Kalymnos, (Greek: Κάλυμνος) is a Greek island and municipality in the southeastern Aegean Sea. It belongs to the Dodecanese and is located to the west of the peninsula of Bodrum (the ancient Halicarnassos), between the islands of Kos (south, at a distance of 12 km (7 mi)) and Leros (north, at a distance of less than 2 km (1 mi)): the latter is linked to it through a series of islets. Kalymnos lies between two and five hours away by sea from Rhodes.

In 2011 the island had a population of 16,001, making it the third most populous island of the Dodecanese, after Kos and Rhodes. It is known in Greece for the affluence of much of its population, and also stands as both the wealthiest member of the Dodecanese and one of the wealthiest Greek islands overall. The Municipality of Kalymnos, which includes the populated offshore islands of Pserimos (pop. 80), Telendos (94), Kalolimnos (2), and Pláti (2), as well as several uninhabited islets, has a combined land area of 134.544 square kilometres (51.948 sq mi)[2] and a total population of 16,179 inhabitants.


Pothia, capital of the island
Pothia, capital of the island
Flag of Kalymnos

Kalymnos is located in Greece
Location within the region
2011 Dimos Kalymnion
Coordinates: 36°59′N 26°59′E / 36.983°N 26.983°ECoordinates: 36°59′N 26°59′E / 36.983°N 26.983°E
Administrative regionSouth Aegean
Regional unitKalymnos
 • Municipality134.5 km2 (51.9 sq mi)
Highest elevation
700 m (2,300 ft)
Lowest elevation
0 m (0 ft)
 • Municipality
 • Municipality density120/km2 (310/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC+2 (EET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+3 (EEST)
Postal code
852 00
Area code(s)224x0
Vehicle registrationΚΧ, ΡΟ, ΡΚ


The island is known as Càlino in Italian and Kilimli or Kelemez in Turkish.[3]


Kalymnos, Sektor Arhi - panoramio
Kalymnos, Sektor Arhi
Kalymnos arch
The natural rock arch in Kalymnos.
Mycenaean poterry bowl, cuttlefish motif, 1200-1100 BC, BM Cat Vases A1019, 142843
Myenaean pottery bowl with a pattern derived from the popular cuttlefish motif, 1200-1100 BC (LH IIIc). Found on Kalymnos. British Museum

The island is roughly rectangular in shape, with a length of 21 km (13 mi) and a width of 13 km (8 mi), and covers an area of 109 square kilometres (42 sq mi). Moreover, on the north side there is a peninsula which stretches in a northwest direction.

Kalymnos is mainly mountainous with complicated topography. There are three main chains going from W-NW to E-SE, and a fourth which extends NW the length of the peninsula. The coastline is very irregular, with many sheltered coves. There are some springs, one among them being thermal. The soil is mainly limestone-based, but in the valleys there is a compact bank of volcanic tuff, the relic of an ancient volcano, located in Vigles, between the villages of Myrties and Kantouni. The island is mainly barren, except for the two fertile valleys of Vathys and Pothia, where olives, oranges and vines are grown. There is also an ostrich farm in Argos, near the airport.

Earthquakes are a frequent occurrence around Kalymnos, a fact that is connected with the volcanoes in surrounding islands. The last earthquake occurred was the 2017 Aegean Sea earthquake with a magnitude of 6.7Mw, which injured two people in Kalymnos.

Archipelago of Kalymnos

Kalymnos is neighbored by the small island of Telendos, which was once part of Kalymnos, but split off after a major earthquake in 554 AD and is now separated from Kalymnos by a channel of water (about 800 m wide).[4]

Between Kalymnos and Kos lies the islet of Pserimos which is inhabited and, with an area of 11 square kilometres (4 sq mi), is one of the largest of the lesser islands of the Dodecanese. Near Pserimos lies the islet of Platí, and about 5 km (3 mi) to the NE lies the small islet of Kalolimnos.


Kalymnos. - panoramio (1)
Kalymnos town hall.
Rina, Vathys, Kalymnos
View of Rina, the small port of Vathys

Inhabited originally by Carians, in Antiquity Kalymnos depended on Kos, and followed its history. The island's Hellenistic Temple of Apollo was excavated by the British archaeologist Charles Newton in the nineteenth century; many of the finds he made, including important epigraphic inscriptions, are in the British Museum's collection.[5] In the Middle Ages it was under the influence of the Byzantine Empire, and during the 13th century it was used by the Venetian Republic as a naval base. In 1310 it came under the control of the Knights of Rhodes, and later (mainly in 1457 and 1460) was often attacked by the Ottomans, who eventually conquered it in 1522. Unlike Rhodes and Kos, during the Ottoman period there was no Turkish immigration to Kalymnos.

