Pasteli Celebration in Chora

On 18th of August we have the “sweet” Pastelli Celebration in Chora

Pasteli is a famous sweet made of sesame seeds and honey. The Amorgian version wants it softer and “reinforced” with a small dose of cumin.

In a large pot honey is warmed with a little bit of sugar. When it start boiling they add the sesame seeds stirring continuously and continue to cook while stirring to mix completely and thoroughly. When the seeds are fully mixed in and the mixture has boiled again, they remove the mixture from the heat pour it on a wooden table rubbed with red wine.

Using wooden sticks it is formed in a flat rectangle, then it is sprinkled with cumin seeds.

After it is let to cool for a while, cut into diamond shaped pieces, put on lemon tree leaf and shared to the crowd.

pasteli amorgian

t is served on a lemon-tree leaf which enhances its distinctive taste. The last few years, “Simonidis”, the Cultural Asssociation of Chora organizes the “Pasteli Festival”
This festival takes place in Chora where traditional craftsmen with their assistants show the production of pastelis, which are then distributed to the visitors.

During the preparation, but also all night long, local music is played, followed by a feast with raki and dances till dawn..

History of Amorgos

Settlement began on Amorgos in the late 5th millennium BC at the hill-top of Minoa where obsidian from Milos and Late Neolithic clay vessels have been found.

The 3rd millennium BC marks the island’s first apogee, when it was an important centre of the Cydadie culture which flourished contemporaneously on Naxos and in the islands of the protected waters in between. Amorgos, with almost a dozen separate inhabited centres in this period, is the origin of many famous Cycladic figurines and of the idiosyneratie ‘Dokathismata style’. Cemeteries at Aghia Paraskevi, Aghios Pavlos, Dokathismata, Kapros, Kapsala, Nikouria and Stavros have all yielded Cydadie sculpture.

Aigiale Bronze coin 3nd-2nd century BC.

Aigiale Bronze coin 3nd-2nd century BC.

From the 2nd millennium BC, apart from evidence of a Mycenaean presence in the bay of Katapola, the island’s history becomes less dear. During the 10th century BC I0nian settlers arrived, and the three cities of historic times emerged – Aegiale, Minoa and Arkesine: first, Arkesine colonised by Naxos, then Minoa by Samos, and Aegiale by Miletus. The mid-7th century BC poet, Semonides, was allegedly amongst the colonisers from Samos.

The island appears in the Athenian tribute lists from 433 BC paying one talent (compared with Kea’s four talents, and Paros’s 18 talents). It participated in the Second Athenian League in 357 BC. The fine Hellenistic towers and constructions on the island were put up during the uncertain times when the island was first a possession of Macedonia, then of the Ptolemies, and finally of the Rhodian State from the end of the 3rd century BC.

After 133 BC, the three cities were assumed into the Roman Province of Asia. Amorgos was often a place of exile in the Roman period, though clearly not one of the most punitive: Tacitus records that Tiberius commuted the proposed confinement of the hapless Vibius Serenus on the barren island of Gyaros, into exile on Amorgos, for humanitarian reasons (Annals IV, 29).

There is evidence of scattered Early Christian communities, especially in the bay of Katapola; but the increasing frequency of pirate raids from the sea, pushed habitation into the central uplands of the island, and the site of Chora began to be enlarged and settled in the 9th century.

The arrival 0f refugee monks with the icon from Khoziba in Palestine in this period, followed by the subsequent founding of the Chozovi6tissa Monastery allegedly in 1088, was 0f considerable importance for the history 0f’ the island. Amorgos was taken by Geremia and Andrea Ghisi, on behalf of the Duchy of Naxos of Marco Sanudo, in 1207.

As was common with the less central Cycladic islands, it subsequently changed hands many times; first ruled by the Ghisi family; regained between 1269 and 1296 by the Nicaean Emperor, John Vatatzes, and used  principally as a place of exile; formally re-assigned to Venice by treaty in 1303 and governed by the Barozzi family; it was finally sold piecemeal in several stages to Giovanni Querini, Lord of Astypalaia, who possessed the island until its seizure by the Ottoman Admiral, Khaireddin Barbarossa in 1537. From 1540 it became formally a Turkish possession. A Turkish governor was installed at first, but by the 18th century the island was self-governing, paying tax to the Ottoman authorities for Jiberty of commerce and faith.

