The History of Olympos Village

 history of Karpathos

The archaeological excavations showed that Minoans and Mycenaeans settled in the Olympos region in the 15th century BC. According to the information found in ancient writers (Skilax, Stravon) and the archaeological findings, there were two important cities in the Olympos region since the 4th century BC, namely Vrikous, in the site of today’s Vroukountas, and Nisiros “homonymous with the island of Nisiros” in the site Palatia in Saria. In Steno of Karpathos or somewhere in this region there was the Porthmios Poseidon temple, a place of worship for the whole island of Karpathos during the classical and Hellenistic period. The famous inscription, known as “Dorian resolution of Karpathos”, was found in Vrikounta. This inscription concerns a doctor called Minokritos Mitrodorou, whom the inhabitants of Vrikous bestowed the highest honors because he had offered his medical services unselfishly and unimpeachably for more than twenty years.

From the ancient city of Vrikous, tens of carved tombs, ruins of walls and fortifications, and some parts of Hellenistic walls have been saved.

As the Byzantine monuments found in the Vrikounta and Palatia regions show, life continued in these cities during the Byzantine era. The ruins of the big basilica in Palatia (in the site of today’s Agia Sofia), in Steno (in the site of today’s Agia Aikaterini), and the Filios (in Archagelos) date back from around the 6th century AD, and it is believed that Christianity came to Karpathos, and especially Olympos, before that century. It is thought-although it hasn’t been verified-that Ioannis of Karpathos, an eminent figure of the 6th-century church lived in Vrikounta.

The inhabitants of Vrikous and Nisiros stayed in their cities until the end of the 7th century, and perhaps the 8th century, because of Arabic raids, they were forced to look for shelter, probably the entire cities, away from the sea, in naturally protected sites. It seems that Vrikous hasn’t been inhabitants, who in Palatia life continued, probably with Arab inhabitants, who used the city as their base of operations, because the position of the city allowed them to dominate in the passage between Rhodes and Karpathos. This theory is substantiated by the fact that only Arabs could live close to the sea during that period and, as archaeologists and historians tell us, the ruins found today in Palatia resemble the constructions of Syria dated before the 10th century. As it seems from the ruins and the deep clefts in the ground, the city of Palatia was destroyed by a strong earthquake, in the first two or three centuries of the second millennium AD.

The refugees from Vrikous and Nisiros, as it was mentioned above, must have settled in Olympos during the period of the Arabic raids (7th-9th century), which coincides with the iconoclasm period (8th-9th century). This theory is supported by the desertion of the ancient cities during that period and the dates of construction of the still existing Katholiki and Agios Onoufrios chapels, as well as the dating of the older decoration of the central church of the village, which can be seen in the west dome, now that the latter decorative layer has been eroded. There are no figures of saints in this decoration, although one can see only the common Christian symbols, such as crosses, fish, etc., which were allowed by the iconoclasts.

It is possible that the refugees from Vrikous and Nisiros didn’t settle Olympos in the beginning, but looked for a site somewhere close to their old homes. Exapitarea (which means place of expatriation) is believed to be one such site, where old ruins, perhaps dating from the 8th or 9th century, have been found.

history of olympos

The site of Olympos is excellent, as far as protection for the inhabitants is concerned. The site it was built is naturally protected from the north and south-west side and from there they could survey the open sea in the west. There were guards in nearby high points who informed the inhabitants whenever pirate ships were approaching so that they could be protected in their castle. Moreover, there was plenty of spring water nearby, and the main cultivated area, Avlona, wasn’t far away. 

 

The central church of the village, a Kimisis ti Theotokou (the Assumption of the Virgin) is impressive. Built-in the Byzantine style, its whole interior is covered with murals dated from the years of Turkish rule. The icon screen, made of carved wood, is an excellent piece of art. Apart from the central church, there are a lot of picturesque chapels throughout the village and the region. Today’s village is certainly much bigger than the original 9th and 10th-century settlement. When the pirates stopped their raids, the village expanded both towards the east and the west mountainside. Along the mountain top, there is a row of horseshoe-shaped windmills, a distinctive feature of Olympos.

Today, many of the houses in the village are uninhabited because of immigration.

