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Way out east

Dusk in Kastellorizo

The easternmost point of Greece, of Europe, Kastellórizo (pop. 500) is six hours – 110km – east of Rhodes, but only 2km from Turkey. It is the smallest inhabited island of the Dodecanese, 3km by 6km, yet is the mother hen of its own clutch of islets, hence its official name, Mégisti, ‘the largest’. They say the Turks know it as Meis Ada, ‘eye-land’, for one nautical mile away is their town of Kas (‘eyebrow’), but the most commonly heard name is Kastellórizo, in memory of the days when the Knights called it the ‘Red Castle’.

Athens has officially adopted the island and sends it contributions and gifts, including 20 council houses. Its success as a film set – in the 1992 award-winning film Mediterraneo – has given tourism (once limited to passing yachts) a new life. And Pink Floyd fans will recognize it immediately as David Gilmour’s soulful Castellorizon from On an Island.

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Text © Dana Facaros

Images by Chris Vlachos, Ioannis Fakis, K.ilroy, Creative Commons License, Mark Gregory, Piri Reis , Stelios ZACHARIAS