The island was always a prey to piracy, culminating in one particularly fierce attack in 1797 by pirates from the Mani. In 1835 the island became part of the new Kingdom of Greece. In the same year a devastating fire spread from Aigiali and burned the oak forests 0f Mount Kroukelos, radically altering the landscape and ecology of the northern end of the island.

Text with friendly permission from McGlichrist’s GREEK ISLANDS, No. 20 of the series about Amorgos Island.
Twenty Books, Seventy Islands, A hundred and twenty maps & plans, Three thousand four hundred pages.

Romantic Gramvousa Island

Gramvousa is one of the two deserted islands of Amorgos, located on the southernmost part of Amorgos just across from the beach of Kalotaritissa. There are two nice main beaches and several small beaches on the island, skippers also like this place, it is well protected from wind and rough sea, a good snorkeling and fishing area, a romantic place with crystal clear water – take care, there is no natural shade protection!
You should bring food an water with you.

Romantic Gramvousa Island

How to get there
You can go there by an hourly boat, it takes you 10 minutes (roundtrip 4 Euros per person, only in July and August) or rent a canoe or pedal boat at Kalotaritissa beach.

TIP: if you visit the bar at Kalotaritissa beach, we absolutely recommend to taste the homemade cheese pie – it’s one of the best on the island!

The Big Blue

Amorgos was scene to Luc Besson’s cult movie “The Big Blue” – at Liveros Bay there is still the shipwreck of Olympia, which attracted the film director. The Big Blue (French: Le Grand Bleu) is a 1988 English-language film made by French director Luc Besson. The film stars Jean-Marc Barr, Rosanna Arquette, Jean Reno and depicts a fictionalized account of the sporting rivalry between two famed free divers. You should watch this movie before you go to Amorgos or watch it therea at the Le Grand Bleu Cafe in Xilokeratidhi – Katapola.

the big blue

The film charts the competition and friendship of real-life champions Jacques Mayol (played by Barr) and Enzo Maiorca (renamed in the film to “Enzo Molinari”, and played by Reno). However the divers were not close in age in real life and did not compete. The action is divided into two timelines – the nascent rivalry between the two divers as children, and (as adults) their final competition at the world free-diving championships at the Sicilian town of Taormina. Mayol’s search for love, family, “wholeness” and the meaning of life and death is a strong undercurrent of the latter timeline.

BackgroundLe Grand Bleu was released in France on May 11 1988 and in the United States August 22 1988. It was released in the United States under the name The Big Blue. Luc Besson was initially unsure of who to cast in the main role of Jacques Mayol. He initially offered the role to Christopher Lambert and Mickey Rourke and even considered himself for the role until someone suggested Jean-Marc Barr. Besson has a cameo appearance as one of the divers in the film. Le Grand Bleu was the most financially successful French film of the 1980’s gaining 9,193,873 admissions in France alone and played in French theaters for a year. The film was also a modest Box Office hit in the States grossing $3,580,882.

News & facts, webcam pictures from the beautiful Cycladic island of Amorgos in Greece – share your Amorgos experience with others!

Scuba Diving on Amorgos

Located in the heart of the Cyclades on the remote island of Amorgos, you will find our dive centre offering you the possibility to explore the crystal clear wonders of the “Big Blue”. Amorgos scuba diving centre was established in 2007, offering you fresh new dive equipment and state – of- the air fill station ensuring the highest quality breathing air. We are both a PADI and ANDI dive centre, bringing you all levels or recognized dive education from novice to professional. We also offer a number of activities such as underwater photography, peak performance buoyancy, night diving and many more…

Scuba Diving on Amorgos

Additionally, we can also help you organize your accommodation, transfers to the island and create programs for your activities, depending on your requirements. For us, the exploration of the underwater worlds is a way of life, an opportunity to become a part of nature and interact with it, with admiration and respect. Each of our divers is the essence of our success and that of environmental preservation through education and understanding, which is why we aim to fulfill each of your desires and provide for all of your necessities.

Scuba Diving on Amorgos

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