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AEGEAN ISLANDS

The capital of Astypalaia

White houses with blue windows extend from the port of Pera Gialos to the foot of the Venetian castle covering the pass and overlooking the bay of Livadi. Astypalaia’s capital could have been one of the most picturesque capitals of …the Cyclades, had it not belonged administratively to the Dodecanese. It should be noted that only the castle stood here 180 years ago, since the residents couldn’t expand the village outside its walls because of fear for the pirate raids. It was only after 1830 that houses started being built on both sides of the road connecting the old port to the fortified hill. Seven districts were formed until 1947: Asvestoti, Karai, Portaitissa, Megali Panagia, Stavros, Papadaki and Pera Gialos.

The houses of the settlement have no differences from a traditional house of the Cyclades. The cubist form, the whitewashed walls and the interior layout with the basement (called katoi) and the upper level (called anoi) are all features of the houses of Astypalaia as well. Many of them have wooden balconies and lintels influenced by the Venetian architecture. You must pass by the eight windmills to enter the settlement. The open space in front of them is used as a parking lot for all those who come up here by car.

At the capital’s square you will find the Town Hall, the Municipal Library and the traditional café of “Mouggos” located a bit further down the road. Two main cobblestone paths leading to the castle begin at the Town Hall. One of them passes through the parish of the church of Portaitissa overlooking the bay of Livadi. The other one passes by Megali Panagia, an elegant Aegean church overlooking Pera Gialos with a blue dome and a pebbled courtyard.

 

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