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Skopelos

Skopelos was probably inhabited in the Neolithic period given that findings dating from this area have been discovered in Alonissos which is very close to Skopelos. 
The ancient name of the capital of the island, Peparethos was mentioned by Thucydides. 

Around 1600 BC Cretans settled the island; their leader was king Staphlylos for whom the mythology says that he was the son of Dionysus and Ariadne.

According to legend, the mythical Theseus went to Crete to kill the Minotaur (half bull, half man) for whom 7 young boys and 7 young girls from Athens had to be sacrificed every year. Because the Minotaur was in a labyrinth inside the palace of Knossos , Ariadne, King Minos's daughter, help Theseus because she fell in love with him. 
On the returning trip to Athens , Theseus left Ariadne on the island of Naxos ; the island's king was Dionysus who fell in love with the young girl and had four sons with her; among them was Staphylos and Peparithos from which the capital of Skopelos took its first name. 

On the bay where Staphylos is suppose to have disembark, precious findings of a tomb (supposed to be Staphylos' one) containing golden treasures have been excavated in 1936; the golden sceptre found there is now in the Archaeological Museum of Volos and the sword hilt in the Archaeological Museum of Athensar. Staphylos is said to have introduced wine making to the island (staphylos = grape). 

After the Mycenaean period Skopelos was taken by the Dolopians (people fro Thessaly ) who used the island as a military base for many centuries. Then the Chalcidians came and founded three colonies Panormos (today called Glossa), Selinos (today called Loutraki) and Peparithos (the actual capital of Skopelos Town ). They learned to the inhabitants of the island seafaring, trade and transportation so Skopelos became quite wealthy and enjoyed a period of prosperity. 

In the 5th century started the Persian Wars during which the island remained neutral. At the end of the wars, Peparithos (Skopelos) join the Athenian Delian League and implanted a democratic political system. 

The winners of the Peloponnesian war, the Spartians, replaced the democratic system of the island with an oligarchic policy. Then the island was successively conquest by the tyrant Alexander of Pherres, the Macedonians and the Romans who re-established a democratic political system. 
During Roman times trade re-flourished in Peparithos and wine export expanded. 

In the 2nd century AD Ptolemy the Geographer is the first one to refer to Peparithos as Skopelos, probably as a reference to the many reefs surrounding the island. 

Christianity appeared in Skopelos in the 3rd century AD and spread quickly.

During the 4th century AD an archbishop's seat was established; first one to occupy it was Reginos who became a saint and the protector and patron of the island. 

The 4th century AD was also the beginning of the 800 years of Byzantine rule from which very little historical evidence remains. 

In 1204, the Venetians occupied Skopelos as a barony. Many rulers succeeded as well as the Ghisi Family, united with the Dukedom of Naxos. island kept this new name.

In 1538 the Turk pirate Barbarossa attacked the island and slaughtered its inhabitants; some of them survived and escaped to Evia and Thessaly ; they return to their homeland much later.

Many years after this massacre, the Turkish occupation began during which the inhabitants of Skopelos (the few survivor and new settlers) were self-governed and paid a tax to the Turks. 

During 1750 the spirit of revolution spread and the first Greek partisans and guerilleros started to seek refuge in Skopelos which participated in the Revolution and became part of the liberated New Greek State in 1830.

PLACES OF INTEREST

Skopelos is full of churches and monasteries; unfortunately most of them are close during the year and unlocked only once a year for their feast day. More than 300 churches and monasteries can be seen   in Skopelos and constitute nice day excursion with lovely walks and great view. The capital alone has 123 whitewashed churches and convents that can be found among the houses, almost indistinguishable from the rest of the buildings.

THE MONASTERY OF ZOODOCHOS PIGI

This monastery is one of the many monasteries located in the capital Skopelos Town . 
It has an icon attributed to Saint Luke and a superb 18th century church called Panaghia Eleftherotria (the liberating Virgin) which has a slate roof with brightly painted ceramics on it and a fountain hided behind a huge plane tree. This church is reputed to house a miraculous icon painted by Saint Luke the Evangelist.

THE CONVENT OF AGIA VARVARA

The fortified monastery of Agia Varvara (Saint Barbara) is now abandoned but it is worth seeing for its beautiful frescoes dating from the 15th century. 
It is located outside the capital, near the monastery of Prodromos and the monastery of Metamorfosi.

 

THE MONASTERY OF EVAGELISTRIA

4 kilometres from the capital, this 18th century monastery is located in a very beautiful place and offers one of the most magnificent views on Skopelos Town and the whole bay. 
It was founded by monks from Mount Athos; it has a huge, impressive gold plated 14th century alter screen from Constantinople as well as very interesting and valuable icons.

