The carriage-road from Athens to Thebes crosses the range by a picturesque defile (the pass of Dryoscephalae, "Oak-heads"), which was at one time guarded on the Attic side by a strong fortress, the ruins of which are known as Ghyphto-kastro ("Gipsy Castle").
The harbour town is Adamanta; from this there is an ascent to the plateau above the harbour, on which are situated Plaka, the chief town, and Kastro, rising on a hill above it, and other villages.
One of these, called after the name of an ancient town Apollonia, is the modern capital; Kastro is an "old-world Italian town" with medieval castle and fortifications, and an old town-hall bearing date 1365.
Inscriptions found on the spot show that Kastro stands on the site of the ancient city of Siphnos; and Mr Bent identifies the other ancient town of Minoa with the place on the coast where a Hellenic white marble tower is distinguished as the Pharos or lighthouse, and another as the tower of St John.
The chief towns are Kastro on the western coast, with a population of 4000 Greeks and Boo Turks, and Mudros on the southern coast.
Kastro possesses an excellent harbour, and is the seat of all the trade carried on with the island.
In 1476 the Venetians successfully defended Kotschinos against a Turkish siege; but in 1657 Kastro was captured by the Turks from the Venetians after a siege of sixty-three days.
Kastro was again besieged by the Russians in 1770.
There were two towns, Myrina, now Kastro, and Hephaestia.
Long by 3 broad, and contains about 700 inhabitants, most of whom live in Kastro, a village on the north coast, and are employed in agriculture and fishing.