 

Feb 25, 2021
Karpathos Island,  especially in the North is an exciting place for birdwatchers!
 
birdwatching karpathos1
 
 
 The protected area of Karpathos island which is a part of the Natura 2000 network, is an important place because many birds stop during their migration from Africa to Europe and back. 
 Depending on the season and the weather, you can normally see Bonelli eagles and long-legged buzzards soaring above the mountains and plateaus. Also larks, wheatears, swallows, ravens, and varieties of swifts. 

birdwatching ecotourism karpathos

 We have kestrels,  peregrines, and the occasional sparrow hawk. In the spring and autumn, many eagles and harriers pass through and also bee-eaters.
In the spring we have hoopoes, herons, orioles, and cuckoos, in the autumn kingfishers and wagtails.
At sea, you will recognize three varieties of gull, including the rare Adouine, shags, and shearwaters.  
For many birdwatchers, the jewel in the crown is our very own Eleanora's falcon.  These come to us every year from Madagascar, traveling up the African coast,  crossing over the mountains, and following the river Nile. Two days from the Egyptian coasts and they are on the cliffs of North Karpathos. 

The English name and the species name eleonorae commemorate Eleanor of Arborea, Queen or Lady-Judge (Juighissa) and national heroine of Sardinia, who in 1392, under the jurisdiction conferred by the Carta de Logu, became the first ruler in history to grant protection to hawk and falcon nests against illegal hunters.

 
According to Ornithologiki.gr, in Greece, the Eleonora's falcon arrives from April on, with the older individuals mating and occupying nesting places, thereby developing loose colonies as early as May. Owing to the low food availability in the nesting areas, however, Eleonora's falcon hunts at large distances from the nest, and only a few of the birds return to the colony at night. Indeed, the area in which the falcons of one colony are active during this specific period is considered to possibly exceed 1000 km2. Thus, and since the islands where the reproductive colonies are located cannot support all the birds with food, Eleonora's falcons can be spotted during the reproductive season on the mainland of Greece as well, even in high mountains far removed from the coasts, Indeed, mature individuals that roam through the mainland of Greece can be confused with other falcon species.
The diet of the Eleonora's falcon until the end of July, when the egg-laying has been completed, consists mainly of big insects, such as butterflies, flying ants, dragonflies, cicadas, and beetles that it catches in the air with its talons, above islands or the sea (Ristow and Wink 1994, Ristow 2001). During the following period and until October, it feeds exclusively on migratory birds, a food source that is,   theoretically, infinite. After its breeding, between the end of October and the beginning of November, it flies to East Africa, especially to Madagascar, where it spends the winter, returning to a diet based on insects.
 

birdwatching karpathos ecotourism karpathosbirdwatching karpathos 3.

Join our Birdwatching Tour in Karpathos island with our Local Guides and we will be happy to take you to their grounds to see them flying over our heads, listen to their happy screaming, or hunting other small birds!
Oct 25, 2017

 

1st Day

Airport- Pigadia (capital of Karpathos)

Othos

 

Your guide meets you at the airport to transfer you to your hotel in Pigadia -the capital of Karpathos-. After settling into your rooms, the remaining hours

will be available for taking a first stroll, learning the history and observing the architecture of the town and visiting the historical museum.

 

2nd Day

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In the morning, we will be transferred to Menetes village and we will start our first trekking to Othos village.

During the hike, going to the north, we will able to stare the region of Pigadia and we will meet Aperi and Vollada villages.

Our guide will explain the history and the development of each one through the time.

Once we will arrive, we will visit the cultural museum of Othos village and after relaxing we will return back to our hotel in Pigadia.

Free time ,dinner and overnight stay in Pigadia.

 

Trekking altitude:  423m  - 470m
Trekking time: 4 - 5 hours
Total time: 7 - 8 hours

 

3rd Day

 On the Top!

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On this day hike we will conquer the highest pick of Karpathos, mountain Kali Limni (1215 m)!

 

The view from the top is absolutely marvelous and if the weather is good we can see other islands such as Kasos, Rhodes and Crete!

After the hiking we will return to Lastos region to relax!

 

Trekking altitude: 470m - 1215m
Trekking time: 4- 5 hours
Total time: 5 - 6 hours

 

 

 

 

4th Day

 

 

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After our breakfast, we will start the hike from Lastos to Spoa village.

The highlight of this trail is the alternation of the natural environment because during the hiking

we can come across three different types of ecosystems.

We  will find a pinewood, a region filled with old terraces revealing the past, as well as natural springs

with cool water which take your thirst away and give you the chance to relax.

 

Trekking altitude:

960m  -610m- 50m

Trekking time:

4 - 5 hours

Total time:

7 - 8 hours

5th Day

Discover the Protected Area of North Karpathos!

Cistus salvifolius

On this day, will start our hike from Spoa village to Olympos village –the capital of tradition and culture-.

During the hike we will enter to Protected Area (Natura 2000) and our guide will explain everything about the flora and fauna!

IMG 20160207 150608

The protected area of Karpathos includes 52.1 km2 of sea and about 102 km2 of land.

