+ Cycladia Travel Guides | History



Donousa Island

Donousa Island Name
According to the Greek Mytholology the island was named after god Dionysus who was thought to have resided on the island.

Inhabitance History
Excavations in two settlements reveal that the island was inhabited since the Early Cycladic Period (3rd millennium B.C.). The findings from the excavations are mainly amphorae which date from the Geometrical Period (9th century B.C.) and are housed in the Archaeological Museum of Naxos. During the Roman Era it served as place of exile.

Settlers from Amorgos founded the village “Stavros” and the homonymous church. In the beginning of the 20th century the locals worked at the island’s mines digging out copper, iron and aluminum and up to the 50’s agriculture was basically limited to tobacco and onions. There are no springs or water resources on Donousa, except for the “spring” in Mersini village where a natural green picture is formed in high contrast with the rest of the island.

Schinousa Island

Schinousa Island Name
According to the local tradition, the island was named after a bush named “schinos” that thrives on it. There is also another version according to which the Venetian lord Schinoza gave its name to the island.

Inhabitance History
There is not much evidence from the Prehistoric Period but there are remnants found from the Hellenistic and the Roman Period instead. Being raided by pirates, the locals built the settlement on a hill for protection, a fact that eventually did not help them. The island has been abandoned many times and its last inhabitants were farmers from Amorgos.

Koufonisia (Upper & Lower) Islands

Koufonisia Islands' Names
There is a theory supporting that the island’s name derives from the ancient expression “Koufos Limin” meaning “windless port”. A second version indicates that due to the natural form of these islands with the numerous caves which give the impression of hollowness (“koufio” in Greek) were named Koufonisia.

Inhabitance History
According to the Archaeological findings the islands were inhabited since the Prehistoric Period. The excavations also brought to light findings dating back to the Early Cycladic Civilization, the Hellenistic and the Roman Era.
Koufonisia were also used as a refuge by the pirates and in 1830 they joined the newly formed Greek State. The locals are engaged to fishing while, during the last decades with the development of tourism, the Upper Koufonisi (or koufonisia) was given a remarkable boost.

Iraklia Island

Iraklia Island Name
It is also called Rakleia and Arakleia and it is known as Agios Georgios too.

Inhabitance History
Remnants of ancient settlements and tombs are found on the island, evidence of the Early Cycladic civilization (3rd millennium B.C.), as well as ruins of the temples of Goddess Luck and Zeus (4th-2nd century B.C.).
Its coves and natural formed caves served as shelter for pirates and smugglers during the Turkish Occupation.

Keros Island

Keros Island Name
Also known as Kereia and Keria.

Inhabitance History
In contrast with today’s picture, the island was a very important centre of the Cycladic civilization. Among other objects and remnants, the famous statuettes of the “Piper” and the “Harper” were discovered on Keros, which are symbols of the Cycladic Civilization now exposed at the Archaeological Museum of Athens.

The excavations held on the islet “Daskaleio” which was connected to the shore of Keros in antiquity, led to a theory that Keros was the sacred island and a Gate to Hades and not Delos, as it is commonly believed. The island was part of the Athenian League according to an Athenian tax catalogue of 425 B.C.
Being mountainous, barren and difficult to access, with the passing of years the island went abandoned and nowadays it only visited for daily excursions.

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