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The History of Astypalea

Astypalea is an island in the Dodecanese with 1334 permanent residents and its name means "old town". Other names that have been given to the island from time to time are, among others, Pyrra (due to the color of the soil), Pylaia, Bank of the Gods and Pisces (due to the abundance of fish in its waters).

According to mythology, from the union of Poseidon and Astypalea, daughter of Phenicia and sister of Europe, the slow-moving Agkaios and the king of Kos Evrypylos were born.

Astypalea in antiquity was an important trading post in the Aegean Sea and a naval base for the control of international crossings during the Byzantine period. During the years of the Roman Empire, the island flourished due to its special morphology, which has equipped it with many natural harbors and made it an ideal base against pirates.

In addition, in 149 BC. A treaty was signed between Astypalea and Rome which dictated the autonomy of the island in exchange for its use as a shipping station by the Romans. During the Venetian occupation, the island was ceded to the Venetian nobleman Giovanni Cuerini.

The first inhabitants of the island are said to have been the Kares, then the Minoans and later the Mycenaeans according to the findings of vaulted tombs and relics which are on display today in the museum of Astypalea.

Astypalea in 1948, after 36 years of Italian occupation, was finally incorporated into the Greek state along with the rest of the Dodecanese.

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