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Karpathos Municipality
Δήμος Καρπάθου (Καρπάθος)
Karpathos (Greece)
Basic data
State : GreeceGreece Greece
Region : South Aegean
Regional District : Karpathos and Kasos
Geographic coordinates : 35 ° 35 '  N , 27 ° 8'  E Coordinates: 35 ° 35 '  N , 27 ° 8'  E
Area : 324.790 km²
Residents : 6,226 (2011)
Population density : 19.2 inhabitants / km²
Seat: Karpathos
LAU-1 code no .: 6201
Districts : 2 parishes
Local self-government : f121 city district
9 local communities
Location in the South Aegean region
File: 2011 Dimos Karpathou.png
f9 f10 f8

Karpathos ( Greek Κάρπαθος [ ˈkarpaθɔs ] ( f. Sg. ), Turkish Kerpe , Italian Scarpanto , Latin Carpathus) is a Greek island. With 300.152 km² it is the second largest Dodecanese island after Rhodes . Since 2011, the island has formed a municipality in the South Aegean region with the island of Saria and other rocky islets . According to the 2011 census, Karpathos had 6,226 inhabitants. The main town is Karpathos , formerly also called Pigadia.


Karpathos city port

Karpathos is located on the eastern South Aegean island arch , which connects the mountain ranges of the Peloponnese with the Taurus Mountains in southwestern Turkey and at the same time represents the border of the Aegean Sea to the Mediterranean . Neighboring islands are Rhodes , 46 km north-east, and Kasos , 6 km south-west, and in the north, separated by a strait that is almost 100 m wide and 1.5 m deep, the island of Saria .

The island has the greatest length with about 48 km in north-south direction, the maximum width is almost 12 km, the narrowest point less than 3.5 km. A bare mountain range, partly wooded with pine trees, runs through the island from the north to the center of the island. While heights of over 600 m are reached in the north, the Kali Limni (Καλή Λίμνη) in the central island area rises to an altitude of 1,215 m, together with the Attavyros on Rhodes the highest point of the Dodecanese islands. To the south it is initially hilly, in the extreme south it is flat. Much of the once lush forest fell victim to several devastating forest fires.


Roman cistern at Lefkos

The first settlement of Karpathos began in the Neolithic era .

Due to the geographical location between Crete and the Dodecanese Islands, Karpathos developed above average in the Middle and Late Minoan Period (approx. 2000 to 1400 BC). The Cretan Minoans became established around 1400 BC. Supplemented with the Mycenaean Greeks as island inhabitants.

From probably the 11th century BC. The Dorians took over the rule of Karpathos. The island then experienced a real heyday. The four cities Poseidion (today Karpathos), Arkesia (today Arkasa ), Vrykous (today Vourgunda) and Nisyros (today Ta Palatia, Saria ) emerged, which is why the writer Strabon also called the island Tetrapolis (four-city island).

Possibly the island was founded in the 6th century BC. Occasionally occupied by the Persians . In any case, Karpathos joined in 477 BC. The 1st Attic League , a defensive alliance against Persia under the leadership of Athens.

During the Peloponnesian War (431 to 404 BC), fought between the 1st Attic League , led by Athens, and the Peloponnesian League under the leadership of Sparta , Karpathos was initially on the side of Athens, but changed when the defeat of Athens became apparent , the front. Only a few years later, Karpathos came under the dependence of Rhodes and then again under the rule of Athens, so that Karpathos in 378 BC. Had to join the 2nd  Attic League .

After Athens was defeated at the Battle of Chaeronea in 338 BC. BC against the Macedonian King Philip II and his son Alexander the Great , the island's political ties to Athens and mainland Greece ended for the time being. Karpathos came under the influence of Hellenism and was 42 BC. Incorporated into the Roman Empire .

After the division of the Roman Empire in 395 , Karpathos fell under the rule of the Eastern Roman Empire (which later developed into the Byzantine Empire ). Since Karpathos was geographically only on the edge of this empire and its capital Constantinople , its influence on the island was rather small. Instead, the island's population suffered from pirate attacks over the next few centuries, mainly from the Saracens . These raids caused the islanders to leave their settlements on the coasts and found new villages in the interior of the island (this is how the refugee settlements of Olymbos , Menetes , Aperi , Volada and Othos were built).

