The Kastro, the Kali Strata and a Cat

All that is left of the Castle the Knights built on Symi is a few remnants of walls.  The rest was destroyed when the Germans used the Kastro as a munitions store during the Second World War and blew it up during their retreat. This is why so many properties in the immediate vicinity of the Kastro are still in ruins today.  There are three churches built within in the walls of the ruined Kastro, not counting the one you can see on the right which is at the base of the access ramp.

A typical neo-classical Symi double storey on one of the access lanes to the Kali Strata.  The vine provides shade and privacy for outdoor living in the summer.  Instead of wasting space with internal stairs, the downstairs has a separate entrance from the lower lane.  There really is no such thing as a level building plot on Symi and all the houses are adapted to fit the extreme steepness of the landscape.  Symi is famous for steps, steps and yet more steps.

This three storey mansion overlooking the Kali Strata and the harbour is exactly 100 years old according to the date in the plaster on its pediment.

Today's Symi cat, snoozing on the bamboo above the Chrysalis boutique.  Note the overhanging eaves on this building.  This is characteristic of the Ottoman Empire and is one of the few buildings left on Symi that still reveals its Turkish connections. The Ottoman Empire lasted 400 years and during that time Symi was relatively prosperous, providing the Sultan with fast ships (built in the boatyards of Yialos - where the town square car park is now - and Harani) and sponges for the beautiful women of the harem.  Apparently they used the small ones, soaked in vinegar, as a rudimentary form of contraception.

A convergence of lanes at the bottom of the Kali Strata.  This was taken early in the morning, on my way to work, but in the evenings this area is humming with activity.

How to find the Kali Strata.  Look for the blue steps in the harbour and then take the left fork past the carpenter's shop. The ones that go up next to the Silk boutique are a diversion and will only take you to some ruins.  

Yachts milling about in the Meltemi breeze in Yialos this morning. The wind is bringing some welcome coolness to Symi this summer.  You can watch this view in real time with our webcam as this is the view from the Symi Visitor Accommodation office balcony.

The colourful chandlery at the bottom of the stairs to our office.  Dino sells an astonishing array of goods, including brass door knockers, goat bells and agricultural implements in addition to fishing rods, flags and yacht chandlery.

Lemonitissa church looking down on the town from the Kastro.  At this angle, viewed from the side balcony of our office in Yialos, Lemonitissa studio and apartment are masked by the trees to the right of the church.
The Meltemi, the prevailing wind in the Aegean, seems to have found us this year and we are enjoying some very welcome breezes.

We are now very busy as July is high season on Symi and there is a lot of coming and going, not to mention last minute bookings and this morning I actually received an email from someone who is wanting to plan their holiday around Easter 2016.  Now that is what I call forward planning!

Have a good week.


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About this Blog

I sailed into Panormitis Bay, Symi, by chance one windy July day in 1993 and have been here ever since. The locals tell me that this is one of the miracles of St Michael of Panormitis. A BA graduate with majors in English, Philosophy and Classical Civilisation, the idea of living in what is to all intents and purposes an archaeological site appeals to me. Not as small as Kastellorizo, not as touristy as Rhodes, Symi is just the right size. I live on a small holding which my husband and I have reclaimed from a ruin of over-grazing and neglect and turned into a small oasis over the course of the past 22 years. I also work part-time for Symi Visitor Accommodation, helping independent travellers discover and enjoy Symi's simple pleasures for themselves.

This page is kindly sponsored by Wendy Wilcox, Symi Visitor Accommodation.

Adriana Shum

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