Till few months ago, this small Cycladic island was a pasture land for sheep from Paros and Antiparos. However, the excavations that presently take place in the uninhabited island of Despotiko have revealed a large sanctuary that attracted pilgrims from the entire Aegean and the Mediterranean Sea.
Until present, archaeologists have found more than 40 parts of archaic sculptures, mostly statues of Kouros (male statues). These statues were once decorating ancient temples but later they were used to build recent-day constructions on the island. The sanctuary of Despotiko was devoted to god Apollo, like many other sanctuaries in Cyclades. In fact, 22 sanctuaries in Cyclades were devoted to Apollo, including the sacred island of Delos.
Apart from the temple of Apollo, 11 more buildings have been excavated in Despotiko and in surrounding islets that were part of Despotiko in the ancient times. About 600 items, most of which date from the archaic period (7th-6th century B.C.), were found inside a room of the temple, including ceramic vases from Paros, ceramic vases from Corinth and Ionia, clay female statues, metal objects of daily use, many Egyptian items, glass beads from Syria and Mesopotamia, golden pieces and disks. These findings from all over the Mediterranean show that this sanctuary was visited by many tribes.
The sanctuary of Despotiko was established by the people of Paros, which was a very rich island in the ancient times due to its quarries with high-quality marble. Today, archaeologists suggest that Despotiko is transformed into an open archaeological park, after the excavations and reconstruction works are finished. This will be a great benefit for cultural tourism and for the local societies of Paros and Antiparos.