With the conquest and sack of Constantinople by the Crusaders in 1204, the Byzantine Empire was also smashed and its territory was redistributed. Karpathos passed into the possession of rich Venetians and was given the Italian name Scarpanto , which is still used in this language to this day.

Map of Karpathos from 1597 by the Venetian Giacomo Franco

In 1537 Karpathos was incorporated into the Ottoman Empire and remained in Turkish possession for almost 400 years. The island was officially named Kerpe . The influence of the Ottomans on the island remained rather small, however, the greatest threat to the inhabitants continued to come from the pirate attacks.

During the Greek War of Independence (1821–1829), Karpathos was removed from Turkish-Ottoman rule in 1823 and became part of the newly formed independent Greek Republic . Due to the resolution of the London Protocol , however, Greece had to cede the Dodecanese Islands back to the Ottoman Empire in exchange with Euboea in 1830 .

The Turkish rule lasted until May 1912. Towards the end of the Italo-Turkish War , the Italians conquered Karpathos and other Dodecanese islands with little Turkish resistance. The hopes of the islanders for freedom or unification with the Greek mainland were not fulfilled, however, as Italy from then on administered the conquered islands with a hard hand as a separate province .

Towards the end of the Second World War , the Italian provincial administration on Karpathos was supplemented by occupation troops of the German Wehrmacht from 1943. Due to the looming defeat of Nazi Germany , the Italian-German occupation withdrew on October 4, 1944. The island was temporarily placed under British administration before Karpathos and the other Dodecanese islands were united with Greece on March 7, 1948.

On 23 May 2006 near the island a Greek and a Turkish collided fighter plane type F-16 "Falcon" in an interception. Greece claims a national airspace with a width of 16 kilometers beyond its own coastlines. The Turkey but acknowledges only ten kilometers, which corresponds to the width of the national sea areas. A year later, in the town of Karpathos , near the port, a memorial was erected for the Greek pilot who was killed on the island. Because of conflicts in the Aegean Sea, Greece and Turkey have been on the brink of war three times since 1974.

Administrative division

After the annexation to Greece in 1947, the island of Karpathos was briefly divided into ten communities ( Dimi δήμοι). In the following year, with the exception of Pigadias, the other communities received the status of rural communities ( Kinotites κοινότητες). With the implementation of the Kapodistrias program in 1997, eight rural communities were incorporated into the municipality of Karpathos. The rural community of Olymbos retained its status. Due to the administrative reform in 2010 , the former municipalities of the island were merged to form the new municipality of Karpathos (Δήμος Καρπάθου Dimos Karpathou ). The administrative seat is the city of Karpathos. The previous municipalities are municipal districts, the former municipal districts are local communities with the exception of the Karpathos district. You choose your own local representatives.

Parish Greek name code Area (km²) 2001 residents Residents 2011 City districts / local communities
(Δημοτική / Τοπική Κοινότητα)
Karpathos Δημοτική Ενότητα Καρπάθου 620101 219,924 05750 05670 Karpathos , Aperi , Arkasa , Volada , Menetes , Mesochori , Othos , Pyles , Spoa
DE Karpathou.svg
Olymbos Δημοτική Ενότητα Ολύμπου 620102 104.876 00761 00556 Olymbos
DE Olymbou.svg
total 6201 324.790 6511 6226


Karpathos city

Main town of the island, formerly also called Pigadia.

Amopí and Lakkí

Due to the large number of gently sloping sand and gravel beaches, Amopí is a popular bathing resort. In addition, the south-eastern coast of Karpathos has a hotter and drier climate than other coastal regions of the island. The tourist infrastructure in Amopí has ​​therefore developed faster than average in recent years and has already expanded to the small settlement of Lakkí , just under two kilometers away .

The snow-white Agii Apóstoli (Church of the Apostles) , built on the hill of a peninsula jutting out into the sea, is a sight . In Lakkí, the Agios Geórgios ( St. George's Church) is enthroned on a rock .

