Nisyros is a small island in the
Dodecanese complex, between Kos and Tilos. It is a quiet place, far from
the tourist current other Greek islands have, that fascinates and charms
visitors with its strong colourful character, the dark brown of its
volcanic earth, the white of its houses and the deep blue of its sea.
Nothing disturbs the silence of the island, which gives it a mysterious
charm that remains with visitors who almost always fall in love with
Nisyros and cherish its memories One of the natural attractions of
Nisyros island is the volcano, on its central side, near the village of
Nikia, on the plateau of Lakki. It's an active volcano with a large
crater into which one can descend by steps. Entering the crater, one
could easily believe that one was walking on the moon, were it not for
the hot sun that shines above in all its glory. The crater is
layered with a hot surface (not hot enough to scold, one can easily walk
on it but shoes, preferably mountain boots are most definitely required)
and thick vapours, and is frequently visited by tourists from the nearby
Greek islands.Nisyros also has therapeutic springs with good curative
properties at Loutra, near the capital.A traditional product of Nisyros
is soumada, a non-alcoholic almond-flavoured drink. The patron
saint of the island is Saint Nikitas. Many Orthodox Christian churches
are found on the island, as well as four monasteries which are not
inhabited by monks today, although various celebrations take place in
them. The largest monastery is the one of Panagia Spiliani
(Blessed Virgin Mary of the cave) at Mandraki. It is built beside the
medieval castle erected by the Knights Hospitaller who conquered the
island in 1315.
The history of Nisyros is closely linked with the volcanic eruptions that occurred in the ancient past. The first known inhabitants of the island were Karrians but recent evidence has found relics left by people from Kos, Thessaly and Rhodes during the ancient times of Greek History. According to the Greek Mythology, Nisyros was was born by a stone that Poseidon throw to the Giant Polyvoti during the fight of Gods against the Giants. The rock was a piece from the island of Kos and that rock created Nisyros. During the Persian wars Nisyros together with the islands of Kos and Kalymnos where under the rule of the small kingdom of Halicarnassus and her queen Artemissia one of the alliances of Xerxes in his campaign against Greece.
The history of Nissyros and its growth, because of its proximity, was linked to that of Rhodes. In modern times, the development of Nissyros is due to the investments made by ex-patriots who emigrated after the Second World War. Up until 1948 when the island unified with Greece, like all of the Dodecanese, Nisyros was an Italian colony.
Places to visit on Nisyros
Mandraki: The Old Fortress
(Paleokastro) with the ruins of the ancient city lies 4 km southwest.
Sections of the fortified walls
dating from the 4th century BC and the gateway structure have survived. They are strongly reminiscent of
similar Mycenean structures.