Kalymnos’ grace still reflects the prosperity of its affluent shipping community

Kalymnos is a rocky island off the Turkish coast and a member of the twelve Greek islands of the southeastern Aegean known as the Dodecanese. Kalymnos is best known as home of the world’s finest sponge divers. The sea has always been a focal point for island life and its colorful traditions and sense of community remain almost unchanged.

The prosperity of the Kalymnian shipping community is reflected in the ornate buildings gracing the waterfront of Pothia, the main port, and many graceful mansions inland. In the first half of the 20th century Kalymnos was under Italian control, which helps account for its genteel corners. There are also reminders of the medieval era, such as the vast ruins of a castle overlooking Chora, the main inland village. The limestone cliffs on the west coast of Kalymnos are a favourite haunt of rock climbers. Off the west coast lies the strikingly-shaped islet of Telendos, a bit more upmarket than the rest of Kalymnos thanks to its seclusion and scenery.