Long before the actual tourist marketing, Amopí was considered a health resort for rheumatism sufferers . In the morning, pits were dug in the sand, which heated up by the afternoon. The patients then lay in it and let the sand cover them up to their necks. The name of the northernmost sandy bay, Mikrí Amopí (English: small sand pit), still reminds of this cure and healing method today.

To the south of the Mikrí Amopí follows the Pérana beach with its particularly fine sand , further south behind the rock with the Agii Apóstoli lies the Votsalákia beach (pebbles), the name also describing the sand texture. Further south follows the pebble beach of Lakkí Beach and behind a rock protruding into the sea, Kastéllia Bay .


Afiárti is located in the extreme south of the island. The rocky landscape is only sparsely overgrown and with the few isolated houses only sparsely populated. However, this free space enabled the airport to be built in 1970 , which was expanded and modernized in 1986.

Due to the winds constantly blowing down from the mountains in summer, the eastern bay around Afiárti, the Makrýs Gialós , was discovered by windsurfers in the 1990s . Karpathos or Afiárti is also a regular venue for international windsurfing competitions.

Further north is the sheltered bathing bay Diamatría with its rather stony beach. In front of the bay is the small islet Míra (dt. Destiny), which is surrounded by a current that is not harmless for swimmers.

The Agios Minás cave northeast of the airport is surrounded by a special myth . A hermit is said to have once lived here in his own damp cave carved into the rock. Somewhat more recent is the wreckage of a stranded Turkish freighter, which lies in front of the bay (Cape Líki) and which was not recovered, which was too laborious.

Arkasa and Finíki

Arkasa is located on the south west coast across from the island of Kasos .

The small fishing village Finíki is about 3 kilometers north of Arkasa. At the time of the Dorians, this was the port of the city of Arkesía.

After the Italian-German occupation left during the Second World War , the village of Finíki played a special role during the great famine in 1944. Seven fishermen sailed from here to Egypt in a small boat without radio or compass to get help. Just a week later, they returned home aboard British warships, bringing food and medicine for the needy population. A monument at the port of Finíki commemorates her heroic deed.

Pyles and Adia


View of the village on Menetés

Apéri and Kyra Panagia


Othos and Stes

To the west of Othos is the outlying settlement of Stes . Its center is the small Agios Pandeleímonas Church , which is striking because of its red, blue and yellow paint on the outside . The patronage of the church saint is celebrated with a large folk festival from July 27th to 29th.

Mesochori and Lefkos

View of the village and port of Lefkos


Olymbos and Diafani

Vourgoúnda Bay

At the bay of Vourgoúnda (Όρμος Βουργούντας) there was once the flourishing city of Brykoúntos in the era of the Dorians . Even today a few ancient columns and remains of the former city wall can be seen on the plateau above the bay. The bay can only be reached by land from Avlóna on foot or by boat.

At the tip of the western headland, also clearly visible from the sea, there is a cross with a bell, which points the way down to the narrow entrance of the cave church of Agios Ioannis Prodromos (Άγιος Ιωάννης ο Πρόδρομος), with an early Christian baptismal font made of marble. In honor of Saint John the Baptist , a large folk festival takes place on August 28th and 29th.



In the spring, much of the island is covered with a variety of types of flowers (including daisies , daffodils , peonies , crocuses , poppies , anemones ). Because of the heat and the lack of rainfall, the flowers dry up before summer so that at the end of May you can hardly see any of their splendor. The dry season, on the other hand, is survived by the macchia , which are various types of evergreen, bushy, hard-leaved trees up to 3 meters high, or stunted trees, and above all the phrygana , a small thorn bush that covers large parts of the island. In addition to various types of rockrose, milkweed , juniper and gorse , herbs such as sage , thyme , rosemary and oregano are also included . The corresponding aromatic scent is typical for the summer on Karpathos. Oleanders can be found in some places in the dried up stream beds . The shrub, recognizable by its lance-shaped leaves, which blooms pink in June and often also in July, grows almost exclusively in such places.

In total, the flora of Karpathos consists of 923 species of fern and seed plants . 6 of these species are endemic here , including the sea lavender Limonium carpathum , the safflower Carthamus rechingeri , the clover Trifolium barbeyi and the Dost species Origanum vetteri . 23 species are considered naturalized, 3 as naturalizing, 5 as inconsistent and in 7 it is unclear whether they are indigenous. So far, 44 species of orchids have been identified on Karpathos.

