Cultural Postcards + [Southern Europe]

Heritage: Despotiko island soon to become open museum
The small island of Despotiko, west of Antiparos in the Cyclades, will soon be an open museum, rich with archaeological findings.

Despotiko island soon to become open museum
Ruins of Despotiko [Credit: Greek Ministry of Culture]

The Ministry of Culture is planning to make Despotiko an archaeological site that will be open to the public, combining the natural beauty with the archaeological findings. The marble ancient temple of Apollo will be the focal point. The way Despotiko will operate will be like the open museum of Delos, near Mykonos.

Excavation chief Yiannis Kouragios, archaelogist for the Ephorate of Antiquities of Cyclades, spoke to the press saying that the first stage of restoration is almost complete.

Excavations in Despotiko have been going on for 17 years. The archaeological findings show that the ancient temple was built by the people of nearby Paros island. They also show that the navy of Miltiadis had attacked the island and later on, the island was burned by avenging pirates.

Inscribed shells show that the ancient islanders worshipped Apollo, Artemis and goddess Hestia. In ancient times, the island was called Prepesinthos and the reasons the people of Paros chose to build their temples there were political and financial and had to do with the rivalry between Naxos and Paros over the rule of that part of the Aegean Sea.

The most lavish building of the island is the temple of Apollo. Built with Paros marble, it was famous throughout all of Greece. The facade of the temple has seven columns 3.8 meters high and along with the gable it is estimated that it was six meters long. Next to the temple there are auxiliary facilities for the priests and worshippers.

Author: Philip Chrysopoulos | Source: Greek Museum [November 03, 2014]