Koufonisia - history

Human settlement has come and gone in these is lands, and our knowledge of their history is consequently patchy. Until the first excavations in the late 19th century, there was no awareness of the extraordinary human activity amongst these islands in the 3rd millennium bc, and its importance for sub sequent history. Some of the earliest lessons in the handling and shaping of marble and the managing of sea-vessels must have been learnt in these islands and their waters. It has even been suggested that the island of Keros was a central, sacred island—a sort of proto-Delos —for the area in the Early Bronze Age. The importance of these small Cycladic centres later diminishes in a new world-order, polarised in the Middle and Late Bronze Age between the cultural and commercial powerhouses first of Crete, then of Mycenaean Greece. During the Geometric period two relatively short-lived settlements on Donousa and Kato Koufonisi flourished. And then the lights virtually seem to go out. Keros, Ancient Keria, figured in Athenian tribute lists in 425 bc. Otherwise, little apart from the evidence of Hellenistic forts on Herakleia and Schinousa sheds light on these islands during the Classical and Hellenistic periods. The Romans had installations on them, but used them mostly as places of exile. A discreet Early Christian presence is evident on Schinousa, but the islands were too vulnerable to piracy and raiders for it to have had any continuity under Byzantine rule, which appears to have largely ignored the area. The archipelago became itself a base for pirates preying on the fertile shipping routes through the area. In the 18th century Schinousa and Herakleia belonged to the Chozoviotissa Monastery on Amorgos, which evidently derived supplies of timber from the former; the other islands were used as seasonal pasture by the inhabitants of Amorgos, except for Donousa which had a permanent population and paid a yearly tithe to the Sublime Porte during the period of Ottoman dominion.
   In 1832 the islands were incorporated into the Greek State together with Naxos . Donousa had a growing population at the end of the 19th and in the early 20th century working the iron-ore mines on the island, which closed in 1938 at the outbreak of war. In 1941 the islands were occupied by the Italians and finally liberated from subsequent German occupation in 1944. Electricity was only brought to the archipelago in the mid 1980s.

Koufonisia Island is part of the Lesser Cyclades group


0 #1 Juliano 2016-03-18 21:23
A very nice article about Koufonisia history. Of great interest!

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Koufonisia Island, Greece.

By boat: for such small islands as these, the ferry-services are frequent.
The main-stay of communications is the F/B Express Skopelitis (with capacity for a small number of vehicles), which leaves Katapola on Amorgos daily in the early morning, and plies the route to Naxos , via Koufonisi, Schinousa, and Herakleia, returning (3pm) down the same line from Naxos : three days a week the route also includes Donousa.
Blue Star Ferries follows the same route three times weekly, con tinuing directly to Piraeus from Naxos .
Donousa is less well-connected, with one weekly service to Piraeus (7 hrs: currently Mondays) with Blue Star Ferries, and three weekly connections to Naxos and Amorgos (Mon, Wed, Fri) with the Express Skopelitis.

Koufonisia Travel Guide


Koufonisia Island, Greece.

Lefteris has a pleasing setting, set back from the Megali Ammos;
and Kapetan Nikolas (Loutra) is good for fresh fish and seafood, and has rooms for rent above.

Koufonisia Travel Guide

further reading

Koufonisia Island, Greece.


For a sense of the variety of readings and animated academic de bate surrounding Early Cycladic figurines, see: Colin Renfrew, The Cycladic Spirit: Masterpieces from the Nicholas Goulandris Collec tion, New York, 1991; Pat Getz Gentle, Personal Styles in Early Cycladic Sculpture, University of Wisconsin Press 2001; Cyprian Broodbank, An Island Archaeology of the Early Cyclades, Cambridge Uuniversity Press, 2002.
Koufonisia Travel Guide


Koufonisia Island, Greece.

An unusual solution for lodging on Koufonisi is Villa Windmill, a restored, thatched windmill in Loutra which accommodates one family only (T. 22850 74294, or mob. 6944 527 607).
Of the many good, rental-room possibilities on the island, Anna’s Rooms (T. 22850 71061) are new, welcoming and also situated in the quieter area of Loutra.

Koufonisia Travel Guide

practical info

Koufonisia Island, Greece.

843 00
Koufonisi: area 5sq.km
perimeter 17km
resident population 376
max. altitude 114m.
Port Authority: 22850 22300 (Naxos ).
Travel and information: Prasinos Travel, T. 22850 71438, fax 74249, www.koufonisia.gr.

Koufonisia Travel Guide

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