top of page


The name Kythira (Tsirigo) has deep roots in the history of. Homer mentioned it in his epic work, the Iliad and the goddess Aphrodite , the Goddess of Love, identified with the island and takes the name Kythereia (Akythiros called the lacking appeal for man). Other important writers of antiquity referred to the island named Kythera. Among these is Herodotus , Dionysus, and even Aristotle (who admits that the island was called Porfyrousa - due to editing purple - but in his day it was called Kythira) and Xenophon (in the Greek uses the word Kythereia earth).

Isidore (geographer A century AD) claimed a "subversive" aspect, that the island was named after Kythereia Venus and not vice versa. Indeed, the first time he spoke about the importance of p keftho and its relationship with the goddess and the island. Keftho means hide love, while those who make love on the island (in the part, ie Kythira), discovering the hidden erotic passion. The name of the island in plural maybe because of nearby Antikythera.

What is the relationship of the two names of the island Kythira and Tsirigo? After studies and research suggests that the two names have a relationship of interaction, which means that either one is identical to the other or that one creates the other.

It is interesting to mention that in Cyprus there area Kythrea Kythrea where found statues of the goddess Venus, while the common name of the region is Jerka.


The birth of Venus in Kythira, according to mythology, was the fact that it has set the future course of the island. According to the Theogony of Hesiod, Aphrodite was born in the foams of the sea of Kythera, when it fell into the cut Saturn genitals of his father Uranus. The waves swept away, according to this version of the myth, and then the goddess, which arrived in Paphos in Cyprus , where he also worshiped as the patron goddess of the island.

From Kythira reportedly has the nickname Kythereia Venus, which was worshiped in ancient times in three forms. As Urania, goddess - the patron of love and pure love, the main place of worship Kythira. As DSpace Goddess - Protector of carnal love and play with principal place of worship Cyprus. And finally, with a less familiar form, as apostrophes, goddess who ensured the moral order and protect his wife and children, who stated that he was worshiped at Thebes and elsewhere. The foundation of the very early years of the goddess temple in Kythera gave the island the Homeric characterization zathea ie Virgin.

The emergence of the goddess of the sea of Kythera is semantically an attempt of the ancients, according to experts in paleontology , to explain the emergence of the island from the sea. This is evidenced by the large number of paleontological findings, sourced marine life, extensive areas of Kythira, Mitata and Viaradika.


Kythira is located in southern Greece, between the Peloponnese and Crete , the point where the Ionian , the Aegean and the Mediterranean sea meet. Island is elongated, with a length of 29 km and a width of 18 km. Have an area 279.5 square kilometers. The length of coastline is about 90 km. At the northern end of the island is the lighthouse of reefed, built in 1857 by the British, while the port of Kapsali in the southern part of the island is a lighthouse which was built in 1853.

Kythera is mountainous with two major mountain ranges, one in the east and one west, between which there is a smooth plateau. The highest peaks of the Eastern Sierra is Koutsokefalo (324m), Mount Dighenis (474 ​​meters), Aghia Moni (348 m) and St George (321 m) and the west is Tough (432 m), the Mermigkaris (506 m), the Lookout (476 m) and St. Helena (433 m). These two mountain ranges branch off into smaller mountains, and among them are deep canyons. Rivers are near Mylopotamo in Karava and Mitata, while other areas rely on water wells. In MYLOPOTAMOU there are waterfalls and water is used to drive mills, while there is the most fertile part of the island.


The climate is temperate Mediterranean Kythera. The mean annual temperature is about + 20 ° C and average annual rainfall (over approximately 60 days), 600 tlc., Average cloudiness is 4 and the average strength of the winds about 3-4 beaufort winds prevalent in the northeastern and westerners. Many times during the Spring observed a west-southwest wind called "Provence" that sums creating low clouds and fog which required special attention of mariners. Snow is rare and the temperature below - 4 ° C.


Prehistory - Roman times

The island has been inhabited since at least the end of the sixth chilieatias BC, as evidenced vase found in the cave of Agia Sophia, and it is likely to have been inhabited since the beginning of palaiolothiki period. Cave Housti near Dhiakofti no traces of habitation from 3800 BC The settlements begin to rise during the 3rd millennium BC, when they started the influence of the Minoans in Kythera, and data shows that inhabited continuously until the end of the Mycenaean period , at the end of the 2nd millennium BC.

