Brief history of the island

According to mythology, Kalymnos was a son of Ouranos (Sky) and Gaia (Earth). His father flung him into the sea but he landed on his mother’s bosom and rose from sea to become a group of islands named Kalydnai (meaning good or calm waters). Kalydnai are mentioned by Homer as a participant to the Trojan War but it was not until the 4th century BC that the largest of the group became known as Kalymnos. A Neolithic settlement has been found near Vothíni and a Neolithic shrine to Zeus in the Kefala Cave on the south side of the island.

Inhabited originally by Carians, during the ancient ages. In the Middle Ages it was Byzantine, and during the 13th century it was used by Venice as a naval base. In 1310 it became a possession of the Knights of Rhodes, and later (mainly in 1457 and 1460) was often attacked by the Ottomans, which 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 until 1947, when the Dodecansese was finally united with mainland Greece.