Places to visit - Castle of Chora or Great Castle
The Castle of Chora or Great Castle is located at the northeast of the settlement of Chora, on the top of a steep mountain mass, at an altitude of about 255 meters above sea level. Β Powerful walls surround the perimeter of the area of the hill, enclosing an area of about 30,000 square meters. The densely built settlement is estimated that could accommodate about 1,200-1,500 inhabitants. Human activity in the area, according to various findings from the soil surface, dates back to prehistoric times (findings of classical and roman period were also discovered in the same area).
The first fortifications were probably constructed in the 11th century and later on during the governance of Knight Fantino Quirini (1433-1453) large scale reconstruction operations were realized which gave to the fortification of the castle its current form. After the terrible earthquake of 1492/3 the Grand Magister Pierre d 'Aubusson (of the Order of the Knights of Saint John the Baptist) decided to reinforce Castle of Chora (according to the chivalric files located in Malta the castle was ready in 1495). In the early 16th century, the Grand Magister Fabrizio del Carretto, built in the middle of the eastern wall a polygonal tower (Tower G), for firearms. In the same period were built the two large public cisterns in the center of the settlement and double marble coats of arms were placed on Β three buildings (Tower G and two public cisterns) Β with that of Carretto above and those of Castellan Β Knights below.Β
Inside the Castle ten churches are found, in the interior of which wall paintings of the late 15th- early 16th century are still to be found. The houses have rectangular or irregular floor plan and they are adjacent to each other due to lack of space. The majority has small dimensions and some of them were built-in to the wall of the fortification. For the preparation of food and for heating there were fireplaces. Many houses had their own cisterns for collecting rainwater and in the center of the castle were built two particularly large public water tanks. Within the castle were two olive-presses for the production of olive-oil to cover their daily needs.
The Castle of Chora constituted the built-up center of medieval Kalymnos, until the beginning of the 18th century (in the Castle also lived the Turkish Agha of Kalymnos), when the settlement of Chora was developed.