Karpathos was once famous for its dense forest and was also called the "Green Island". There were even plans to set up a nature forest park between Spoa and Olymbos . By large forest fires , however, the largest part of which was the planned reserve in a kind of desert in the 1982nd In the meantime, young pines and bushes can be seen again in some places . Another devastating fire destroyed the forest between Aperi , Karpathos town , Menetes and Afiarti in 1990. The most recent forest fire disaster occurred in 2004 when it burned twice in the immediate vicinity of Mesochori . Between Pyles , Adia and Lefkos as well as north of Diafani you get an impression of what large parts of the island looked like just a few years ago. Here the forest is still preserved and stretches down to the coast. Mainly it consists of Aleppo and pine trees , in some places stone and kermes oaks can also be found .


  • Mammals : Wild mammals are only to a limited extent represented on the island and are largely limited to hares , weasels , stone marten and small bats . There are also numerous existing farm animals such as sheep , goats , pigs , cattle , donkeys and mules . A specialty is the critically endangered ( CR ) Mediterranean monk seal , the only seal species in the Mediterranean, the total population of which is estimated at 350 to 450 animals.
  • Birds : In the north of Karpathos and on the island of Saria , which is officially designated as the most important bird area in Europe, there are numerous migratory birds , including sandpipers , reed warblers , nightingales , herons and cranes . Occasionally rare birds of prey can be seen above the mountains , such as the eagle buzzard , the Bonelli's eagle or the Eleanor's falcon, which is threatened with extinction . There are also occurrences of partridges.
  • Amphibians and reptiles : Three amphibians and seven reptile species can be found on Karpathos. Most important is the here and on Rhodes living Karpathos Frog , which probably represents an independent and therefore rare species. He lives in the relatively water-rich area of ​​Argoni in the vicinity of Olymbos . Lyciasalamandra helverseni, a species of Lycian salamander, lives on Karpathos, Saria and the nearby island of Kasos . It is the only tailed amphibian in the south-eastern Aegean. Among the vertebrates of Greece, the species is considered threatened, classified in the Red List of the World Conservation Union in the category endangered (VU - Vulnerable ). The only species of snake found on Karpathos are snakes , but they are not poisonous and are very rare.
  • Marine animals : Dolphins are still relatively common in the waters around Karpathos . Small fish, squids , octopuses , crabs and other shellfish are plentiful near the shore. Barbel and bream are also abundant in the waters.
  • Insects : There are numerous beehives off the beaten track , which is why local honey is a common souvenir from the island. Cicadas create a Mediterranean background noise, especially in summer. There is also a variety of butterflies , grasshoppers and beetles.

natural reserve

On Karpathos, two areas with the adjacent marine area have been included in the Natura 2000 network of the European Union . Lycian salamanders and Mediterranean monk seals live in both areas.

  • GR 4210002 Central Karpathos-Lasthos-Kyra Panagia & coastal and sea zone (Κεντρική Κάρπαθος-Λασθός-Κυρά Παναγιά & Παράκτια Θαλάσσια Ζώνη)
  • GR 4210003 North Karpathos and Saria

In addition to the Natura 2000 area Kimolos- Polyegos , the Natura 2000 area GR 4210003 North Karpathos and Saria (Βόρεια Κάρπαθος και Σαρία) is of national and international importance as a breeding and breeding area for Mediterranean monk seals. Over 10% of the Mediterranean monk seal population worldwide lives in these areas. At the same time it was used by the bird conservation organization BirdLife International as an IBA GR 172 Saria Iceland and Northern Karpathos (Νήσος Σαρία και Βόρειος Κάρπαθος) classified as Bonelli's Eagle ( Hieraaetus fasciatus ) and Blue Rock Thrush ( Monticola solitarius , both) on the red list of the IUCN out here their Have habitats.



In addition to the city of Karpathos , places such as Lefkos on the west coast, Amopi and Arkasa in the south of the island and Kyra Panagia on the east coast are becoming increasingly important due to tourism .

