Antikythira Island

Location: Chora   

Kythira Antikythira island: Antikythira is a very small island located to the southeast of Kythira and belongs to the Ionian Islands. This tiny island has a long history, although today it is declining. Antikythira has only 50 inhabitants that live permanently on the island and most of them are elderly. In summer, the village gets livelier with tourists or immigrants that come on the island, but still this number doesn't overpass 300 or 400 people.

Traces of Minoan settlements have been found on the island and generally its connection to Crete is strong all over the history of Antikythira. Since 300 B.C., the island had been continuously affected by pirate attacks, which destroyed the island many times. The island was re-inhabited in the Roman Era and, in 1204 A.D., the Venetians took over Antikythira and built a small garrison there to control the naval passage from the West to the East. The island soon became a refuge for Greek Revolutionists from Crete and the Peloponnese, who were fighting against the Ottomans.

After the fall of the Venetian democracy in 1797, Antikythira was left unattended without having a government. In 1815, it was added to English sovereignty. In 1864, along with the other Ionian Islands, Antikythira became part of Greece. During the Second World War, the island was controlled first by the Italians and then by the Germans. After the Greek Civil War and till 1964, the island received political exiles, mainly communists. In the 1960s and 1970s, most of its inhabitants moved to Australia and America in search for a better life, but still keep strong relations with their homeland.

The development of the island started in the 1980s, where electricity was installed on the island and water storages were built. At the end of the 1990s, the harbour was expanded and a small shelter for the fishing boats was constructed. The roads are paved now and a heliport serves the emerge situations of the inhabitants.

Today, Antikythira bases its economy on fishing. Tourism is not developed yet and only a few rooms to rent can be found. The most important settlement is Potamos, where you can also find a policeman and a doctor. All around the island, you will find nice, small beaches to swim, such as Xeropotamos beach, close to which there lies the ancient fortified town of Kastro and the remains of the temple of Apollo.

The most known festival on Antikythira is the name day of Agios Myronas, on August 17th, which is the patron saint of the island. This time Antikythira is at its peak and many pilgrims come. This small island can be accessed by boat from Kythira in 2 hours, Gythion in the opposite coast of Laconia in 5 hours or Kastelli, Crete in 4 hours.

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