Kassos is located in the southernmost region of the Eastern Aegean and lies between Crete and Karpathos. It has an area of 64 square kms and a population of 1088 persons.
The land is mountainous and rocky with few areas suitable for agriculture. The visitor to the mountains of the island will find rare wildflowers and bird’s species. As for the varieties of fish, the waters of Kassos are full of the common varieties found in the Aegean and they are of excellent quality.
Kassos has a mild, healthy climate. Clusters of barren islets and rocky peaks are found all around the island. Daily trips to visit the main islets are organized locally, mainly during the summer season.
Kassos has an ancient history. Homer refers to it as taking part in the Trojan War together with the surrounding islands. It has been a part of the historical fortunes of its neighbors, Crete and Karpathos, and has often been subject to pirate invasions. Population-Settlements During the years of the Greek revolution the inhabitants of Kassos numbered 12.000. However during recent years, due to the rocky and infertile nature of the soil, the largest portion of its inhabitants have immigrated to other lands (particularly the U.S.A) searching for a better quality of life.
It is an island boasting a fine nautical tradition. Five settlements are on the island, these are: Fri, St. Marina, Arvanitochori, Poli and Panagia. Together they comprise the municipality of Kassos, which is under the administrative jurisdiction of the province of Karpathos.
The capital Fri has the only harbour of the island. Beside the port for ships is the small port of Boukas which is full of boats and fishing vessels. Near Fri is Emporios, the name of the old port,which has beautiful old stone built houses and the church dedicated to the Birth of Our Lady. Also impressive are the churches of St. Spyridon and St. Marina.
Within all the settlements as well as in exotic locations there are churches and chapels with pebbled flooring and beautiful wood carved iconostasis. Examples are the monastery of St. Mamma with a view out to the Libikos gulf and St. George at Hadies which has a large hostel. To the south is the bay named Helatros, whose waters are ideal for all those who wish to swim in sparkling clean waters.
The old aristocratic captain's houses are quite impressive, while in the villages the houses are white washed with narrow flagstone paved lanes. Of exceptional interest are the shepherd’s huts "mitafa", which attest to a long tradition of animal herding. Many of these, especially in the areas of Eleros, Troules, Hadies, Skafi and Maritsa are well preserved. The fine quality dairy products of Kassos are produced within these huts. The beaches of Fri, St. Konstantinos, Armathia and Helatro are offered to all lovers of the water. These can be reached by local caique for daily excursions or it can be organized for shorter visitations.
The main festivals of Kassos are those of St. Marina on the 17th of July and St. Spyridon on the 12th of December. The feasts of Kassos have a prominent local character as both the music and dancing are performed by local musicians and dancers. On the 7th of June, the anniversary of the 'Holocaust' is celebrated with great festivity each year.
Activities of the Inhabitants The permanent inhabitants of the island are involved in agriculture, animal farming and tourism. Both the agricultural and animal products of Kassos are of exceptional quality.
The visitor should try the traditional food & sweets and decoctions of Kassos. Some these are: Food: Elaiki (a type of cheese which made from mezithra), makarounes, menu pastries, boustia from bombaria (lamb intestines stuffed with mince meat, kidney and rice), dolmades, kasiotiko pilaf (rice boiled in meat broth), sitaka, ofto (lamb stuffed with rice and oven baked), salt cheese,Sweets: moshopougkia (small sweets made from special dough and in the shape of a "purse" filled with almonds, sugar and rose-water, tourtes (sweet pies with mezithra cheese) mezithropites, kourambiedes, xilikopites Herbs : mantzourana, rosemary and kinomala (sage).
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The island is connected by sea with Crete (Sitia, St. Nicholas) and Peraeus (information: +30 2104226000) and with the islands Karpathos, Halki and Rhodes.
It is also connected by air with Rhodes and Athens via Rhodes (information: +30 2245041555, 2245049241, 2241024255, +30 2109269111).
A satisfactory road network connects the settlements and allows the visitor access to all the sites worth seeing on the island.