On May 12, 1912, during the Italo-Turkish War, Kalymnos was occupied by Italian sailors of the Regia Marina. Italy took control of the island along with other islands of the Dodecanese (except Kastellorizo initially) until 1947, when the Dodecanese were finally united with mainland Greece, as part of the modern Greek state.


The majority of Kalymnians are Orthodox Christians. The island belongs to that small part of Greece that does not depend on the Church of Greece, but rather on the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople based in Istanbul, Turkey. Kalymnos belongs to the Metropolis of Leros, Kalymnos and Astypalaia.

Sponge diving

Natural sponges of Kalymnos

Kalymnos is known and billed as the "Sponge-divers' island". Sponge diving has long been a common occupation on Kalymnos and sponges were the main source of income of Kalymnians, bringing wealth to the island and making it famous throughout the Mediterranean. The Kalymnians harvested sponges from the sea-bed as close as Pserimos or as far as North Africa. Early diving was done without equipment (free diving), using a harpoon.[6] Sponges are still fished individually, by hand.

The Greek sponge trade was centered close in the Dodecanese, featuring Kalymnos until mid-80s, when a disease hit the eastern Mediterranean destroying a great number of sponges and damaging the sponge-fishing industry as a result. Today, Kalymnos faces a lack of sponges due to the outbreak of a disease which has decimated sponge crops.

An annual celebration, Sponge Week, occurs a week after Easter to honour this "Kalymnian gold.” Much has been written, sung and filmed about the legendary courage and recklessness of the sponge divers themselves.


Kalymnos offers rock climbing and bouldering during the whole year.


Being mostly barren (only 18% of the land can be cultivated), agriculture has always played a minor role in the economy of the island, except for the valley of Vathi. The island is famous for its citrus fruits grown in this area.

Another industrial activity typical of Kalymnos was the production of painted head scarfs, which were the most original component of the female dress.

In recent times, tourism has become important for the island, particularly for rock climbing. In 2006, the island also acquired an airport, the Kalymnos Island National Airport in Argos, a village between Pothia and Brosta (the villages which are opposite of Telendos), to better link the island with the mainland.

Since the beginning of the 20th century, there has been much emigration from Kalymnos (the 1925 population was some 24,000 inhabitants as compared to 16,500 in 2012), especially to the United States and Australia. The cities of Darwin and Melbourne in Australia, and Tarpon Springs, Gary, IN, and Campbell, OH in the United States are home to large Greek communities of Kalymnian descent.

Kalymnian emigrants and their descendants also form a substantial portion of the bridge painting industry in the USA. Some researchers link this to the sponge diving tradition and way of life as both trades involve dangerous work with long periods away from home.

Notable people


Kalymnos, Pothia - panoramio (4)

Statue of Victory

Pothia, Kalymnos

The seafront of Pothia

Kastro tou Choriou

The medieval town-castle of Chorio (or Chora)


Emborios in the northernmost part of the island

Emborios, Kalymnos. - panoramio


Kalymnos, Masouri - panoramio


Kalymnos, Pothia - panoramio (2)


Metamorfosi Sotiros Christou Kalymnos Cathedral 2

Metamorfosi Sotiros Cathedral

Map of Kalymnos - Bordone Benedetto - 1547

Map of Kalymnos by Bordone Benedetto (1547)

Kalymnos Sektor Palace - panoramio

Panoramic view


  • Bertarelli, L.V. (1929). Guida d'Italia, Vol. XVII (in Italian). Consociazione Turistica Italiana, Milano.
  1. ^ a b "Απογραφή Πληθυσμού - Κατοικιών 2011. ΜΟΝΙΜΟΣ Πληθυσμός" (in Greek). Hellenic Statistical Authority.
  2. ^ "Population & housing census 2001 (incl. area and average elevation)" (PDF) (in Greek). National Statistical Service of Greece. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2015-09-21.
  3. ^ Bertarelli (1929) sub vocem
  4. ^ Spiteri, Stephen. Fortresses of the Knights, p. 197. University of Michigan Press, 2001, 382 pages. ISBN 978-9990972061.
  5. ^ British Museum Collection
  6. ^ Clift, Charmian, Mermaid Singing, Bobbs-Merrill, London, 1956

Agathonísi (Greek: Αγαθονήσι) is a small Greek island and municipality located at the northernmost point of the Dodecanese in Greece.

It is surrounded by many smaller islands and is home to two villages, both inland; Megálo Chorió ("Big Village"), and Mikró Chorió ("Small Village"). Between them is the small settlement of Agios Georgios (Saint George), which forms the island's only harbor and consists of a few hotels and restaurants. The island is also locally known as Gaidaro ("Donkey"), or by its ancient name Tragea.

