The most distinctive feature of Anafi’s landscape is Kalamos, a large rocky peninsula, 459 meters high, at the east end of the island. Kalamos is said to be the largest monolithic mountain in the Mediterranean, after Gibraltar. On its north side there is a cave with a very large entrance, called Drakontospilo – the dragon’s cave – which can be reached only with the help of locals. The cave is the topic of local legends. One of them says that if you walk all the way inside the cave you will come out on the other side of the Kalamos mountain. Kalamos is said to be used in the ancient times (since 1000 BC) as a communication tower (fryktories) by the ancient Anafiots to send messages to boats and other islands, using fire, smoke and sound.

On the top of the mountain lies the Upper Monastery dedicated to Panagya Kalamiotissa, the Virgin of Kalamos. The legend says that a shepherd found an ikon of the Virgin on top of mount Kalamos and took it back to Chora to be hosted in the village church. For three times, the icon disappeared from the village church and reappeared in Kalamos just there where it was found for the first time. This led the Anafiots to build the Upper Monastery on the top of Kalamos, in the early 18th century, allegedly to satisfy the Virgin’s desire to remain on the mountain. However, in late 19th century a lightning hit the Upper Monastery killing people and forcing the locals to transfer the ikon of the Virgin down at the feet of Kalamos, in the Lower Monastery, the ancient site of Apollo’s temple, where it is still visible today. In September, at the eve of the Virgin’s yearly celebrations, the ikon is taken back to the Upper Monastery in a procession where it spends the night and then isbrought back to the lower monastery in time for the celebrations.

Several visitors have written about Kalamos, including Sonnini de Manoncourt, a French royal botanist, who in 1801, while looking for rare plants near the Upper Monastery, described Kalamos as very steep and frightening (“un roché très escarpé et d’un aspect effroyable”). Other 19th century visitors have mentioned the ruins of a mysterious fortress on the top of the mountain, probably of Venetian built, which is no longer visible, if ever existed.

A peculiar natural phenomenon occurs from time to time at the top of Kalamos. The sea humidity hitting the sudden steep mountain side creates a small stream of clouds that are then dissolved by the hot air, only to start the phenomenon again and again. (Piergiorgio’s notes based on several online sources and publications.)



The flora of the less attractive island of Anafi has been only little explored up to now. Published floristic data were gained by three visitors or teams only, viz. J. Renz (3.-8.6.1927), O. von Wettstein (1934), the results of both published in Rechinger (1943), and Runemark & Snogerup and Runemark & Nordenstam, respectively, who collected on Anafi in 1958, 1960 and 1964 but published no more than thirteen selected records of the rich collections kept in LD (Runemark & al. 1960, Snogerup 1968). Further floristic evidence from Anafi is mapped in the first two volumes of “Flora hellenica” (Phitos & al. 1997, 2002). Therefore the list of published vascular plant taxa for Anafi comprises only a few dozen species so far. (Biel, B., Contributions to the flora of the Aegean islands of Santorini and Anafi (Kiklades, Greece), Willdenowia 35: 87-96, 2005.)



The Planck space mission of the European Space Agency (ESA) has recently released the most accurate to date measurement of the cosmic microwave background (CMB) radiation, a trace of the Big Bang, the “beginning” of our universe.

“The CMB is a snapshot of the oldest light in our Universe, imprinted on the sky when the Universe was just 380,000 years old. It shows tiny temperature fluctuations that correspond to regions of slightly different densities, representing the seeds of all future structure: the stars and galaxies of today”, writes Enßlin, Dr. Torsten.

This snapshot of the extreme past, 380,000 years is a blink of an eye in the life of the 13,8 billion-year- old universe, has been taken by a probe some 1.5 million km further out from the Sun than the Earth. In fact, any optical telescope that stares at the space between galaxies and stars (thebackground ) only sees complete darkness. Nevertheless, a very sensitive radio telescope in the microwave region makes apparent a faint glow, the oldest light in the universe, which cannot be associated to any star or galaxy. It just exists in the space inbetween.

What the new snapshot from the Planck mission proves is that this light is basically the same no matter at which direction we look. This implies that light did not start from a specific point, a center, but from all points at the same time. This is, in fact, in complete agreement with the cosmologic theory of inflation.

At this point there are plenty of questions to be asked and answered: How does this light originate if not from somewhere in space? Is there any way to see what happened between the Big Bang and 380,000 years later, even though light had not yet existed? Does the current universe have any memory of its previous state? And is our universe unique? (Iordanis’ notes)



Suddenly I begin this very intense rush of images, thoughts and memories going through my mind –a kind of life flashing before my eyes that happens. People describe near-death experiences. As it begins I start to understand just how complex the relationship between visibility and invisibility has been throughout my life.

I remember the third grade. Early on I am told to get in line after a morning bell, girls in one line, boys in another. I walk past the girls feeling this strange, powerful gravity of association. Yet some part of me knows I have to keep walking. As soon as I look towards the other line, though, I feel a feeling of differentiation that confuses me. I don’t belong there, either. I stop between them. The nun I realize is staring at me, she’s shouting at me. I don’t know what to do. She grabs me, she’s yelling at me. I’m not trying to disobey, just trying to fit in. My silence starts to infuriate her, and she starts to hit me.

Then suddenly, most improbably –if it happened in a movie you would never believe is– suddenly there’s these screeching tires and my mom just happens to be driving by, totally true, she jumps out of her car, she hurls herself at this nun. She rips me away from her, rescues me. She warns the nun never to touch me again.

And I think I’m safe, but then she takes me home and she’s trying to understand what happened, but I have no real language to describe it. I just stare at the floor and she keeps asking me over and over what happened. And I begin feeling the same mounting frustration, the same mounting fury that I felt with the nun. She tells me to look at her but I don’t want to, because when I do I am unable to understand why she cannot see me.

Invisibility is indivisible from visibility; for the transgendered this is not simply a philosophical conundrum –it can be the difference between life and death. (Excerpts from Lana Wachowski’s Human Rights Campaign Visibility Award Acceptance Speech.)


February 2015