Karpathos is one of those places to
have preserved the same name ever since the time of Homer,
hence the certainty that this place has always made a
difference, a fact all the better corroborated by a mere
reference to the Minoan and Mycenaean tombs as well as
to the unearthed remains of settlements dating from the
2d Millennium BC, much frequented by antiquity-avid tourists.
Subsequent to its conquest
by the Dorians (circa 1000 BC), the island was given the alternative
name of Tetrapolis, a name suggesting the existence of four (tetara
in Dorian Greek) cities on it. Interestingly, the names of certain
of those settlements have survived to this day: Arkesia (near
the site of the actual township of Arkassa), Vrykous (currently
Vrikounta), Nissyros (the Saria island), Possideion a.k.a. Potidaeon
(currently referred to as Pigadia). Later on, during Classical
and further into the Hellenistic period, Karpathos would inevitably
follow the fate of Greece as a whole. In the year 42 BC it came
under Roman rule, a condition that remained unchanged until Byzantium
became the new ruler.
Corsair raids terrified dwellers of the coastal settlements, who
chose to resettle in highest areas. An example of such resettlement
is the Byzantine township of Olympos still on foot and very much
The Byzantine rule is followed by several centuries of successive
slavery: first came the Genovese, succeeded by the Knights of
the Order of St. John, the Venetians and last the Ottomans.
The Greek Uprising for Independence from the Ottoman Rule in brought
temporary freedom, before the island was once again handed over
to the Ottoman Empire by virtue of a Treaty (1830). In 1912, the
island came under Italian rule, a condition preserved until after
World War II, when the island officially became part of the Greek
Karpathos (also known
as Pigadia) :
This is the capital town as well as the main port of the island,
its location coinciding with that of the ancient Potidaeo or Posseidaeon.
At the entrance to the port, there raises the rock bearing the
remains of the citadel. All around the vestiges, there is a multitude
of traditional homes - possibly the most dense collection of them
in this area. Carved in the mountain slopes there are the villages
of Menetes, Othos and Volada. Underneath the village of Volada,
there lies the picrturesque settlement of Aperi. There are 1700
people dwelling in Pigadia.