The southern part of the island is popular with windsurfers because of its good wind statistics and high wind strength. The Meltemi is reinforced by the local topography and blows for weeks without a break day and night at an average of 5–7  Bft and on some days even reaches 9 Bft. A speed windsurfing competition takes place in the so-called Devil's Bay every August.

The construction of a large golf course between Amopi and the island's capital Karpathos, which is currently being planned, is very controversial. Proponents see here a possibility for year-round tourist use of the island, opponents fear the loss of the island's originality, which is still relative today in the age of mass tourism.


Air traffic

The Karpathos airport at the southern end of the island was enlarged and since the end of July 2009 operation. The daily connections with Athens, Rhodes and Kasos are operated by Olympic Air , while charter flights complement the offer during the summer.

Ferry traffic

There are connections to the main port of Karpathos and Diafani from Piraeus via the Cyclades , partly via Crete to Rhodes . Due to the poor accessibility of the north of the island, the port of Diafani was expanded in 1922. In addition, there are connections for traffic within the island and to the northern, now uninhabited island of Saria .

Road traffic

While the roads in the south of the island around the main town Karpathos and the airport and in the central island area are relatively well developed, there is no continuous asphalt road connection in the northern part of the island. The gravel road to Olymbos was only created in the 1980s; since 2013 it has been paved throughout. Until then, the north of the island was best reached via the port of Diafani.

Arts and Culture

Karpathos is conservative both in attitude and culturally. Many traditions that have disappeared in the rest of Greece or only exist as part of folklore performances have survived on Karpathos.

The main art forms are music and poetry or a combination of the two called mandinades. A mandinada consists of verses with 15 syllables that are put together as a couplet . The island's awareness of tradition is also evident in the fact that even young people still play the lyre to this day .

Ethnologists also claim that the pano choro, a simple dance, is a separate variant of the Syrtos that only occurs on Karpathos.


Web links

Commons : Karpathos  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Results of the 2011 census, Greek Statistical Office (ΕΛ.ΣΤΑΤ) ( Memento from June 27, 2015 in the Internet Archive ) (Excel document, 2.6 MB)
  2. Ελληνική Στατιστική Αρχή [ΕΛΣΤΑΤ] (Ed.): Στατιστική Επετηρίδα της Ελλάδος (Statistical Yearbook of Greece) 2009 & 2010 . Piraeus 2011, p. 47 .
  3. Article at stern.de
  4. Ralf Jahn, Peter Schönfelder: Excursion flora for Crete. Verlag Eugen Ulmer, Stuttgart 1995, ISBN 3-8001-3478-0 .
  5. CAJ Kreutz: The orchids of Rhodes and Karpathos / The orchids of Rhodes and Karpathos . Raalte & Landgraaf / Seckel & Kreutz Publishers, 2002, ISBN 90-805149-2-6 , 320 pp.
  6. ^ Antje Schwab, Gunter Schwab: Karpathos . Verlag Michael Müller, Cologne 2010, pp. 18-19
  7. Monachus monachus in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species .
  8. Lyciasalamandra helverseni in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species .
  9. The Greek Habitat Project Natura 2000: An Overview, Mertensiella (Salamandra) luschani , p. 5, biol.uoa.gr (PDF; English)
  10. Schwab, Antje; Schwab, Gunter: "Karpathos". Verlag Michael Müller, Cologne 2010. p. 20
  11. Natura 2000 area GR 4210002 Central Karpathos-Lasthos-Kyra Panagia & Coast and Sea Zone , Greek minenv.gr ( Memento of the original from December 19, 2011 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was automatically inserted and not yet checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot / www.minenv.gr
  12. Natura 2000 area GR 4210003 North Karpathos and Saria , Greek ( Memento of the original of February 13, 2010 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot / www.minenv.gr
  13. Guide to the structure of the Natura 2000 network in the marine environment, p. 62, europa.eu (PDF)
  14. Natura 2000 - Chance für Mensch und Natur, p. 15. ( Memento of the original from December 19, 2011 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was automatically inserted and not yet checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. (PDF; 160 kB) @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot / www.lnv-goeppingen.de
  15. IBA, GR 172 Saria Island and Northern Karpathos, English
  16. Chrisovalandou Lane