The island of Astypalia is situated west of Nysiros and east of Anaphi. It has an area of 97 square kms and a coastline of 110 kms with predominantly rocky ground. It is however extremely rich in coastal formations with many natural harbours, bays and numerous islets. The island itself comprises two rock masses, not particularly tall or steep, which are joined by an approximately 110 metre wide isthmus. The few mentions by writers and most of the more descriptive inscriptions prove that Astypalia was known and even famous from ancient historical times. Ancient inhabitants of the island were the "Kares" who named it "Pyrra"- Fire after its reddish coloured soil. For centuries the island belonged to the great naval empire of the Minoans.
Until the 19th century, Chora was the only settlement of the contemporary years of Astypalaia. The other settlements which exist today were created in the uncultivated spots of the island.
The biggest of these settlements are Livadi and Analypsi or Maltezana, created during the Italian years. Most of the islands life is concentrated in Chora. It is built on a peninsula which is bathed by the serene sea creating two tranquil bays called Pera Yalos which is situated on the left as we look at the open sea and Livadi which is on the right. The Venetian Castle, with its two whitewashed churches, stands proudly at the top of the peninsula proclaiming the onset of the development of the settlement.