About Nisyros, Greece

Nisyros is an island in the Dodecanese group in the Aegean Sea. During the months of June – August, the island of Nisyros experiences the Meltemi Etesian wind. On the eastern and western flanks of the volcano, this is most obvious as the trees are bent facing south from the force of these winds.

The island of Nisyros has a caldera that is approximately 3 – 4 kilometers wide. It was formed during three separate volcanic stages, ranging from explosive effusive andesitic eruptions to explosive and effusive dacite and rhyolitic activity. The volcano has has four eruptions in the past and is still active, but not erupting. The last eruptive activity was a steam explosion in 1888.

Greek legend says that the island of Nisyros was formed when, during the fight of the Titans, Poseidon cut off a piece of Kos and threw it at a giant named Polybotes to keep him from escaping. This piece of Kos crushed Polybotes and became the island of Nisyros. It is also said that when the half-dead giant shakes and groans, the volcano erupts.

The first inhabitants of the island of Nisyros were the Kares, followed by the Achaeans of Kos, and then the Rhodians. This has been established through the many relics found on the island. During the 5th century BC and 4th century BC the island of Nisyros was prosperous. During the Median wars, the island would pay tribute to the Queen of Halicarnassus, Artemisia. Nisyros would join with the Athenians, but only for a brief period. The island of Nisyros was independent until 200 BC. They would then come under the jurisdiction of Rhodes. The Knights of Saint John would fortify Nisyros in 1315 AD, constructing five forts around the island. In 1821, the island would support the Greek Revolution, but wouldn’t become a part of independent Greece until 1948.

Administrative Region of Nisyros Island, Greece

South Aegean

Area of Nisyros Island, Greece

50.06 km2 (19.33 sq mi)

Population of Nisyros Island, Greece

1,008

Top Attractions in Nisyros Island, Greece

Volcanological Museum – Located in Nikia, this museum opened in 2008. It is housed in a small building close to the volcano. The museum exhibits photographs and information about the volcano of Nisyros and other active volcanoes around the world.
Volcano of Nisyros – This volcano is the youngest of the large volcanic centers in Greece. The volcano is active and one of the most visited sites on the island. The volcano is found close to the village of Nikia.
Venetian Castle – Also known as the Castle of Panagia Spiliani. The castle was built around the 14th century by the Knights of Saint John. The location of the Venetian Castle offers a wonderful view of the island.
Lies Beach – 13 km east of Mandraki. This beach is actually made up of smaller beaches, many within coves. The beach is not organized.
Church of Panagia Spiliani – Located in Mandraki. The name of the church means “Virgin Mary of the Cave.” Built around the 15th century, it houses many ecclesiastical relics.
Folklore Museum – Housed in the Town Hall in Mandraki. The museum exhibits traditional costumes, large wooden vessels, kitchen utensils, an old camera, and old typewriters. There are also pieces of weaponry from the 19th and 20th century on display as well.
Mandraki Village – One of the largest villages on the island, Mandraki is the capital and main port. You can see fortified walls of the ancient city. There is also an ancient cemetery nearby with tombs from the 7th and 6th century BC.
Pali Beach – 4 km east of Mandraki. A sandy beach with dark pebbles. This beach is family friendly, close to some taverns, and rooms to rent.

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