The area of eco-develοpment in Karpathos includes the area named “North Karpathos and Saria and coastal sea zone” covering in total 113km2 and

belongs to the network of protected areas “NATURA 2000”, coded GR4210003

which is characterised as Special Protection Area (SPA, in application of the directive 79/409/EE) and

as Site of Community Importance (SCI, in application of the directive 92/43/EE).

The rich flora includes more than 940 species of plants, 87 of which are endemic, rare or under threat of extinction.

Trekking altitude: 610 m -270m
Trekking time: 6 - 7hours
Total time: 8 - 9 hours

 

 

6th Day

 Olymbos by MuH Hundemer 2

 In the morning, we will have a guided tour through the history of Olympos village and its numerous windmills and our guide will help us to discover the secrets of this primeval community.

Here, we meet craftsmen making the traditional leather boots, fit either for labour or dancing, and others who make musical instruments for feasts and festivals.

Don’t be surprised if you happen to come across women wearing their traditional dress and baking bread in ovens alongside the narrow paths of the village.

Just thank them for the hot steaming fresh-made pastry that may slide into your palm and relish the hospitality pouring out of a welcoming verse or so-called mantinada.

Lastly, a visit to the cultural museum of Olympos will give us a compact idea of the cultural heritage of the place and its people.

After that we will start our trekking to Diafani village in which we can relax next to the sea and have dinner in tradional tavernas.

 

Overnight in Diafani village.

Trekking altitude: 270m -0m
Trekking time: 2 - 3 hours
Total time: 4 - 5 hours

 

7th Day

 Crossing Saria Island!

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We depart from Diafani by boat to Saria Island north of Karpathos and the bay named “Giaplos”.

The tour starts with crossing the island of Saria from south to north  ending up with  a guided visit at abandoned but well preserved rural settlement of Argos.

Our way back to the Palatia beach passes through the medieval pirate hamlet spread around the cove. 

After a brief interval, we all get on board our diving boat where our instructors will guide us to discover the magnificent, crystal clear seabed of Saria island,

using only a simple snorkelling equipment (mask, snorkel, pair of flippers).

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Evening:

Around 18:00 pm we will have returned by boat to Diafani and we will have dinner in a local restaurant.

 

 

8th Day

Departure from Diafani to the airport.

We will quickly pass by the rest of the villages of Karpathos.

Othos by MuH Hundemer

 

 

 

Starting Date Bookings until Availability
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Nov 07, 2016

BOTANICAL HOLIDAYS

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For Nature Lovers, for endemic and rare flora species “Hunters” but also for everyone who wants to experience,

observe and photograph something very fresh and different.

A botanical week in the Protected Area of Regional Marine Park of Northern Karpathos Saria and Astakidonision will be a life altering experience!

We are inviting you to discover and explore this beautiful place with us because no one else knows its secrets better than we do!

We will meet the Pelophylax Cerigensis, the rarest little frog in Greece, which has been recorded in the Red list of IUCN.

We will also see the Lycias Salamander Helverseri –an endemic species- and we will hear the proud scream of the Falco Eleonorae,

a migrating falcon which takes shelter the majority of the year on these Islands.

 Karpathos and Saria Islands are affiliated with the “NATURA 2000” Network (code: GR4210003)

with more than 100 endemic and rare species of flora and fauna. They are one of the best destinations for everybody who perceive the meaning of holiday with a different – alternative way.

The following tour – program combine beautiful graphic trekking routes with observations of nature, flora and fauna.

Each path in the Protected Area has a unique ecosystem and the wide variety of plants will surprise you!

 

1st Day

 

 olympos village3

A guided tour through the history of the village and its numerous windmills will help us to discover the secrets of this primeval community. Here, we meet craftsmen making the traditional leather

boots, fit either for labor or dancing, and others who make musical instruments for feasts and festivals.a visit the cultural museum of Olympos will give us a compact idea of the cultural heritage of

the place and its people.

cooking lesson karpathos
Then, we will continue with walking in the around area meeting the regional flora and fauna for the first time.

Later, in a preserved house right across Olympos village, we will start our first activity “show cooking” preparing the most traditional meal “makarounes” and after that, we will enjoy what we

made!

 

2nd Day

Ophrys ariadne 3

 

Start trekking from Diafani to Olympos through a path of 7 kilometers and a mixed environment with springs, small rivers agriculture and pine trees!

We will meet the Astragalus austro – aegaeus , Anagalis arvensis ssp. Rutila , Verbena officinalis ,

Gladiolus   italicuS , Centaurea raphanina ssp. raphanina, Rapistrum rugosum,   and more!

