Once upon a time in the Castle
The Castle was Astypalea’s only settlement until the 19th century. Some barns were attached at its outskirts; structures that served various purposes for the villagers, whilst others were found near the farming fields which better served the farmers. Some pens catered to the stockbreeders' needs.
New housing developments began near the year 1930, when houses started to appear outside the settlement and a number of former barns and pens were turned into residences, simply by making additions of rooms or levels to the original structures.
The largest representation of those repurposed dwellings can mostly be traced at the villages of Maltezana and Livadi, the latter being the most prosperous part of the island. The villages of Vathi, Shinondas, Marmari, Tzakani, Vatses are smaller villages with fewer abodes.
In the main town of the island, we come across two types of residences, both custom to the Aegean islands style. The first type is presented in the houses built peripherally around the Castle, and beside each other so as to form a protective wall. Originally, those houses had no windows.
The second is found inside the Castle, where approximately 400 homes existed, all three floors high and built adjacent creating narrow alleyways that would only fit one person crossing at a time. In those past times, the Castle housed around a thousand residents.
As time went by and the threats by pirates and other adversaries lessened, the Castle served as the foundation of the modernized settlement and further residences started to sprawl outside its walls.
A walk through the diverse residential neighborhoods of the islands is enough to get you acquainted with the history and the stories that have shaped the unique character and the strong personality of Astypalea.
We invite you to discover the past and present of our island!
[Information by: History & Stories of Astypalea, Eleftherios Filimon Xanthos]