Gay Life in Katernes
Katernes is situated on the north coast of Santorini, Greece. It was originally a small fishing village that grew to become the bustling harbour and tourist resort, known for its pristine beaches, friendly people, good food, and great prices. Since these popular tourist destinations were either inaccessible by road or too busy with commercial activities, the ancient sailing ship, The Katerne, began docking in Katernes bay on April first, 18 Volunteers from all parts of the world came to help the sailors build houses, sew clothes, and prepare meals. All were free to do as they pleased and no money was asked for their time and efforts.
Katernes has seen and been involved in many Greek tragedies including the story of Agamemnon, the Trojan War hero. On this day, in history, Agamemnon married princess Cassandra, daughter of King Theron who took the region of Othello as her province. Though it is uncertain when the first gay bar opened in Katernes, it was probably around 1860 when a number of gay bars started springing up in the area, and the local gay community found a new home in the newly renovated ancient church of Agamemnon, which was built by the then bishop of Katernes, rophilos, around this same time. At this time, the community may have included a few drag queens, but the community was small and discreet, keeping the lives of its members private. They often gathered together at the social centre of Katernes, which became the city’s most popular social space for gay men.
The drag queens of today, that are mostly female, usually perform at the “Bridal Station” bar in Katernes, although some may perform at other public places. For some people, the attraction of being on the opposite end of the social spectrum helps the drag queens to bring the art of drag theatre alive, and perhaps even more people to appreciate the beauty of gay sex. The old fashioned theatre that used to be a feature of many Greek and Russian theatres is still a major part of Katernes day celebrations, and may sometimes include burlesque shows to amuse the guests. Many of the old drag queens that once appeared at the “Bridal Station” bar are still alive today, working as dancers, makeup artists, and so on.
Katernes is also a hotspot for gay cruises and yacht cruises. Many of the cruise lines that head towards Greece stop in this area of Greece, and many of the sailing ships that leave from Greece stop here as well. It is not unusual for an international cruise ship to dock at the Piraeus port in Katernes, as well as a Greece based luxury liner or a small seagoing liner. Some of these cruise ships include things like a casino on board, and gay bars, saunas, and massage parlors. The gay scene in Katernes has become so popular that some of the older gay bars have closed down, and in their place are upscale cafes and restaurants.
Katernes may well be Greece’s most gay friendly city. Despite this fact, there are some areas that are not very accepting of the gay community. This is unfortunate, since the surrounding area of Piraeus is where Europe and the rest of the world converge. There are a few gay neighborhoods in Katernes, however, the ones that are the most active are Syntagma, Kavgoziotlos, and Thessaloniki. While there are no gay clubs to be found in these areas, they are better than anywhere else in Greece.
In addition to being Greece’s most gay friendly city, Katernes offers much in the way of gay nightlife. While it does not have any adult gay bars, there are plenty of gay bars that offer live music, karaoke, and a wide selection of whatever the gay traveler might want. Katernes may well be Greece’s most gay friendly city, but it is by no means the most gay friendly city on the planet. But being a gay traveler to this part of the world makes for a truly memorable and enlightening experience. So go experience it!