This is the southernmost island of the Dodecanese, 3 nautical miles from Karpathos and east of Crete, 26 miles away.
Kasos has five villages (Fry and Emboreios, Aghia Marina, Poli, Arvanitohori and Panaghia) connected by paved roads.
No village is separated by more than four kilometres from another.
Fry-Frydi is the main town and sole port of the island, and to all intents and purposes the only practical place to stay.
The capital Fri has the only harbour of the island. Beside the port for ships is the small harbour of Boukas, a rare example of an old pirate refuge, where the fishing boats moor and the fisherman drink their coffee at the traditional coffeehouse and sell their fish. Boukas is part of the soul of every person from Kasos, as it closely connected with the sailors’ return to Kasos.
Near Fri is Emborios, the name of the old port, which has beautiful old stone houses and the church dedicated to the Birth of Our Lady.
Also impressive are the churches of St. Spyridon and St. Marina.
Festivities & Local Traditions:
The festivals of Kasos are those of:
• The Holy Trinity (a movable festival) in the village of Poli in June
• St. Marina 17th July in the village of Agia Marina
• The celebration of Christ 6th August in the village of Agia Marina
• Pera Panagias 15th August in the village of Panagia
• St. Fanourios 27th August in the village of Agia Marina
• St. Mama 2nd September (a monastery with traditional quest house)
• Panagia Elerou 8th September (a monastery with traditional “mitata” – shepherd’s huts where they make cheese and local dairy produce)
• The celebration of the Holy Cross 14th September in the village of Agia Marina.
• St. Dimitrios 26th October in the village of Arvanitohori
• St. George at Hadies (a monastery with small traditional rooms for people to stay) 3rd November and 23 April (movable festival)
• St. Spiridon 12th December in the village of Fri
• St. Konstandinos and Eleni 21st May
• In addition the Municipality of Kasos organizes a yearly three-day event of festivities for the anniversary of the burning down of Kasos (7th June 1824).
Now a firm custom of the cultural events of the island is the concert by the world famous tenor Mario Frangoulis in August in the picturesque harbour of Mpoukas. This event attracts an audience from all over Greece. The famous singer comes from Kasos.
Emboreio has an organized beach with tavernas and a cafe. On the west coast of Kasos lies Ammoua beach, and at Antiperatos there are four secluded beaches in a row, notable for their pebbles of all shapes and colours. In the south of Kasos there is the beach of Helatro. The nearby uninhabited islet of Armathia has a great sandy beach with blue-green waters known as Marmara, little-known but praised as one of the best in the whole Mediterranean.
The area stretching from Saria in the north of the island to the western coast, including the islets known as the Kasonisia, are known as a valuable breeding ground for the rare Mediterranean monk seal (monachus monachus). (www.mom.gr). Kasos is an important sanctuary for rare birds.
The earliest traces of human habitation on the island date from the Final Neolithic/Early Bronze Age (4th and 3rd millennia BC). There are indications of permanent settlement, with strong Minoan influences, at the southwest end of the island, around the safe Khelastros bay, during the Middle and Late Bronze Age (until circa 1450 BC). In Mycenaean times the centre of activity was transferred to the north part of Kasos, to the naturally fortified site of Poli.
Homer, in Rhapsody II of the lliad, mentions Kasos as participating, along with other Dodecanesian islands, in the Trojan War.
In historical times the ancient capital, also called Kasos according to Strabo, remained in the area of Poli, arround the hill of the Mycenaean citadel. Potsherds scattered over the hilltop date from the Final Neolithic/Early Bronze Age to the Early Christian period and attest to the continuous occupation of the site, which together with the strip of land linking it with the harbour at Emboreio constituted the principal settlement core on the island over the centuries.
Kassians are mentioned for the first time in the Athenian Tribute lists of the 5th century BC, while the ethnic Kasos, written in Hellenistic inscriptions from beyond the bounds of the Rhodian state, point to the island’s independence in that period. Kassian emissaries (theoroi) are recorded on Delos in 275/4 BC and they are included in the list of independent cities, among which is Rhodes. Nonetheless, the presence of Late Hellenistic inscriptions with Rhodian deme-names indicates the eventual subjection of Kasos to the Rhodian state, which event must have taken place in the first half of the 2nd century BC. On present evidence, it seems that Kasos did not mint its own coinage but used the Rhodian. However, our knowledge of the history of Kasos during the period of incorporation into the Rhodian state, which is attested into Roman times, is limited.
During the Roman and Early Christian periods the main settlement on the island was apparently transferred to the coast around Emboreio bay, where there are traces of two Early Christian basilicas. Another two basilicas stood at Maritsa, to the east, while a fifth should be sought in the area of Panagia. The concentration of large public buildings of luxurious construction bears witness to the island’s prosperity in Early Christian times.
With the division of the Roman empire into provinces, in the reign of Diocletian (AD 284-305), Kasos was assigned to the XXVIII Provincia, the governor of which was based in Rhodes, to which the Episcopal Sees were subject too. With the division of the Byzantine state into Themata, however, Kasos was detached from the XVIII Thema of Kibyrrhaiotoi and included in the Thema of Crete. Information about the island in Byzantine and Medieval times is scant.
How to get to Kasos
• By plane from Athens
Tel El Venizelos Airport: (+30) 210 3530000
• By boat from Piraeus port
Port Authorities tel: (+30) 210 4226000-4, 210 4511310-17
Kassos City Hall: (+30) 22450 41400
Kassos Airport: (+30) 22450 41587
Kassos Port authorities: (+30) 22450 41288
Kassos Police: (+30) 22450 41222
Kassos Medical centre: (+30) 22450 41333
Official Island website: www.kasos.gr
Sources: www.kasos.gr , www.touristorama.gr, www.dodekanissaweb.gr