Castle of Chora or Great Castle
The Castle of Chora or Great Castle or Paleochora is one of the most famous attractions in Kalymnos. It is situated in the place where ancient Pothia once resided and it is considered as the medieval capital of Kalymnos. The castle takes its final form in 1495 and it is inhabited continuously until 1812 .
Gradually, from the mid-18th century, the risks that primarily led the people into the castle (eg pirates) start to disappear, and as a consequence the population build new houses outside the castle, in Chora.
Today, the Byzantine castle retains its charm, although deserted. In order to access it you need to climb the 230 steps starting from Pothia and lead to its gate, which once had a movable wooden bridge.
Inside the castle, apart from several houses, also two large water tanks, a stone mill pond, part of the stone roller crushing of olives and 10 well-preserved churches stand out. Outside the castle, in the middle of the eastern wall, you can see a complex of cannon towers which was used as a means of defense.
Pera Castle or Castle of Chrisocheria
Midway between Chora and Pothia you will find the Pera Castle or Castle of Chrisocheria, which is one of the most famous sights in the island. Situated at a strategic point, on the top of a natural hill, this castle helped Kalymnians to easily monitor Chora and Pothia.
The castle was constructed during the Knights' dominion. In fact, the residents were forced to build a new castle which would be used as a residence for the governor of Kalymnos, Kos, Leros and Nisyros islands, in order to protect themselves from the increasing pirate raids.
Inside the castle, its few buildings are maintened in good condition: a mineral and built food store, and two churches, the newest one of St. George and the oldest one of Virgin Mary.
The castle was finally abandoned in the late 15th century. Due to its small size, the Kalymnians were not fully protected against the incessant attacks of the Turks. Moreover, the Great Castle in Chora, which was delivered in 1495, covered these needs rendering thus useless the Castle of Chrisocheria.
Near the castle, you can also see the three stonebuilt windmills, which are the "trademark" of Kalymnos. As they are built on a hill, the windmills are visible from the port of Pothia.
The natural division of the Kastelli hill into two different levels was wonderfully exploited by the Kalymnians, who built a Byzantine fortress in this beautiful area in order to control the sea passage between Kalymnos and Telendos. The strategically positioned fortress was being in use until the 10th century AD, and until then it provided the Kalymnians with the ability to react directly in potential threats and defend themselves against attacks that came from land or sea.
The entrance to Kastelli was and is carried out through gates that exist in the outer wall, while the water supply was being ensured by water tanks.