... And it excels from the other islands because of the mountains, the formerly called Claros island, which is now called Kalamos, a name that in Latin means Arundo (reed). And it is an elongated island, located from the constellation of the Bear to the west. And its perimeter is 40 miles. And it is such the height of the mountains found there, that if one ascends to the highest of them, he will see clearly from there Ephesus and Chios and the so-called Palaces (Miletus).
And in these mountains there are many sheep, which by stepping on and destroying the fragrant herbs there, manage and remain immune from the wolves, as well as goats of blond hair, who spend their day at the cliffs of the rocks and eat with joy the sprouted trees there.
The quote on the left comes from Cristoforo Buondelmonti’s, Isolario. Isolario, originates from the Latin Isola (island), a book with maps and navigational details – guidance for the ancient mariners. A primitive form of Atlas, c. 1386 – 1430.
Source: “Kalymnos through renaissance maps, 15th – 17th century”, Emmanouil Michailou, June 2015
The Kalymnian landscape was harsh and it is referred to as such in books that speak about the long history of this island. First, we read about Kalydnai islands in the Homeric epics. This landscape, the steep mountains and the rocks, was the factor which shaped Kalymnians through the ages, mostly making them turn to the sea for a living. And how well they did! Well known as the sponge divers’ island, the sea and its treasures brought prosperity over the years, until recently, since after WWII, Kalymnos was the only Greek island left with a thriving sponge diving industry.
In the present
In the present those roles have changed, as the natural elements still bless this land with grace. Mountains became the “next big thing” and the rock climbing “Mecca” was introduced to the world. With respect to its past and vision to its future, Kalymnos is now the new “alternative” place, the overall Aegean Mecca of outdoor activities. Climbing and diving combine different ages on a new era, while dozens of new activities can now be enjoyed on this unique place.
Kalymnos combines an amazing natural environment with a mediterranean mild climate, enjoyable all year round. The visitor will be instantly captured by the smells of wild thyme & oregano, will breathe pure sea breeze oxygen, will witness breath taking landscapes and taste traditional, honest & pure, local gastronomic delights. The fame of citrus from Vathy valley and the wild thyme honey harvested here, have exceeded the boundaries of this place.
This land is blessed to have remained unspoiled from massive touristic exploitation and therefore, visitors here have the chance to experience interacting with authentic local Aegean islanders! We invite you to visit and love this place!
If you want to read more about the history of Kalymnos, you can check the official page of the municipality.