Olympos: the village where time stood still

Olympos, Karpathos. Olympos or Olymbos, is both the most traditional and the most remote settlement on the Greek island of Karpathos. The village is located in the extreme north of the island and until recently it was not accessible by car. The only connection with the outside world was Diafani harbor. A three kilometer (2 mi) paved road connects the village with the port. Diafani is the supply port for Olympos.

Thanks to years of isolation, the traditions in this village are still held in high esteem and residents often wear traditional costumes. Here, it seems as though time stood still.

Nowadays the 45 kilometer (28 mi) road, which connects Olympos with Pigadia is passable, but in poor condition. This is partly due to the rugged surroundings and the very steep and rocky mountains.

Olympos was built between the seventh and ninth century, when inhabitants of the village Vroukounta were regularly attacked by Arabs. They were forced to leave the coast and decided to settle in the interior, beyond the impassable mountains. The village was now safe from attack, but closed off from the rest of the world, resulting in little change to the village over the course of centuries. Centuries-old customs have been preserved, the traditional architectural style of the houses has remained intact and the layout and decor of the houses has been maintained. Even their own dialect has been preserved, which includes elements of Doric.

The residents of Olympos are proud of their traditions. Women in Olympos wear two types of costumes. One is the weekday costume, wearing a plain apron and a one-fold scarf around the head. For festive occasions, women wear colorful clothes and a double row of gold coins.

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