Amorgos was originally inhabited during this 5th millennium BC. In its three ancient settlements, i.e. Aigiali, Minoa and Arkesini, both the Cycladic and the Mycenaean civilization flourished. Throughout its history, the Mylesians and the Naxians colonized Amorgos. It was also a member of the first Athenian League. It consequently became dependant on the Macedonians, the Ptolemy’s, the Samians, the Rodians and the Romans.
The island was Christianized in the 4th millenium AC. The invasions of the pirates made the inhabitants use both the castle of Chora and the “Kastri” in Kato Meria as forts.
The monastery of Virgin Mary Chosoviotissa, which was built by the emperor Alexios Komninos II in 1088, proves this presence of the Byzantine Civilization on the island. After the end of the Turkish domination, the first Greek High School was established by the monastery itself in Chora in 1829.
All year round in the most of the churches of the island, religious festivals and feasts take place and, so, the old customs are kept and pass from one generation to the other. The inhabitants of the village where a festival is going to be held, contribute to the preparation of the delicious traditional dishes, such as: “patatato”, “xydato” and “kofto”, all accompanied with local wine and bread as well as dance and local music.
The major festivals in Amorgos are the following:
Agios Theologhos, on the 8th of may and the 26th of September.
Agioi Anarghiri, on the 1st of July.
Agia Paraskevi, on the 26th of July.
Christos, on the 6th of August.
Panaghia, on the 15th of August.
Agios Ioannis, on the 29th of August.
Stavros, on the 14th of September.
Agia Sofia, on the 17th of September.
Ranaghia Chosoviotissa, on the 21th of November.
In addition, the famous “Pasteli” festival takes place each August in Chora. Very interesting to watch is also the traditional Amorgean wedding as well as the carnival custom of “Kapetanios” in Lagada.
The oblong shape of the mountainous and barren island of Amorgos lies on the eastern edge of the Cyclades, almost in the Dodecnese. In some places, the coastline is steep and rocky, while elsewhere it forms quiet, shady bays. The ruins to be found all over the island and the important archaeological finds discovered there (some of which are in the National Archaeological Museum, Athens) are testimony to the fact that Amorgos was inhabited in prehistoric times and was a place of great importance during the period of the Cycladic civilization.
At Katapola, the main harbor of the island today and the location of the interesting church of Our Lady ‘Katapoliani’ (built on the site of a temple of Apollo), traces of ancient Minoa have come to light.
Swimmers will be delighted by the superb beaches to be found in the vicinity. The whitewashed houses of the capital of the island, Chora or Amorgos, spread out beneath the Venetian castle which stand on the peak of the hill. The typical Cycladic architectural style of the double or ‘twin’ church is much in evidence here.
The Archaeological Museum has finds from all over the island and is well worth a visit. To the north-east of Chora, at the foot of a rock, is the Byzantine monastery of Our Lady ‘Hozoviotissa’, one of the most important monuments of its kind. The second port of Amorgos, Aigiali, is a pretty village famed for its superb sandy beaches and consisting of three distinct ‘quarters’.
It is easier to reach Aigiali by sea than along the poor and steep road linking it to Chora. In the south of the of the island, Arkessini stand near the site of the same name, amid a group of picturesque whitewashed hamlets. The road network of Amorgos is nearing completion, and will link up all the villages on the island. Amorgos has few hotels or rooms to rent.
Yet despite the limited facilities available for visitors, the fine beaches and particular beauty of the island attract more and more tourists each year. Amorgos has an active nightlife. It mostly consists of cozy little bars, restaurants and a dance club or two. It is concentrated in Amorgos Town and the port Karavostasi.