From ancient times until the mid19th century, Kythira was a crossroads of merchants, sailors, and conquerors. As such, it has had a long and varied history and has been influenced by many civilizations and cultures. This is reflected in its architecture (a blend of traditional, Aegean and Venetian elements), as well as the traditions and customs, influenced by centuries of coexistence of the Greek, Venetian, and Ottoman cultures.
There are archaeological remains from the Helladic period, contemporary with the Minoans. Kythira had a Phoenician colony in the early archaic age. The archaic Greek city of Kythira was at Scandea on Avlemonas; its ruins have been excavated. Its acropolis, now Palicastro (Palaeocastron, "Old Fort"), has the temple of Aphrodite Ourania, the Goddess of love.
In classical times, Kythira was part of the territory of several larger city-states: Argos, Sparta and Athens followed by the Roman and Byzantine Empires, the Republic of Venice, Napoleon, the Turks, Russia, France and the British, finally to be ceded to Greece. Under the British, Kythira was known as Carigo or Cerigo, as was its chief town, the name it had under the Venetian Republic.
The chief town of the island, Kythira (or Chora, "village") has the Historical Archives of Kythira, the second largest in the Ionian islands, after Corfu. The largest villages of the island are Potamós, Agía Pelagía, Áno Livádi, Kálamos and Livádi. Five of the island's villages are on the coast (Platia Amos, Agia Pelagia, Diakofti, Avlemonas, & Kapsali). Nice taverns with good food based on local products and bars can be found in the most tourists places such as Agia Pelagia, Avlemonas, Diakofti but also in Chora.
Kythira’s permanent population is about 3000. During the tourist period, primarily during August, the island's population will often triple.
The port of Diakofti currently serves scheduled routes to/from Gythion, Kalamata, Antikythera, Piraeus, Crete and Neapolis - Vatika. The island's primary airport is the Kithira Island National Airport, located in the region between the village of Friligiannika and Diakofti, about 8 km from the capital.
Since the late 20th century, the Kythirean economy has largely focused on tourism which provides the majority of the island's income. Minor sources of revenue are thyme honey, famous within Greece for its rich flavor, as well as some small-scale cultivation of vegetables and fruit and animal husbandry.
The rugged terrain is a result of prevailing winds from the surrounding seas which have shaped its shores into steep rocky cliffs with deep bays. The island has many beaches, of various composition and size. Several of them organized, prized for their water quality and cleanness, others secluded and difficult to reach: Kaladi, Melidoni, Chalkos, Fyri Ammos, Palaiopolis, Avlemonas to mention but a few. Visit the caves Milopotamos, Chousti and Kalamos and the castles of Avlemonas, Paleochora, Chora, Milopotamos Do not forget to visit the Archaeological and Byzantine museums as well as the Monasteries with 13th century icons.
During July and August, several traditional dances will be held in various villages. These dances usually attract the majority of the island's population, the biggest of which are the festival of 'Panagia' in Potamos on 15 August, and the wine festival in Mitata on the first Friday and Saturday of August.
There are a lot of ways to come to Kythira. The quickest way is by plane. Domestic and international flights arrive daily at Kythira 's national airport. This is a modern airport and complies with all the international safety regulations.
The most popular way to arrive to Kythira is by boat.
The capital of Kythira is Chora, which lies south of the island on top of a rock and which fascinates visitors with its unique colours – a combination of Cycladic charm and the natural beauty that thrives all around the island.
Visitors can take a walk along the narrow streets of the city, admiring the Byzantine churches that