The highest point on the island is 209 metres (686 feet) above sea level. This peak is located close to Mikro Chorio. The island covers an area of 13.5 square kilometres (5.2 square miles). It is made almost entirely of subcrystalline stratified limestones, and is covered with thorny macchia.In the late 1920s the island had 80 inhabitants, active in agriculture and sheep rearing. A census of the island in 1981 showed that it was populated by 133 people. In 1991, another census showed that the population had dropped to 112. By the 2001 census it had again risen to 158 residents, and in 2011 its population was 185, 168 of whom lived in Megálo Chorió, and only 17 in Mikró Chorió. The municipality of Agathonisi, which includes the uninhabited offshore islets of Gláros, Kounéli, Nerá, and Psathonísio, has a combined land area of 14.500 square kilometres (5.598 square miles).


Astypalaia (Greek: Αστυπάλαια, pronounced [astiˈpalea]), is a Greek island with 1,334 residents (2011 census). It belongs to the Dodecanese, an archipelago of twelve major islands in the southeastern Aegean Sea.

The island is 18 kilometres (11 miles) long, 13 kilometres (8 miles) wide at the most, and covers an area of 97 km2. Along with numerous smaller uninhabited offshore islets (the largest of which are Sýrna and Ofidoussa), it forms the Municipality of Astypalaia, which is part of the Kalymnos regional unit. The municipality has an area of 114.077 km2. The capital and the previous main harbour of the island is Astypalaia or Chora, as it is called by the locals.

August Heitmann

August Heitmann (1907 in Kalymnos – 1971 in Santiago de Chile) was a German swimmer who competed in the 1928 Summer Olympics.


Farmakonisi or Pharmakonisi (Greek: Φαρμακονήσι) is a small Greek island and community of the Dodecanese, in the Aegean Sea, Greece. It lies in the middle between the chain of the Dodecanese islands in the west, and the coast of Asia Minor (Turkey) in the east. To the north of it are the island of Agathonisi, to the west the islands of Leipsoi, Patmos and Leros, and to the south the islands of Kalymnos and Pserimos. It forms part of the municipality of Leros, and had a 2001 census population of 74 inhabitants, while in the 2011 census the population dropped to 10 inhabitants. Prominent historical monuments on the island include the church of Agios Georgios (Greek: Άγιος Γεώργιος) and the nearby ruins of an ancient Roman temple.

The area of Farmakonisi is 1.48 square miles (3.8 km2).


Isios is the most popular dance of the Island of Kalymnos. The Isios Horos (meaning straight dance) as it is called by the locals is done at every social gathering and festivity. It is danced in an open circle and is danced by both men and women. The rhythm is 2/4 and the hand hold is in a basket weave formation. Only the leader improvises on the steps of the dance, the rest of the dancers follow through with the basic step.


Kalolimnos (Greek: Καλόλιμνος) is a small Greek island in the Dodecanese chain, lying between Kalymnos and Imia, opposite the coast of Turkey, in the Aegean Sea. It is part of the municipality of Kalymnos.

Kalolimnos reaches an altitude of 80 meters above sea level and has a total area of 1.95 km2.


Kalymnikos is a dance from the Greek island of Kalymnos in the Aegean Sea.

Kalymnos (regional unit)

Kalymnos (Greek: Περιφερειακή ενότητα Καλύμνου) is one of the regional units of Greece. It is part of the region of South Aegean. The regional unit covers the islands of Kalymnos, Agathonisi, Astypalaia, Leipsoi, Leros, Patmos and several smaller islands in the Aegean Sea.

Kalymnos Island National Airport

Kalymnos Island National Airport (Greek: Κρατικός Αερολιμένας Καλύμνου) (IATA: JKL, ICAO: LGKY) is an airport on the island of Kalymnos in Greece. The airport is located a few kilometers from Pothaia (or Pothia), the capital of Kalymnos. It is also known as Kalymnos National Airport.


Kinaros (Greek: Κίναρος; Latin: Cinarus or Cinara; Italian: Zinari), is a small Greek island in the Aegean Sea, named after the artichoke (kinara) which it produced. It is located west of Kalymnos and Leros and east of Amorgos, 5.5 nautical miles west-southwest of Levitha. It is the second westernmost island of the Dodecanese after Astypalea. Has an area of 4.5 km. The island's highest point is 296m. The population of the island according to 2011 census is 2 inhabitants. It was noted by several ancient authors including Pliny the Elder, Pomponius Mela, and Athenaeus.


Leipsoi (Greek: Λειψοί, also: Lipsi; anciently, Lepsia, Ancient Greek: Λέψια) is an island south of Samos and to the north of Leros in Greece. It is well serviced with ferries passing between Patmos and Leros and on the main route for ferries from Piraeus. Leipsoi is a small group of islets at the northern part of the Dodecanese near to Patmos island and Leros. The larger Leipsi-Arkoi archipelago consists of some 37 islands and islets of which only three are larger than 1 square kilometre (247 acres): Leipsoi (15.95 square kilometres (6.16 sq mi)), Arkoi (6.7 square kilometres (2.59 sq mi), part of Patmos municipality) and Agreloussa (1.32 square kilometres (0.51 sq mi), part of Patmos municipality). Only Leipsoi, Arkoi and Marathos are inhabited. Leipsoi is a municipality, part of the Kalymnos regional unit, which is part of the South Aegean region. The municipality has an area of 17.350 square kilometres (6.699 sq mi). In ancient times, it contained a town named Lepsia.


