Pothia, founded 1850 by the inhabitants of Hora, recently overtook with it’s approx. 12.000 inhabitants Kos-Town and is the island's and province capital. It's brightly coloured houses surround the port like the seats in an amphitheatre, arranged along the hillsides down to the sea below.
Here you'll find real Greek life with domestic people going about their
everyday business. Pothia still offers the possibility to experience, through tourism unaltered, greek city life. Tourism you will only find at the harbour promenade with numerous taverns and bars.
Enjoy aplenty shops, museums, an open-air cinema, cafes, restaurants and bars from which to can watch people going about their everyday business at the harbour. Pothia is the centre of trade and commerce of the Dodecanes. Here are many banks, secondary schools, physicans, the hospital and everything else a provincial capital need. Main roads with a lot of traffic are noisy but in the small, quiete, atmospheric side streets are quaint stores, workshops, traditional bakeries and pastry shops and well-kept historical houses. For example, visit a ironmongery, the greek version of our DIY-stores ! You will be surprised, how many diffent things you can find in such a small shop !
By night the town buzzes with outdoor life all year round at tavernas and bars.
The harbour, with the most fishing boats of Greece, is always a busy, working place where smart yachts jostle for position with fishing boats, day-trip cruisers and the inter-island ferries. At the lively promenade tourists and locals are brought into contact in bars and taverns.
Kalymnos is widely known as the sponge-divers island. A large portion of the population was engaged in this age-old occupation, brought wealth and accelerated growth. Today this aged and dangerous job is nearly lost, only a few sponge-divers you can still find.
There are three little shops with museums, devoted to sponge diving, at Pothia. You can learn about how the crude sponges have to be bleached and knifed in different shapes and sizes, and buy them at bargain prices.
The Nautical Museum at the harbour, beside the town Hall, depicted by means of old diving gears, historical garbs, pictures and documents, tells the history of Kalymnos and his sponge-divers in a facinating and vitalised way. It incorporates a small Folk Museum with traditional clothes and household objects. (Open Mo -Fr 9am-2pm / Sunday 10am-1pm )
Archaeological and folklore museum (Vouvalis’s museum)
A small but fine museum with three departments in a handsome Victorian merchants villa (Vouvalis-Villa): N. Vouvalis erstwhile was the biggest trader of sponges. There are some rooms open to the public, to show, how he lived. The historical department presents prehistoric (5000 BC) and historic discoveries. The department of the temple of Apollo in the neighbouring building shows many discoveries of great value from the temple of Apollo. At this museum you can get a good impression of the history of the islands and how his inhabitants lived. (Open Tuesday-Saturday 8am-2.30pm, Sunday 8.30am to 2pm)
Traditional kalymnian House
A small charming museum, arranged with love, on the way to the monastery of Saint Savvas. Devoted to the island's life, customs and folklore. It shows the traditional houses as it used to be and answers a lot of questions you have about islands life: How did Kalymnians clean their teeth and wash their clothes? What are they doing in winter times? What games did children play? Where do they sleep? How do they cook? Why did mothers bath their baby boys in salt? What did a marriage contract involve? (Open daily 9am - 9pm )
Sea world museum of Vlihadia
A private museum at the beach of Vlihadia that shows findings of the sea, which have been collected by divers and fisherman: Sunken treasures from local shipwrecks and artefacts from the island's seafaring history.
Sotiros Christou church
Ágios Sávvas monastery
The monastery of the tutelar saint of the island is the first, you will see high above the town, when you arrive at Kalymnos. It ist perched on a hilltop above Pothia, and one of the peachiest greek monasteries. It is an inhabited monastery. Nuns reside in the old part, with it's very old buildings. One of them contains the tomb of Saint áavvas, who died earlier last century and is believed to have remarkable powers to heal. There is also a new church whose terrace affords amazing views over the island. Visitors must observe the dress code: sleeves and longer skirt (no trousers) for women, sleeves and long trousers for men! Next to the road to Vlichadia (road starts halfway between pothia and Hora).
Pera Kastro (Chrystocheriás)
To the north of the main town, to the left of the road to Hora, is Pera Kastro situated, also called the Castle of the Golden Hands (Chrystocheriás), because the chapel in it's interior has an icon of the Virgin whose hands are covered with gold leaf. Build between 1309 – 1522.
St.Panteleimon (Ágios Pandelímonas)
The teeny-weeny chapel of these otherwise new monastery is situated in the islands only forest on a steep mountainside at Panormos and built intro the rocks. It is a very charming chapel ! Sign-posted at the road from Pothia to Panormos.
Up to 1850 the island's capital was located at the inland village Hora (2600 inhabitants today, Hora means: village) which benefited from the protection offered by the byzantine fortress of the Knights of St. John just above it. It was occupied until the 18th century. Today Hora is a real greek community with many narrow lanes where you think you can get lost. But don't be scared to ask the way, someone will always help you.
Remnants of Byzantine and Venetian rule can still be seen there. Climb up the path to the fortress for great views over the three ruined windmills to the interior of the island. There are just nine well-kept chapels standing. Sneak a peek inside the church of Panaghia (the virgin Mary), built on the site of an ancient temple, to see it's opulent golden decoration. (Open Monday - Sunday 8am - 8 pm )
Temple of Apollo/ Church of Christ of Jerusalem (Christós tis Jerusalím)
It is one of the oldest sites in Kalymnos. The temple where Dilios Apollo was worshipped, the god of light, music and the defining deity of the island, is placed in the Area of Damos between Hora and Panormos. It was the most important religious and political place at the ancient. Apollo's lyre is Kalymnos symbol till these days.
On the site of the temple you will notice the ruins of a three-aisled basilica, dedicated to Christ of Jerusalem, that was erected around the 6th century.
Further ruins of earlier cultural eras, old basilicas, mosaics and houses have been discovered at numerous points of Vathys. But -due to the fact, that there are less signposts- it is difficult to find them. If you like, I will describe you the way to the most interesting places. You also can book me for a walk through the valley, to show you all the interesting places and induct you to their history.
The temple of Taxiarhis in Vathys
A well preserved sample of the Hellenic high crop in Vathys 300 BC is the temple and paleochristian basilica of Taxiarhis in Vathys.
Detailed informations about Vathys you will find at the menu item Vathys.