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LIPSI is a quaint and charming little island with a magic touch all its own.

It is not a destination for the holiday traveler that is looking for that glamorous and swinging island vacation, but for those that seek more of a flavor of what simple Greek island life is about.

Although of late there is something of a mini boom in home construction on Lipsi, mostly from the influx of northern Europeans, owing to the relaxing of property ownership rules as well as the increasing mobility of EU citizens, the island remains a haven. In more ways than the obvious. Lipsi was unexpectedly thrust into international notoriety in the summer of 2002, when it was revealed that Alexandros Yiotopoulos, known to the islanders by his alias, Michalis Economou, spent the past 16 summers on the island. That is until the Greek police swooped down in helicopters, clad in full body armor, and arrested the white-haired mathematics professor, charging him with being the leader of the November 17 Marxist terrorist group, that is responsible, among other crimes, for the assassinations of more than 30 prominent Greeks and American, British and Turkish diplomats, since 1975. Yiotopoulos was convicted in December 2003 and sentenced to multiple consecutive life terms. Lipsi was shocked by the revelations, the island was invaded by packs of reporters for a few months, and then it returned to its previous happy obscurity. The only memento from this bizarre episode is Yiotopoulos' pink stucco house, on top of the hill above the harbor, which, by the way, was a point of friction with the local authorities who demanded for years that it be painted traditional island white. In the past 4 thousand years, Lipsi's other brush with fame came at about 1,200 BC. Some scholars believe that Lipsi was the island of the beguiling muse Calypso, who seduced Odysseus into staying with her for 7 years thus delaying his return to Ithaca. A relatively small island, approximately 10 square kilometers (4 sq. miles), Lipsi enjoys a good reputation for its local wines and cheeses. Officially the property of the Monastery of Saint John, on Patmos, since the time of the Byzantine Empire, Lipsi is a popular destination for day trips and one-night excursions from the nearby islands of Patmos and Kalymnos.

Aside from its quiet beaches and crystal clear seas, the island also features the church of Agios Ioannis, in Lipsi Town, with its legendary icon. Also of interest are the Nikoforeion Ecclesiastical Museum and the local carpet factory.

 

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