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Cyclades Islands | Schinoussa

Lesser Cyclades General Intro

The now deserted Keros Island was once one of the centers of the second of the three waves of prehistoric civilizations, the Cycladic one (in three waves also, from 3000 to 1100 B.C.).

This title might imply that this small group of islands offers “less,” when in fact sometimes less can be more, depending on what you’re looking for.  A famous Collection of Poems, by Nobel Prize winner Odysseas Elytes, have the same name.  These poems inspired Mikis Theodorakis to create his Circle of Songs under the same name.  The seven songs of "Mikres Kyklades" sing of sun, sea, and love, the beauty of nature and the strength of simple life.  Elytis' language is wonderful, and in their simple intensity the melodies of Theodorakis became quickly famous.  Everyone in Greece knows "Marina" or "The Little North Wind."  They remained as fresh as in the evening of their creation on 23 December 1963 in the tavern "Symposio," where they were sung by Dora Giannakopoulou, accompanied on the guitar by Notis Mavroudis. (You can see a photo of the album to the right).  Of course, all this took place much earlier than the “discovery” of these idyllic islands by international tourism.

We should also mention the now deserted Keros Island, once one of the centers of the second wave of prehistoric civilizations, the Cycladic one (in three waves also, from 3000 to 1100 B.C.).  Many of the most important and beautiful Cycladic Little Idols (mainly, though not exclusively, small marble statuettes) were found on Keros.  The magnificent sculptures of the Harpist of Keros (left) and the Piper also show the artist’s effort to achieve a third dimension.  Of course, pottery was also flourishing; Keros artists introduced the use of a primitive glaze and developed the potter's wheel and the art of coloring their creations.

These four little islands lie not far from the larger Naxos and Amorgos; they have ferry service from both of the larger islands, as well as from Piraeus, though you might just find only one ferry a day servicing the major four islands of the chain, Iraklia, Schinoussa, Koufonissia, and Donoussa.  Koufonissia are also serviced by caique boat connection from Naxos. Local motorboats also connect the four islands to each other.