Keros, the sacred island
The uninhabited and rocky island of Keros , at one and a half nautical mile southeast from Kouphonissi, is one of the most important archaeological sites of Cyclades. It was named Karos or Keria. It has an area of 15 sq km. Its length is 7 km, its width 5 km and its higher peak at 432 m. In antiquity the northwestern coast was unified with the islet Daskalio at a distance of 50 m. In the bay between them was located the main settlement of Keros, the most of it sank in our days.
The excavations brought to light a building with two rooms and a large cemetery where very important findings were discovered; marble figurines and pottery. The most important are two figurines, the harpist and the piper. We can see the musicians of Keros in the National Archaeological Museum of Athens.
The discoveries gave the name of Keros in the second and most important of the three periods of the famous Cycladic Civilization (3200 – 2000 B.C.); the period was named Culture of Keros and Syros because of the importance of the findings at the prehistoric cemeteries on the two islands.
Keros continued for a long time to play an important part in the life of Cyclades as a sacred island. Long after, the years of piracy, was a pirate base.
The last years those small islands became well known as most of the Cyclades islands. However, they remain little paradises of calm and natural life. In most occasions the car is not necessary. We can go almost everywhere on every island by foot and by sea taking a caique.
On the north east of Naxos, is Donoussa. South-southeast of Naxos, are the islands of Pano Koufonissi, Kato Koufonisssi, Keros, Schinoussa and Eraklia. Donoussa, Pano Koufonissi or just Kouphonissi, Schinoussa and Eraklia are inhabited.
The main feature of the islands is the beautiful beaches with golden sand and clear blue-green waters. The few little settlements keep the folk Cycladic architecture and the residents are hospitable and smiling. The fishing boats bring fresh fishes and sea-food in the taverns; there are also local dishes with meat, pastry and cheese.
The Small Eastern Cyclades are connected by boat with Piraeus and other islands. Moreover Kouphonissi is connected by a sea jet. There is also a local connection between the four islands, Naxos and Amorgos.
Only few details are known about their history except Keros. According to some archaeological findings the islands were inhabited the years of the famous Cycladic Civilization, flourished during the Early Bronze Age (3200 – 2000 BC). One of its centres was Keros, where very important findings were discovered. During the 17th and 18th century, one of the periods of piracy in the Aegean Sea, the bays of the little islands, as well as of other islands, were pirate bases.