Islands within an Island: A Glimpse into the Klides Group

Islands within an Island: The Klides Group

Nestled off the coast of Cyprus, the Klides Islands offer a unique glimpse into the region’s history and natural beauty. This archipelago of six islets, located opposite Cape Andreas on the Karpaz peninsula, is a fascinating destination for explorers and nature enthusiasts alike.

The largest island, Dinareto, bears the same name as the ancient Cape Andreas, preserving a historical link to the region’s past. While the waters surrounding the Klides Islands are deep, the proximity to the cape creates a navigational challenge, prompting ships to avoid passing between them. This maritime hazard has resulted in a remarkable discovery: a 1969 survey revealed eight shipwrecks and fifty-six anchors of varying types near the cape and islands, offering a glimpse into centuries of maritime activity.

During the British colonial period, a 20-meter high lighthouse was constructed on the largest island, further emphasizing its strategic importance. Despite their barren and uninhabited nature, the Klides Islands play a vital role in the local ecosystem. They serve as a nesting ground for various seagull species, including Audouin’s gull (Larus audouinii) and the herring gull (Larus argentatus), and even attract Mediterranean seals to their shores.

The historical significance of the Klides Islands is evident in their mention by ancient authors such as Strabo, Agathemerus of Alexandria, Claudius Ptolemy, and Pliny. The name “Klides,” meaning “keys,” is linked to the maritime route to Salamis, the ancient capital of Cyprus, underscoring the islands’ strategic importance in facilitating trade and communication. Indeed, Herodotus himself referred to Cape Andreas as the “Keys of Cyprus,” highlighting its pivotal role in controlling access to the island.

Comprising six islands, three of which are more akin to sea rocks than islets, the Klides Islands offer a diverse landscape for exploration. From the rugged cliffs and rocky shores to the sheltered coves and sandy beaches, each island boasts its own unique charm. Visitors can enjoy hiking, birdwatching, swimming, and snorkeling, immersing themselves in the pristine beauty of the Mediterranean Sea.

As a hidden gem of Cyprus, the Klides Islands beckon those seeking an escape from the ordinary. With their rich history, captivating natural beauty, and unique ecological importance, these islands are a treasure waiting to be discovered.

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