Despite being in Astypalea for a while, we couldn’t resist climbing up through the steep, winding streets of the Chora to see the castle at the top on our very first day.
The streets near the bottom were wider and less steep.
The climb was deceptive because we were twisting and turning up different streets and staircases, not really realizing how high we’d climbed until we looked down from a viewpoint. Our legs were not fooled, though, and we definitely felt it later.
As we got higher, the streets narrowed and many became staircases. We were very much reminded of our stay in the Albaicín district of Granada, Spain, a few years ago.
Some areas began to feel like walking inside an M. C. Escher drawing, with staircases and passages seeming to lead in impossible directions. But we wanted to reach the castle, so the decision was always easy: Keep going upwards.
There are not one, but four churches tucked into the Chora, either surrounding or inside the castle. I’m mostly sure this one is the Μεγάλη Παναγία (Great Virgin Mary) church.
Most of the Chora is well-maintained and conventionally pretty, but there are a few crumbling areas, which are attractive in their own way.
Eventually, we reached the top of the Chora and passed through the arches to explore the Astypalea Castro.