In ancient times, Kythera was dedicated to Aphrodite where, according to mythology, the goddess of love first came to the island on her way to Cyprus. It used to be called Profyroussa, although sailors and locals use the name Tsirigo.
The island of Kythera from prehistoric times was associated with the myth of the birth of the Goddess Aphrodite, the most beautiful of gods and humans. The myth that Hesiod mentions in his Theogony refers to the form of the Heavenly Venus, which symbolizes pure, immaterial love, free from human passions and weaknesses. Porphyris or Porphyrousa was its name in the days of the Phoenicians, because there they caught the purple shell that was used to dye luxurious fabrics. Unseen during the years of Roman rule, deserted by pirate raids during the years when it was part of Byzantine territory, the island after the fall of Constantinople was one of the territories given to Venice.
With Marco Venier, who arrived around 1207 in Kythera, the Venetian rule begins, which lasted for about 4 centuries. The old Phoenician Porphyrousa, the "Zathea" Kythera of Hesiod, now took the name Tsirigo. In the last decades of the 12th century, the island was granted to a member of the Monemvasio family of the Eudaimonogiannis, at a time when the fortified settlement of AGIOS Dimitrios, today's Paleochora with numerous churches, probably began to be built. But its destruction by the pirate Haiderin Varvarosa in 1537, left the city desolate.
From 1797, Kythira was successively occupied by the Turks and the French, until 1814 when they joined the rest of the Ionian Islands under English rule. The British keep the island until 1864, when it was joined to Greece, along with the other Ionian Islands

Editor: Fotini Anastasopoulou