Leros (Greek: Λέρος) is a Greek island and municipality in the Dodecanese in the southern Aegean Sea. It lies 317 kilometres (197 miles) (171 nautical miles) from Athens's port of Piraeus, from which it can be reached by an 8.5-hour ferry ride (or by a 45-minute flight from Athens). Leros is part of the Kalymnos regional unit. The island has been also called in Italian: Lero.


Levitha (Greek: Λέβιθα, known in classical antiquity as Lebinthus or Lebinthos (Ancient Greek: Λέβινθος) is a small Greek island located in the east of the Aegean Sea, between Kinaros and Kalymnos, part of the Dodecanese islands. It is part of the municipality Leros. The island is mentioned in two of Ovid's works Ars Amatoria and the Metamorphoses in connection with the saga of Daedalus and Icarus. While escaping from Crete, Daedalus and Icarus flew over Lebinthus. Besides Ovid, the island is noted by the ancient authors Pliny the Elder, Pomponius Mela, Strabo, and Stephanus of Byzantium.As of 2009, the population of the island is five - a family with two children and her grandmother. The total area of the island is 9.2 square kilometres (4 sq mi) and its total coast line length is 34 kilometres (21 miles).

MV Anonity

Anonity was an 890 GRT coastal tanker which was built in 1945 for the Ministry of War Transport (MoWT) as Empire Campden. She was sold in 1947 and renamed Anonity. In 1966, she was sold and renamed Petrola II. A further sale in 1969 saw her renamed Kalymnos. She ran aground in April 1970 and was scrapped the following month.


Patmos (Greek: Πάτμος, pronounced [ˈpatmos]) is a small Greek island in the Aegean Sea. It is the location of the vision given to the disciple John in the Book of Revelation in the New Testament, and where the book was written.

One of the northernmost islands of the Dodecanese complex, it has a population of 2,998 and an area of 34.05 km2 (13.15 sq mi). The highest point is Profitis Ilias, 269 metres (883 ft) above sea level. The municipality of Patmos, which includes the offshore islands of Arkoi (pop. 44), Marathos (pop. 5), and several uninhabited islets, has a total population of 3,047 (2011 census) and a combined land area of 45.039 square kilometres (17.390 sq mi). It is part of the Kalymnos regional unit.

Patmos' main communities are Chora (the capital city), and Skala, the only commercial port. Other settlements are Grikou and Kampos. The churches and communities on Patmos are of the Eastern Orthodox tradition. The mayor of Patmos is Gregory Stoikos.


Pserimos (Greek: Ψέριμος Δωδεκανήσου) is a small Greek island in the Dodecanese chain, lying between Kalymnos and Kos in front of the coast of Turkey. It is part of the municipality of Kálymnos, and reported a population of 80 inhabitants at the 2011 census.The main industry is tourism, with Greek and other European holidaymakers attracted by its remote location. There are several beaches and a number of taverns, some of which offer accommodation.

Pserimos is served by a daily ferry from Pothia, on the island of Kalymnos, and is a destination on the itinerary of a number of cruise boats in the area.

Sponge diving

Sponge diving is the oldest known form of the original art of underwater diving. Its purpose is to retrieve natural sponges for human use.


Telendos, (Greek: Τέλενδος) is a Greek island in the southeastern Aegean Sea, belonging to the Dodecanese. It is approximately 1 km (0.6 mi) off the coast of the larger island of Kalymnos, of which it is administratively a part.

The island is approximately semi-circular in shape, consisting of a single, steep, flat-top mountain whose sides plunge directly into the sea. The only flat land is at the southern tip of the island, which is where the only settlement is located. There are no cars on the island, and in 2001 the population stood at 54. Telendos was joined to Kalymnos, becoming separated from it in the 6th century AD following a series of earthquakes.


Zaforas (Greek: Ζαφοράς) is a small Greek island in the southern part of the Dodecanese chain, about 40 kilometers (25 mi) south of the island Astypalaia.

The 12 major islands
Minor islands
Regional unit of Andros
Regional unit of Kalymnos
Regional unit of Karpathos
Regional unit of Kea-Kythnos
Regional unit of Kos
Regional unit of Milos
Regional unit of Mykonos
Regional unit of Naxos
Regional unit of Paros
Regional unit of Rhodes
Regional unit of Syros
Regional unit of Thira
Regional unit of Tinos

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