A Rock inhabited by tradition
THE LADY OF RO
- 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
- 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
- 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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