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||photos of Kastellorizo, Greece
|The west side of Kastellorizo harbour: the Italian-built police station and post office building.
|Kastellorizo's police station and post office was built by the Italians in 1928 as the headquarters of the carabinieri (miltiary police or gendarmerie) and radio communications centre.
The Italian occupation of the island endured (was endured!) from 1921 to 1943. Mussolini and his fascists came to power in Italy in 1922 and began an agressive foreign policy eventually aimed at creating a new Roman empire. He also wished to stamp Italian culture on subject territories such as Abyssinia (modern Ethiopia and Eritrea) and the Dodecanese islands. To this end the Italians built many government buildings in Kastellorizo including the police station, a nearby barracks, the Nea Agora indoor market, the Municipio and the Delgazione Del Governo.
Although the style of these buildings is described as Italian Colonial, undoubtedly intended to the convey power and political and cultural superiority of the new imperialist masters, the architecture was also meant to be enjoyed and admired, rather than merely oppress. Mussolini and his followers thankfully did not have the same rigid, dismal ideas about aesthetics and architecture as Hitler. Many of the Italian Colonial buildings are quite charming, sometimes light and even whimsical, influenced as the various architects were by the ideas of modern art, cinema, the Bauhaus movement and even the design of ships and radios. Unlike the Nazis they had no problems with curves and non-idealogical, non-functional decorative elements.
The Italians, incidentally, also built great roads on islands such as Rhodes, which were probably some of the best built roads in Greeces for many decades after. Unfortunately, part of the Italian Fascist agenda was to Italianize their foreign subjects and to prohibit their traditions and religious practices. This was not going to work with the Greeks who had defied occupiers such as Persians, Roman Catholic crusaders, Venetians, Genoese, Catalans and Muslim Turks for centuries.
All that said, the Italian buildings on Kastellorizo are a valuable part of the island's cultural heritage and add to the place's charms. Many of them were badly damaged or destroyed by the catastrophic fire of July 1944 which also destroyed half of the island's homes, and postwar rebuilding has only partly restored their former splendour. The police station, for example, could really do with a fresh coat of paint and a general tidy-up to counter the effect of the corrosive sea air.
Map of Kastellorizo harbour
(part of our detailed map of Kastellorizo)
1 main harbour of Megisti
2 police station, post office, municipal hotel
3 Agios Georgios church, Nikolaos Stamatiou school, travel agent
4 ferry landing, harbour police, tourist information, bank, duty free
5 coast guard, mosque, path to Lycian tomb
6 Megisti museum, path to Lycian tomb
7 Knight’s Castle, Saints Nicholas & Dimitrios, hamam, windmill
8 Horafia, Platea Panagia, churches, Santrapeia school, Despina sculpture,Taverna Mediterraneo
9 Mandraki harbour and cemetery
10 stairs to clifftop view
|Maps, photos and articles: © David John,
except where otherwise specified.
Additional photos: © Konstanze Gundudis
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