Area: 41.6 sq.km
Permanent population 928 inhabitants
Nisyros is located almost in the center of the Dodecanese, between Kos and Tilos. The volcano and its action formed the regular shape of the island, while the descent to the caldera offers the visitor an almost metaphysical experience. In the area of Nisyros are also the nearby islets: Gyali Agios Antonios, Strongyli, Pachia, Pernousa and Kandeleoussa (Lighthouse).
Apollodorus in his "Library" records the legend about the genesis of the island: The giant Polyvotis, chased by Poseidon, arrives at Kos. Poseidon grabs a piece of the island and throws it at him. Polyvotis is crushed for an eternity. Whenever there is a high tide, the islet of Nisyros shakes. Almost the same myth is repeated by Strabo in his "Geographika", while Nisyros is also mentioned by Homer. The contribution of the nerve fleet to the Cretan War was appreciated by the Parliament of Rhodes, which honored Admiral Gnomagora. The first inhabitants of the island were the Kares. Nisyros generally followed the fate of the rest of the Dodecanese. The "Paleokastro" became a classical citadel, the thermal water in the area of Thermiana became Roman baths and the knightly castles demonstrate the geographical value of the island in the Middle Ages. The Byzantine reverence was reflected in the Monastery of Spiliani and the Italian occupation in the command post located in the port of the island.
The island was formed by volcanic eruptions and is one of the two volcanoes in the Greek area. According to mythology, Nisyros was formed when Poseidon, who was chasing the giant Polyvotis, who was crossing the Aegean in fear to save himself, broke off a piece of Kos with his trident and threw it at him and overwhelmed him. This part of Kos is Nisyros.
In the center of the island are craters and the caldera of the volcano. The towns and villages of the island still retain their island character with whitewashed alleys and traditional houses with their colored windows.
The name of the island probably belongs to the pre-Greek Aegean toponyms. The first inhabitants of Nisyros were Cares. The Achaeans of Kos and the Rhodians (of Doric origin) followed. According to Homer, the Nisyrians were among the Greeks who fought at Troy. We also find the Nisyrians in the tax lists of the Athenian alliance. They worshiped the Delphic Apollo, as well as the Pelasgian Poseidon, whose sanctuary existed in today's Palos, where the old hot springs of the island were also located. Surviving votive columns tell us about the exceptional position held by Milechios Zeus, the goddess Tyche, Hermes etc. in the worship of the ancient inhabitants.
Editor: Fotini Anastasopoulou