As findings show excavations in Castri, near Avlemona and Paleopoli made in the 1960s, considered that the castle was a Minoan colony, with Minoan houses and tombs, while the mountain of St. George, at an altitude of 350 meters found in Minoan sanctuary . In the area around the shrine found broken pottery and pieces of various types of large jars with striking décor, approximately 80 bronze statuettes, several smaller artefacts, corresponding to current offerings and stone objects, such as lamps. Also found a small vase soapstone on which was inscribed with Linear A .It's position on the sacred mountain acts as an observatory, as it can monitor the area of Akrotiri and Tainaro Atoll to Crete, and the White Mountains are visible from there on a clear day, while visibility reaches even up to Apple and Santorini . So basically controls the naval routes from west to east and north to south considered that the Minoans used Kythera as a bridge to get to the Peloponnese. In addition to the Minoans in other areas of Kythera were local cultures, which continued to exist until the palatial period, when the influence of the Minoans extended.

In the 15th century the colony have Kythira and the Phoenicians , unknown of when, who produced the island purpura . For this reason the ancient Cythera called purpura. The Herodotus reports that the Phoenicians brought to Cythera the cult of Aphrodite from establishing sanctuary for the corresponding oriental goddess of Astarte . Αlso used the colony as a trading post between the colonies. After the fall of the Minoans around 1400 BC, the island was occupied by the Mycenaeans immediately. During the 12th century BC the island is occupied by the Dorians . The Homer mentions two heroes from Kythera, the Lykophron and Amfidamantos, while stating that Paris and Helen spent their early days together in Kythera. In the Odyssey relates that after a storm at Cape Malea, the Odysseus wanders in Kythera . After the Dorian invasion , the island is occupied by the Argos and in the mid 6th century BC Spartans.

Because of their location, Kythira could act as a base against Sparta and for this reason the Spartans looked. The lips, the Spartan had said the island would cause symforon Sparta and wished you had drowned. The Dimaratos Sparta proposed to Xerxes to understand the Navy Cythera, that the Spartans to leave and Greek forces to separate, something that has not happened. The military value of the island acknowledged the Athenians. The admiral of the Athenians Tolmidis attacked and conquered Kythera and Bovine (in today's Laconia Naples) in 455 BC In 424 BC, during the Peloponnesian war , the Nikias boarded the Athenian fleet at Skandia and other army captured the capital of Kythira, although Kethereans resisted before flee. The Athenians used the island for attacks against the Spartans, but handed it back to Sparta with Nikeio peace . Xanakatelavan Kythira in 394 BC, while the Spartans regained in 387 BC It seems that the Common of Free the 2nd century BC, Kythira individualize and cut their own currency. After the fall of Laconia Cythera declining but still inhabited during the Roman period. The great earthquake of 365 AD destroys Skandia and changes the character of the coast


Department of Greece

Kythera joined by Greece on 28 May 1864 . 1903 marked the Kythira earthquake that flattens Mitata while buildings collapsed around the island. The main feature in Kythira 20th century was the intense migration, which had begun in the 18th century. In Smyrna before destroying the population Kytherian origin had reached 14,000 and was the largest of the Greek population of origin. After the destruction of Asia Minor, Kytherians migrated mainly in Greece (Athens, Thessaloniki, Aegean Islands), Egypt and then to Australia or America and very few went to Cythera.

In 1916 the island was occupied by the company of Cretan Constitution in the name of "Government of National Defence" of Eleftherios Venizelos , in Thessaloniki and on February 17, 1917, Kythira proclaimed the "Autonomous Administration Kythera".  Indeed, had declared war Germany, and after the removal of the king, the Administration was dissolved. During the Second World War, the island, which numbered 15,000 inhabitants, was occupied first by the Italians and then the Germans. The organized resistance to the river and on September 4, 1944, the Germans expelled and Kythira become the first part of Greece released.

After the war starts a very large wave of immigration that basically deserted island. The outward migration stops in the late 1970s, while from the 1950s to the 1990s takes place internal to the urban centers of Greece, particularly in Athens and Piraeus. The tourist development of the island beginning in the 1990s. On 8 January 2006 earthquake occurred 6.9 on the Richter scale with epicenter 40 km east of Kythira. The earthquake caused damage to mainly Mitata where landslide and damage in the village square.


bottom of page