SKOPELOS



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Skopelos - history and legend

History and legend

The discovery of a substantial Bronze Age shaft-grave on the promontory at Stafilos in 1936 provided clear evidence of Cretan colonisation on the island in the late 17th century bc. Dubbed locally the ‘tomb of King Staphylos’, because of the rich grave gifts which were unearthed in it, the find gave tendentious credence to the legend that the island’s first notable ruler was Staphylos, the son of Ariadne. As to whether he was her son by the hero Theseus or by the god Dionysos the sources are characteristically ambiguous, as Plutarch points out (Theseus, 21). His brother was Peparethos, the name which the city and island of Skopelos bore all through Antiquity. Since ‘stafili’ is the ancient Greek for a ‘grape bunch’, and the name Peparethos could be seen as cognate with the verb ‘pepainein’, ‘to ripen’, we may simply be looking at the mythical explanation of the island’s importance and fame throughout ancient times as a producer of a highly prized wine—the ‘Πεπαρήθιος οίνος’ which was exported to points all around the Euxine (Black) Sea, as the presence of the island’s amphorae there show. In historical times, much of the island’s history is identical with Skiathos: the city of Peparethos (modern Skopelos Chora) was founded in the 7th century bc, by colonists from Chalcis in Euboea, along with two other cities on the island—Panormos and Selinous (modern-day Loutraki). Some remains of the acropolis walls of all three cities are still visible. Skopelos joined the Delian League, paying the substantial annual tribute of 3 talents, indicative of its relative prosperity and trading strength, based on the export of its wine. In 427 bc earthquakes and tidal waves damaged the city of Peparethos according to Thucydides (III, 89). After the Battle of Chaeronea in 338 bc, the is land passed under Macedonian rule: it was freed by Rome in 197 bc, but was later gifted by Mark Anthony after the Battle of Philippi in 42 bc to Athens in acknowledgement of the city’s support.

   Christianity came to the island most notably in the person of the bishop-saint, Reginos, who was martyred for his faith under Julian the Apostate in 362 or 363 ad. In the 6th century the island’s name first emerges as ‘Schepola’ in Byzantine chronicles. Together with Skiathos, Skopelos belonged to the Byzantine theme of Macedonia. In 1204, after the Fourth Crusade, it came under the possession of the Ghisi family. In 1276 they were driven out by the Byzantine fleet. After the fall of Constantinople in 1453 the inhabitants sought the protection of the Venetian Republic, which governed Skopelos until it was captured for the Turks by Khaireddin Barbarossa in 1538, who—as was his generally his custom—left the island devastated and de populated. Under Turkish control, however, the islanders possessed a number of privileges and freedoms. During the 1820s Skopelos accepted refugees from Thessaly and Macedonia, and in the 1920s, from Asia Minor. The island became part of the new Greek state in 1830.


Skopelos Island is part of the Sporades Island Group, Greece.


access

Skopelos Island, the Sporades.

By boat: Skopelos has no airport; access is by ferry (4–5 hrs) and hydrofoil (approx. 2 hrs) from the port of Volos, from which there are several daily services both to Glóssa at the northwestern tip of the island and to the main port of Skopelos, There are also less frequent connections to the mainland, closer to Athens, from Aghios Konstantinos (5 times a week; same journey times as from Volos), and from Kymi on Euboea (2 times a week).
Skopelos is only 70 minutes by ferry or 45 minutes by hydrofoil from Skiathos, which is served by daily flights from Athens: if a good connection is made, this can be the fastest way to Skopelos from the capital. The island lies on the route between Skiathos and Alonnisos, and nearly all of the services which call at Skopelos also communicate with these islands.

Skopelos Travel Guide

eating

Skopelos Island, the Sporades.

The most thoughtful and creative taverna on Skopleos is Agnanti at Glóssa, mixing traditional Greek dishes with new ideas, in a setting with delightful views. Simpler homemade dishes, fresh wine and island-fare can be found at the taverna Terpsis, just outside Stafilos on the road to Chora. The taverna is family run and has a shady garden for eating outside; it specializes mostly in vegetable mezédes and meat dishes.

Skopelos Travel Guide

lodging

Skopelos Island, the Sporades.

Approximately 500m east of the port of Skopelos along the shore, is the Hotel Prince Stafilos, set back in the peace of its own gardens, this is the most luxurious and tasteful of the island’s hotels in the higher price range (T. 24240 22775 & 22744, fax 22825, www.prince-stafilos.gr); alternatively, very central and economical lodgings can be found on the front opposite the port, at the Hotel Adonis, but there is the possibility of restaurant noise at night (T. 24240 22231, fax 23239).
Simple accommodations, a fine view over the town, and very welcoming family hospitality are offered at the Thea Home Studios, at the top of the peripheral road, west of the port (T. 24240 22859, fax 23556).
Alternatively, for peace and a beautiful setting right on the beach, Limnonari Studios are ideal and welcoming (T. 24240 23854, fax 22242, e- mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ). Also not far from the shore on the west coast of the island, there is the Pánormos Beach Hotel at Pánormos, 12km from Skopelos Chora (T. 24240 22711, fax 23366, www.Pánormosbeach-hotel.gr).

Skopelos Travel Guide

museums

Skopelos Island, the Sporades.

 

Folklore Museum

Skopelos Travel Guide

practical info

Skopelos Island, the Sporades.

370 03 Skopelos: area 95sq. km; perimeter 102km; resident population 4706; max. altitude 681 m. Port Authorities: T. 24240 22180 (Chora) & T. 33033 (Glóssa). Tourist information: Thalpos Holidays, T. 24240 29036, fax 23057, www.skopelos.gr

Skopelos Travel Guide

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