Antiparos is an island paradise of the Cyclades, where kitesurfing campers, nudists, and Tom Hanks alike mingle in the same taverns and after parties, as the night fades into dawn, with this deep inner sense of satisfaction.
Antiparos is a small island of the Cyclades, in central Aegean Sea, less than one nautical mile from Paros, separated by the Strait of Antiparos, known as Amfigeio. It is only 8 km (5.0 m) from the port of Parikia from which the passenger ferry runs. Saliagos island is the most ancient settlement in the Cyclades, and Despotiko, an uninhabited island in the southwest of Antiparos, is a place of great archaeological importance.
Antiparos is a volcanic rock and dry climate with high moisture, and morphology favors the development of strong winds. Antiparos occupies an area of 45.182 square km, including the islands of Antiparos and Despotiko. The maximum length of the island is 11 kilometres (6.8 miles) from north to south, while the maximum width reaches 4.5 kilometres (2.8 miles).The morphology of Antiparos is mostly flat, with some small peaks, while the vegetation of the island is low. The highest peak, St. Elias, in the middle of the island, is at 308 m. The island of Antiparos is surrounded by several small uninhabited islands, some with great historical and archaeological interest, such as Tsimintiri, the Double, Revmatonisi, the Red and Black Tourlos. Particularly well known in the international community is Despotiko, an uninhabited island west of Antiparos, where in recent years excavations of great archaeological importance have been carried out.
Antiparos, Cyclades, Greece.
Antiparos is known for its white houses, cobbled streets and the flowers, mainly bougainvillea, that thrive in the gardens of the houses and shops. Most people work in shops, restaurants and accommodation on the island during the tourist season, and the rest of the time undertake technical and manual jobs.
Since the 1970s, Antiparos has become a popular holiday destination, and is known for the nudist free camps, attracted by the remote and sandy beaches. The far end of the town beach is also nudist, as is the Perigiali beach. There are several beaches within walking distance from the main town of Antiparos. To the south you will find Psaralyki 1 and Psaralyki 2 and Panagia, while west of the town is Sifneiko, perfect for watching the sunset. North of the town is Camping Beach, with sandy shallow turquise waters, and optional clothing. The most protected from the winds beach is Apantima, organized with water sports and complete with a beach bar. The beach of Glyfa is ideal for windsurfing, while Soros is the largest and most popular beach on the island. The island's economy is also helped by agriculture, animal husbandry, and fishing.
The Cave of Antiparos.
The Cave of Antiparos is a major tourist attraction. Used as a natural shelter from the Neolithic period onwards, and for the worship of the goddess Artemis, while from later times, at the entrance to the site is the church of Agios Ioannis Spiliotis. Signs and scratches on the stalactites and stalagmites attest to the passers, including an inscription by some generals of Alexander the Great, one by the lyric poet Archilochus of Paros, Lord Byron and the first King of the modern state of Greece, Othon.
The cave is very extensive, and 85-meter deep. It contains the oldest stalagmite in Europe. During the German occupation, part of the cave was destroyed. The cave was renovated extensively in the second half of the 20th century, using funds from the EU, by erecting barriers, building adequate steps, installing lighting, security cameras and a public address system for visitors.
The Venetian Castle of Antiparos is a typical example of the fortified settlements established in the Cyclades during the period of the Latins in 13th-16th century. Its construction dates to the mid-15th century when the Venetian Giovanni Loredano decided to marry Mary Sommaripa of Antiparos. The original version had a ‘motte’ (mound) at the centre and houses round the perimeter. The houses were built as one continuous block construction, the outer walls providing both the defensive wall of the fortified settlement. The only entrance was at the south wing. Inside the main settlement the houses developed as three-storey structures, each having a separate entrance which leads to an external staircase. In the course of the settlement was extended outside the south wing to form a rectangular ring called "Xopyrga" and within the original enclosure around the base of the circular tower.
In modern times, the original architectural style of the castle was altered, with the church of Christ being inserted as a religious element, while the central mound was used as a water tank tower. Today, the houses retain a certain level of their original features, despite the collapse of the upper floors, and any intervention required permission from the archaeological department. Today most homes are developed in one with two floors and have a maximum ground-like trapdoor. Many now face outwards and have become shops facing onto the main street. An integral part of the castle of Antiparos are the small bats that come with dusk and fly around the tower to the east.
There are extensive Neolithic ruins on the island. In 1889 excavation in Despotiko, revealed Cycladic cemeteries. In 1964 a Neolithic settlement was excavated on the island of Saliagos by the British School at Athens. Stone foundations of buildings, obsidian arrowheads and pottery were found, including a marble figurine known as the Fat lady of Saliagos. Classical findings are concentrated on the island of Despotiko. The Isle of Antiparos was identified as the ancient Prepesintho, according to the extant writings of Strabo and Pliny. In 1959 excavations began at Zoumparia and Mantra, on the northeast coast, where there were Doric order temples dating to 500 BC. In 1997, new excavations began at Mantra, bringing to light some of the ancillary buildings of a sanctuary. The temple itself has not yet been discovered, though a number of architectural elements from an early Doric temple have been found built into later walls. The main finding so far has been a long building, consisting of five consecutive rooms. In the southern room archaic materials of Eastern Aegean, Rhodian, Cypriot and Egyptian origin have been discovered. Many marble sculptures were found, including two archaic kouros heads, a naked male statue, part of the Archaic period perirrantiriou inscribed with the inscription "Marda anethiken". Among the significant findings include the built-square marble altar dedicated to Hestia Isthmus of classical times and which is testimony to one of the deities worshiped in the Cyclades.