Kimolos - A silver touch in the Aegean

A silver touch in the Aegean

Northwest of Milos, 87 miles away from Piraeus, we find one more small Cycladic island. Mountainous, picturesque and beautiful, Kimolos hasn’t yet had the opportunity to become a cosmopolitan island. However, in the last years, it has been taking its first steps into the development of tourism, slowly but surely.

The island took its name from its first settler Kimolos, husband of Sidi, daughter of Taurus. In ancient times it was known for “Kimolian earth” while in more recent years it is known for its limestone. The ancient town of Kimolos was situated on the island’s northwest side, at the current location of “Linika” (Hellenic) or “Limni” (Lake). The ancient cemetery is not far from the beach. Kimolos participated dynamically in the war of 1940-44, and grieved the loss of many brave men. When entering the port Psathi, at approximately 1km distance, you come across the capital and only settlement on the island, Horio (Village), built at the top of a hill.

It is a snow-white traditional Cycladic settlement, which is an extension of the old village, Kastro (Fortress). Whichever of the paved roads you choose, it will lead you to Kampos, the central square surrounded by churches. And when you follow the road to the Mills and go uphill to Xaplovouni you will find yourself in front of a marvelous vista of the whole island as well as the surrounding small islands, which unfold before your eyes. Kastro began to decline after the liberation of Greece in 1821 when the reasons of its existence ceased to exist. Today the Mesa Kastro (Inner Fortress) consists only of ruins while the Exo Kastro (Outer Fortress) is collapsing. Nevertheless it is worth going through its doors and walking in its alleys. The western door of the Mesa Kastro has been preserved, as well as the southern “Kato Porta” (Lower Door) of the Exo Kastro dating from 1650 and the eastern “Pano Porta” (Upper Door), dating from 1646. These dates may indicate the Kastro’s con¬struction, or improvements or repairs made to it.

There are 12 churches in Horio only one of which, the Birth of Christ, is located in Kastro. It is the oldest church on Kimolos with a confirmed construction date of 1592 AD. The Folk and Maritime Museum (tel. +30 22870 51118) is lo cated in the Kastro, in a two-storey private house, which be¬longs to Manolis Arist. Christoulakis, the founder of the Muse-um. The aim of the Museum is to save and preserve whatever has been left of the old heritage and popular culture of Kimo¬los and to deliver it to the coming generations. It was fully restored and reestablished, keeping its primitive arrangement.

The cathedral is the church of Odigitria (reader), which is celebrated on the day of the Presentation of the Virgin Mary. On that day, the whole of Kimolos and Kimolians everywhere, celebrate. In the island’s Archaeological Museum (tel. +30 22870 51291), opposite the church of Odigitria visitors can view findings from the excavations conducted in Ellinika, where a necropolis was found with graves from the geometric period. Going uphill from Psathi to Horio on the left you see a re¬tirement home called the “Afentakio Institution for poor and shipwrecked Kimolians”. Its headquarters are in Athens and it is the legacy of a Kimolian named Georgios Afentakis.

Finally the island has many beautiful beaches to offer its visi¬tors, such as Alyki, Bonatsa, Prassa, Goupa, Karras, Zaha- rias, Klima, Monastiria, Kalamitsi, Mavrospilia, Ellinika and Dekas. The beaches of neighboring Polyegos, Mersini, Kato (South) Mersini and Ammoura are equally beautiful.

Delicacies from Kimolos

If we were not in danger of being characterized as chauvinists, we would say that Kimolos is the home of pizza instead of Italy, since the local delicacy “ladenia”, which sells like hot cakes in the island’s bakeries is a kind of homemade pizza, delicious in its simplicity, as the pastry is only decorated with lots of olive oil, tomato sauce and onions. While you’re at the bakery, don’t forget to taste the rusks kneaded with lentisk grain. You should be careful through and go easy on the food, especially if you are invited a Kimolian home for dinner.

There you will definitely be served “red mullet with capers”, “egg bouleria” (with potatoes and onions) and also “limpet pilaf’, tomatoballs and different type of pies such as “amarathenies” (with fennel), “tyrenies” (with cheese), “kolokythenies” (with pampkin) and “melopites (with cheese and honey). If it is summer you will also surely try “xino”, soft fresh cheese with a sour flavor. A feast of flavors, disproportionate to the size of the island but, as they say, “it is quality and not quantity that counts”.


Tags: Tributes to Greece, KIMOLOS, ISLAND, GREECE, CYCLADES, SUMMER
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