and some unaccessible beaches. Fixed-rate taxis ("agoraia") and municipal buses are also available all year long.

Population

The island's 2001 census population was 6,511 inhabitants (including 22 persons who actually lived on Saria Island). This number more than doubles in the summer months as many Karpathian expatriates with their families come to the island for their vacation. Also, taking into consideration the number of tourists that visit, there can be up to 20,000 people on the island during the summer months. The population density is greatest during the 15th of August due to the Panagias festival which is considered the most important festival on the island. Individuals travel from around the world to attend the festival and view the many traditions that still remain on the island.

ee also

*List of traditional Greek place names

References

External links

* [http://www.karpathos.gr/ Official website] (in English and Greek)


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