Despotiko island to become open museum

• Category: News

The small island of Despotiko, west of Antiparos in the Cyclades and rich in archaeological findings, will soon become an open museum. The Greek Ministry of Culture is planning to make the unihabited island of Despotiko, that combines historical interest and naural beauty, open to public just like the concept of Delos.

In the ancient times, particularly from the 7th century BC until the Roman Times, Despotiko was an important place of cult. Excavations, that have been going for 17 years now, unearthed the remains of a temple to Apollo, ancient cemeteries, ceramic vases, statues, golden jewelry, swords and other material. Inscriptions also show that Artemis and Hestia were also worshipped by the locals. All these show a large development in the antiquity. In the Medieval times, the island was conquered by the Venetians but in the 17th century, all inhabitants were killed during a pirate raid. Since then, Despotiko was never again inhabited.

According to the excavation chief Yannis Kouragios, the first stage of restoration in Despotiko is almost complete. The most important building that has been excavated is the temple of Apollo, built with Parian marble. Auxiliary facilities for priests and worshippers were found next to the temple, which has seeven columns 3.8 meters high.

Today there are day tours from Antiparos and Paros to Despotiko but visitors are allowed only to swim in the nice beaches of the island. They are not allowed to visit or get close to the archaeological site. If the island works as an open museum, visitors will have the chance to do both.