Karpathos in pictures


Karpathos, in the Dodecanese group of islands, lies between Rhodes and Crete. It has remained largely unspoiled due to its remoteness and the fact that, until recently, it did not have an international airport. The village of Olympos, where most of these photos were taken, was not connected to the south of the island by asphalt road when I visited the island in 1988 and still wasn't connected ten years later. Most tourists visit the village on day trips from the capital and life in Olympos continues as it has done for hundreds of years.

Olympos may originally have been the place where villagers from Vurgunda and Tristomo in the north fled from pirate attacks. The village would originally have not been visible from the sea. The people of northern Karpathos are different from those in the south and their dialect retains many words and expressions from the Doric age (3000 years ago).

The traditional everyday costume worn by the women consists of a white, calf-length cotton shirt (i pukamissa) with long sleeves, embroidered at the cuffs and button band. Over this is worn a shorter, blue or grey coat-like top (to kavadi). It is open all down the front and has slits in the sides. The hem and cuffs of these wide sleeves are also embroidered. A wide fabric belt (i zoni) holds up a flowery apron (i podia). Married women wear a black headscarf, the young girls a white one. Leather boots (ta stivania), made to measure in the village, protect their legs against thorn bushes and boulders. Under the skirts, the women wear white, three-quarter length bloomers (i vraka) and when working in the fields they hitch up their skirts and work in their bloomers.
Information taken from "Karpathos" by Yvonne von Bolzano.

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Ian Swindale,

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