 

THE MONASTERY OF METAMORFOSI

This 16th century monastery is called the monastery of the Transfiguration and was built near the today capital, Skopelos Town , surrounded by a clutch of pines. It has a small beautiful chapel standing in a flowered courtyard and is opened on its feast day, on the 6th of August, during which one of the biggest festivals of the island is taking place.

THE CONVENT OF AGIOS IOANNIS PRODROMOS

This convent is dedicated to Saint John the Baptist and was built during the 18th century, on the top of a hill, visible from the Monastery of Metamorphosis. It is inhabited buy a few nuns and only opened during its feast day and has fine icons dating from the 16th, 17th and 18th century.

 

THE MONASTERY OF EPISKOPI

The monastery of the Episkopi (Bishopric) is worth visiting because it is one of the few Venetian monasteries which have survived, partially, from the Ottoman invasion. It is located west of Skopelos Town .

THE MONASTERY OF AGIOS RIGINOS

Situated a few kilometres outside the capital, on the southwest, it was built in 1728. It is a Byzantine building which main church was a one-room basilica with a dome, demolished and replaced by a vast cross-shaped cathedral. 
In the western part of the monastery is the 4th century tomb of Riginos, the bishop of Skopelos, who died as a martyr in 362 AD. Behind the church are fragments of an ancient Doric temple.

THE MONASTERY OF PANAGIA LIVADIOTISA

This monastery is located 2 kilometres from the capital, Skopelos Town , and was built during the 17th century. It is housing some very interesting icons.

HE CHURCH OF PANAGHIA OR PANAGITSA

This church is located in Skopelos Town and is the most famous church of Skopelos . It is a crossed type whitewashed church with a grey stoned roof and a little white dome with little stone bell tower. This lovely church is built on a rock, reachable by little whit stone stairs, at the edge of the port. From there one can see a magnificent view of the sea and the town.

BEACHES

Stafylos ("Grape")

 

About 3 km from Skopelos Town. A wondergul beach with blue, crystal clear waters.

Limnonari

About 10 km from Skopelos Town .
One of the beast beaches on Skopelos, a sandy cove with crystal clear waters. There is one slight problem: an accumulation of white gypsum, over the years, has created a somewhat slippery surface that might cause you to fall on your behind if you are not careful.
There are taverns and a mini market on the beach.
The bus from Skopelos stops about 700 m from the beach, but it is worth the walk.

Milia ("Apple Tree")

About 10 km from Skopelos Town , near Panormos.
Από πολλούς θεωρείται η καλύτερη παραλία του νησιού. Είναι μεγάλη αμμώδης ακτή με κρυστάλλινα νερά. Τα τελευταία χρόνια στα ρηχά της παραλίας έχει δημιουργηθεί μία πλάκα η οποία γλιστράει λόγω της επαφής με την θάλασσα γι' αυτό προσέξτε ιδιαίτερα κατά την είσοδό σας.

Panormos

About 15 km from Skopelos Town .
A wonderful sandy beach that attracts a lot of families and repeat visitors. There are taverns and various shops just behind the beach.

Adrines

About 16 km from Skopelos Town just past Panormos.
A beautiful, organized beach, accessible through Adrina Hotel. The waters are crystal clear, the beach is squeaky clean and there are umbrellas and sunbeds.

Arminopetra

At Elio village, about 20 km from Skopelos Town. A beautiful and long beach, ideal for families.

 

Klima ("Vine")

At the Neo Klima area, on the road to Glossa, the second largest town of Skopelos . A quiet beach, near the country road, with sand and pebbles and crystal clear waters.

Agnondas

About 8 km from Skopelos Town , a bit before Limnonari. An artificial beach that was created in the last few years. The water is crystal clear and green. There are a tavern, a few shops, and a small marina.

Kastani

About 7 km from Skopelos Town. Perhaps the best beach on the island. An isolated, sandy beach, with green, clear waters with a beach bar, right on the beach.

Agios Giannis (" Saint John ")

About 30 km from the harbor, at Skopelos island's northeast end. A quiet beach, with a dramatic backdrop of cliffs and rocks jutting out from the sea. The little church of Saint John , on the rock, by the water, adds a splash of religious drama to this unique landscape.

Linarakia

Next to Panormos, about 10 km from Skopelos Town. A quiet and smallish sandy cove, ideal for families. There is a restaurant and some shops nearby.

Velanio

About 5 km from Skopelos Town , near Stafylos.
The water is green, like the landscaoe around the beach. There is a restaurant on the cliff above the beach, overlooking the Aegean.