ΑστυπάλαιαBank of Gods, Butterfly of the Aegean, Fish-bearing.
The butterfly-shaped Astypalea lies between the Cycladic and Dodecanese island clusters and although administratively belongs to the latter, geographically and architecturally is more akin to Cyclades. The main settlement of Astypalea, the picturesque hill-top village of Chora, is crowned by an imposing 15th century Venetian castle, built on the site of the ancient acropolis. Most of its surface is barren with certain parts of fertile land. The surrounding sea is particularly rich in fish and seafood, giving the island the nickname “fish-bearing”.
The barren part of the island is covered with thyme, oregano, alisfakia (Greek sage) and several other herbs. The locally produced thyme honey is well-known for its strong and dominating aroma and nutritional value. Wild saffron grows spontaneously in the northern parts of the island and is hand-picked during Autumn. All over the island, more than 17.000 goats and sheep scamper around the rocky mountain slopes, producing large quantities of milk, used by the locals to prepare the delicious local soft cheese, chlori