In the afternoon, we will return through a trail which is crossing a small river and ending up at Vananda beach near to Diafani village.

 

3rd Day

 

Start trekking from Diafani to Agios Kostantinos region, through a beautiful path in which

we can find the Ophrys Ηeldreichi , Medicago Tuberculata, Arbutus Unedo , Cistus Incanus ssp. Incanus , Lithodora Hispidula , Vitex Agnus – Castus, etc.

 botanical tour

 

In the afternoon, we will walk back to Diafani through a path from the other side with a marvelous view of mountains and the coastline!

 

4th Day

 

 Anacamptis pyramidalis

Start trekking from Anakima region to Forokli beach. During the downhill,

we will cross a small river which created a unique ecosystem with rich biodiversity, big trees, small bushes, and Anacamptis Pyramidalis,

Cytinus Hypocistis, Crepis Cretica, Helichrysum Barrelieri, Stachys Mucronata, Picris Altissima, etc.

 

5th Day

Campanula pinatsii

 Hiking from Avlona settlement to the Gulf of Tristomo, after a 4-hour trek!

At the natural sanctuary of Tristomo, we are going to spend the rest of the day, exploring the picturesque settlement, standing right upon the brink of the waves,

and the old dilapidated Italian barracks (kazarmas), swimming and snorkeling (optional). A brief voluntary beach cleaning session, attended by the staff of the marine park,

will be also available for whoever may wish tocontribute to the removal of accumulated marine debris from the seashore.


18:00 pm we will return to Diafani village by boat.

6th Day

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We depart from Diafani village by foot with destination to Avlona, a rural settlement on a high plateau which is the main supplier of farm products and a paradise of endemic plants.


We will see many different species such as Isatis lusitanica, Leontice leontopetalum, Linum arboretum, Ophrys Ariadne, Rubia Tinctoria, Gagea Graeca, etc.

In addition, in Avlona plateau, we will collect some wild vegetables in order to cook them in a traditional way!

In the afternoon, we will return through a trail which is crossing a small river and ending up at Vananda beach near to Diafani village.

Botanical holidays

At 6:00 pm, we will start our first cooking lesson with the vegetables we collected!

 

7th Day

End of our Botanical Tour!

After breakfast, we transfer you to the Airport for your return flight.

DSCN3204

 

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Nov 07, 2016

«The best way to meet a place is to hike»

Hiking in Karpathos island is the most famous outdoor activity. Guided Hiking Tours help you to see the natural environment with safety but also to learn the history of every path of the island.

With more than 30 paths Karpathos invites us to explore and discover it as each one possesses its own unique history, architecture, and biodiversity.

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There are paths, which will lead us to the highest tops of the island (Kali Limni 1215m and Prophet Elias 719m) with a breathtaking view that casts a spell on the senses.

Other paths will lead us to virgin and isolated beaches where we can relax and enjoy the sun and swimming.

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A unique trait of the paths of Karpathos is the alternation of the natural environment because during hiking you can come across three different types of ecosystems.

You will also find a pinewood, a river surrounded by plane trees, a region filled with old terraces revealing the past, as well as natural springs with cool water which take your thirst away and give you the chance to relax!

 

Paths and Trails of Karpathos island

The path of Crossing Saria Island: One of the most beautiful paths in Karpathos is the one which crosses the island of Saria. The total distance of this path is 7.422 km and it takes around 4 hours hiking. The starting point is Giaplos beach and the end is the beach of Palatia. During the hike, our local guides will explain to you the history of the place and the traditional way of the local life because Saria island was well known for the dairy products such as butter and cheese from goat and sheep milk. 

saria1

 

The path from Avlona to the natural port of Tristomo:  The path which connects Avlona settlement with Tristomo gulf is full of history and breathtaking views! The total distance is 8.646km and it takes 4 hours. Our local guides will show you all the important fro the local places and how the residents could survive in the mountains without any river or spring around. Later, when we arrive in Tristomo, we will have a break in a traditional house where we can enjoy a light launch, coffee or a beer!  

tristomo aulona

 

The Path to the most important ancient city of Vroukounda: Starting from Avlona, the most important agriculture place, we will follow a path which is more than 2000 years old! The total distance is 4.00 km and it takes 2.5 hours. When we arrive in the place of the ancient city our local guides will tell you in details the history, when and why the city destroyed by the pirates. Moreover, we will have a break in a really nice beach and we enjoy a light lunch under the trees!

 

If you are a solo hiker and you want tips, advice and  transportation support, don't hesitate to contact our professional team!

Follow Your KarPATHos!!!

Nov 20, 2015
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