Agathonisi is the north most islet of the Dodecanese
The coast configurations of the island are quite impressive. There
are many beautiful and windless bays as are: Hohlia, St. George, Poro and Maistro
as well as their small promontories.
The surface of the islet is comprised of rocky and barren hills. Areas
appropriate for agriculture are very few indeed. The vegetation cover is poor
and bushy. The tree cover is sparse and the varieties are mainly olive, carob,
almond, fig and prickly pear.
Fresh water springs do not exist except for a few wells with brackish
water. Water for the inhabitants is collected by way of rainwater cisterns that
are filled by water carrying tankers in times of drought.
The island of Agathonisi was named Yetousa in ancient times. According
to contemporary researches today's name is the result of an etymological mistake
from the plant from which the name is derived “Agathonisi”, i.e. Island
of the Thorns.
A few ancient relics that were found on the island allow us to surmise
that Yetousa was inhabited from ancient times.
The island was probably finally inhabited permanently in the middle
of the 19th century by settlers from Patmos and Fourni. There is a witness of
there being established on the island some five or six families in the year 1895.
Today the population of the island is 112 people. After the incorporation
of the Dodecanese
rest of Greece
, the island fell
under the jurisdiction of the municipality of Patmos
of the province Kalymnos
with the name of “Agathonisi” or Gadaros-“Donkey” (because
the shape of the island resembles a donkey galloping towards the river Maiandros).
In 1953 it became a separate community and has remained so until today.
The oldest settlement is Megalo
- “Big Village” with 80 inhabitants. The village has been
built in such a way so that it is not visible from the sea, thus protecting it
from pirates. Built in the same way and for the same reason is Mikro Chorio -"Small
Village" with 15 inhabitants. The third and newest settlement is St. George with
15 inhabitants and is found in the innermost part of the bay from which its name
is derived. Both the bay and the village were named under the church of St. George
found there which also happens to be the parish church of the island. There are
also five chapels built in various places on the island.
The quiet life on the island, the calm, the hospitality of the locals,
the cleanliness of the beaches and the fresh fish which a visitor is able to enjoy,
since the cooking is done according to traditional recipes, all make Agathonisi
an ideal place for those who wish for quiet holidays away from the hustle and
bustle of the main tourist routes.
Manolis Makris, ed.
This text (extract) is cited February 2004 from the Dodekanissos
Union of Municipalities & Communities pamphlet.