A Rock inhabited by tradition

  • The island or rather the "rock" of Ro (Saint George), has always been a place where the few residents of Kastellorizo, whose occupation was the breeding of cattle, have pastured their animals. From the beginning of 20th Century, and every four years, Ro has been auctioned together with the neighboring Stroggyli by the municipality of Kastelorizo, also called Megisti.
  • In 1927, a heroic lady, Despina Achladiotes, decided to reside permanently on the island. Her husband followed her. Since then the "Lady of Ro" has became a legend. It is said that after her death, in 1982, she haunted the South East Aegean. But the island of Ro (Saint George), which never ceased to be a place of pasture, did not remain uninhabited for long.
  • In 1993, a physiotherapist from Athens left behind the comforts of the capital and settled in Ro. "History is written by tradition. And this tradition is what I want to continue.", he said. His name was Klimes Navrides
  • Klimes found only ruins and a Hellenic flag on the island. It seems that the flag gave him the courage and he did not loose his smile. The living, or rather the surviving conditions in such a place, are extremely difficult. One year after settling there and with the assistance of the Greek Navy he rebuilt some of the ruins. He also acquired an inflatable boat which enabled him to get supplies from Kastellorizo. Once a month the State gives him a barrel of fuel for his needs. He gets water from a well. Electricity exists. The radio, the television and his thoughts keep him company. Only recently a telephone was installed. Klimes, does not complain. Besides, his decision was a conscious choice. "I have had enough of Athens and the big cities. I wouldn't say I missed too much". Now middle aged, Klimes Navrides (in his middle fifties) keeps tradition alive and tradition needs this little rock of Ro to be inhabited and alive.
  • In 1927, Kostas and Despina Achladiotes settled in Ro. They lived together till 1940, when her husband Kostas became seriously ill. In order to ask for help from Kastelloriso, Despina lit a fire. But Kostas didn't survive for long and he died in the boat while being transported to the doctor.
  • During the 2nd World War Despina remained in Ro. She refused to abandon the island even when Germans bombarded Kastellorizo and its inhabitants were forced to emigrate. This brave-hearted woman, the so called 'Lady of Ro' had been raising the Greek flag on her island every morning for forty years.
  • In August 1975, taking advantage of Despina's few days absence from Ro, the Turks raised their flag. They also raised a Turkish flag on Stroggyli. On Monday , 1st September 1975, the Greek Military vessel "G. PEZOPOULOS' arrived at Kastellorizo and raised the Greek flag again.
  • Since September 1975 Despina Achladiotes has received extended publicity. Honors have been paid to the woman of loneliness and resistance. Despina Achladiotes was honored by the Athens Academy, the Municipality of Rhodes, the Ministry of National Defence, the National Bank Of Greece, her compatriots and many others.
  • She died in Rhodes in 1982 and she was buried in her beloved Ro.

Ro is situated 3 miles north of Kastelloriso, and 73 milles southeast of Rhodes. It has a surface of 1.460 square meters and a coastal length of 8,682 meters.

On the island there is a chapel dedicated to Saint George, two small houses and a rain water well. The island belongs to the municipality of Kastelloriso (also called Megisti.)

by Kate Mandakou
Copyright: Hellenic Electronic Center
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