Nisyros is a Greek volcanic island located in the Aegean Sea. It is part of the Dodecanese group of islands, situated between the islands of Kos and Tilos. It has a round shape and covers an area of 41.6 km2 with a diameter of about 8 km. Several other islets are found in the direct vicinity of Nisyros, the largest of which is Gyali. Formed from volcano eruptions, Nisyros is a place of wild beauty. According to mythology, during the period of the Gigantomachy (war of the Giants) Poseidon (the god of the sea) plucked a rock from Kos and in anger threw it at the giant Polyvotis with the intention of killing him. This rock, which crushed the giant, became Nisyros, and the half-dead giant shakes the earth every now and then with his groans, thus awakening the volcano. Mandraki is the capital and harbour of the island, with its white houses built below the imposing rock where the Monastery of the Panagia Spiliani stands. The Castle of Spiliani dominates the harbour from a height of 150m, a memento from the Knights’ passing. The view from here is unique revealing the harbour, black volcanic rock shores and the islets of Gyali, Pergousa, Strongyli and Pachia in the background. In the Castle’s courtyard stands the Monastery of the Panagia (Virgin Mary), the patron saint of the island, on the same site where around the 4th Century B.C. the walls of the old city and remains of temples and ancient cemeteries used to exist. The buses that travel to the volcano start off from the waterfront. While travelling to the mountainous picturesque village of Nikia, we meet the impressive volcano crater in the area of Lakki. As we approach the crater the vegetation almost disappears and the scenery becomes dry and wild. The island’s centre is the semi-active caldera formed by the volcano’s eruption 24,000 years ago, covering the sides of the island with a layer of pumice stones 100 meters thick. One of the three volcano craters - with a diameter of 260m and depth of 30m – reveals itself creating a feeling of awe to all those present. The path trails down to the crater-bed where sulphur steams out of little holes from the earth, which the locals call "xefisistres" (fumaroles) thus scattering its pungent smell into the atmosphere. Any travel agency will warn you that it would be preferable to wear mountain boots or shoes with thick soles because of the high temperatures that develop at the bottom of the crater are capable of melting rubber soles.
The Nisyros Info Team