Welcome to Ios, one of the most beautiful islands in the Cyclades.
Ios is a hilly island with cliffs down to the sea on most sides, situated halfway between Naxos and Santorini. It is about 18 kilometres (11 miles) long and 10 kilometres (6 miles) wide, with an area of about 109 square kilometres (42 sq. miles). Population was 2.024 in 2011 (down from 3,500 in the 19th century).
Ios has been inhabited since the early Cycladic period, as proved by the archaeological excavations which brought to light various findings. These mark the existence of human life on the island during ancient years. The well-preserved remains of the walls of a castle and vessels, discovered at the west and north entrances of Chora, testify about the existence of a flourishing community. They also prove that the castle was inhabited since archaic period. Various findings show that the history of Ios starts from the Prehistoric times. The island was originally inhabited by Careans, Pelageans, Achaeans and Phoenicians. In 1050 BC, the Ionians settled down in Ios. Various suppositions have been made about the origin of the name Ios. The most predominant and credible of all is that the island took its name from the Ionians. A second version supports that Ios owes its name to the many violets ("ion" in ancient Greek) that bloom on the island each spring.
Inscriptions, coins and some texts from ancient historians, among which Herodotus, testify that Ios is the birthplace of the mother (Klymeni) of the Greek epic poet Homer and in fact the great poet was buried there. This belief has become a great myth and an ancient site on the island side of the island is believed to be the tomb of Homer.
Excavations on the island, on the region of Psathi, have unearthed the remains of an ancient temple. A short distance away, there is a ruined aqueduct from the Hellenistic times. Ios established a democratic political system during the Classical period, when it became a member of the Athenian Delian League. In 338 BC, Ios came under Macedonian rule until 315 BC when it regained its independence. In the 2nd century BC, Ios came under Roman authority. The Romans were using the island as a place of exile, in the same way as the other Greek islands. Many churches were built during the Byzantine period in Ios, using the columns and marbles of the ancient temples.
Byzantine and Recent history
During the years following the fall of the Byzantine Empire, Ios, like most of the Greek islands, suffered from many pirate raids and the inhabitants would hide in the fortified castle to escape from the savagery of the pirates. In 1204, the island was occupied by Crusaders and came under the authority of the Venetian family of Crispi in the 15th century. Ios became part of the Duchy of Naxos and the Crispi rebuilt a new castle on the ruins of the old one for a better protection against the fearsome pirates. That didn't stop the famous pirate Barbarossa from occupying Naxos in 1537 as well as almost all of the Greek islands.
The following years were very difficult for Ios, facing the constant attacks from the pirates and the Turkish fleet. During the Greek War of Independence against the Turkish domination, Ios took part in the Revolution, offering 24 well- equipped ships. The island finally gained its autonomy in 1829 and became a part of the Modern Greek State. The history of Ios very much resembles the historical events of the rest of the Cycladic islands.
In the Modern Greek state Ios island remained a barren island whereas its low-numbered inhabitants struggled to survive from the small sized fertile patches of land, livestock-farming and from some small-time mining. Around the 70s though the island entered into a new era since it became more and more popular as a hot tourist holiday destination amongst the young European travellers. Today Ios holds its reputation high as a holiday spot for young people who want to have fun, has great tourist infrustructure, a well organized marina and a more than well-structured road network. All those elements place Ios Island at a very promising position for this new age.
The Archaeological Museum of Ios, is housed in the Amiradakio Hall (a neoclassic building which is in a central spot of Chora). The museum comprises of antiquities from surveys, excavations and surface coatings, carried out by the Archaeological Service (21st Ephorate of Prehistoric and Classical Antiquities) from 1980 and onwards, from the Old Archaeological Collection,that was founded in 1904 with actions of, the ancient civilization admirer, mayor Frangoulis Kortesis, from deliveries and donations.
In the four exhibition rooms of the museum is displayed an equal number of themes:
In the 1st room, in the niche to the right of the ticket office, are given information about the natural environment and the history of archaeological research in Ios with the help of photographic material. The rest of the 1st room is dedicated to the strong presence of the island during the Early Cycladic era. Most of the exhibits come from the excavation of the highly conserved Early Cycladic II settlement at the Skarkos position and are pottery and small items, stone utensils, idols, bone as well as bronze objects and organic materials (carbonized seeds, animal bones and shells of shells).
In room 2 are projected developments during the Middle and Late Bronze Age. The exhibits are mainly findings from graves in the cemetery of the late Middle and early Late Bronze Age excavated in Skarkos and covers the Early Cycladic settlement.
In the rooms 3 and 4 you can see the course of Ios during the historical times. The exhibits, which come mostly from the Ancient City of Ios (Chora), include an interesting collection of inscriptions in Classical, Hellenistic and Roman times, some sculptures, in which among them two Late Archaic gravestones with excellent quality work and pottery that reaches chronologically as the 7th century AD.
The report, concerning the prehistoric times, clarifies through the rich material from the excavation of Skarkos, the economic and social structures of the Communities that developed the Cycladic "culture" in the 3rd millennium BC, at the Aegean and the factors that led then to join the palatial states of Minoan Crete and Mycenaean Greece. From the same spirit is pervaded the report of the historical times. The combination of rich epigraphic material from recent archaeological evidence allows, among other things, and the emergence of areas such as those of government, institutions, economic and Social development.
The three museum rooms activities are those of periodic reports, audiovisual media and documentation, computerization and study.
The Museum of Ios with its permanent exhibitions and events, that take place at the activities halls, aspires to operate despite its small scale as a living organism, enabling scientists to study and, at the same time,touch the wider public.
At the center of Chora, is located the house of Giannis Loukianos, decorated with mosaics. This is an interesting house - laboratory, in the place of an older one, where only the northerly wall is still preserved. In this wall, apart from several other elements of the old house-representative sample of Cycladic architecture, there were two windows with two respectively wonderful doorframes. Those were obviously works of wandering Cycladic workshops, and would have been made during the first half of the 18th century. Of those, only one is rescued, while the other are being kept at the Benaki Museum. Today on the new house there are mural and wall mosaics, while the floors are clad with works of ceramic tesserae, in the staircase that leads to the house there is a pebble.
At the place Aghia Theodoti- Katikies, is located the Atelier- Painting workshop of the renowned painter, Panos Archolekas, where from August of 2010 is possible to visit his place.
Visitors can attend the “Omiria” cultural events that take place every year, with theatrical performances, concerts, art exhibitions and other cultural events. In honor of the poet Odysseus Elytis, there is manufactured in Ios a magnificent stone theater, replicas of an ancient theater in Sicily, providing a spectacular view of Mylopotas beach. At the municipality’s website you can also find the event schedule.
There are many rural religious festivals (fests) taking place every summer in Ios and seem to have their origins in Ancient Greece. Just like in the ancient times, there is a group of people gathering the believers’ offerings, e.g. meat and it oversees the cooking and the serving of it, made in the Church yard. After the Mass, there is food for all the pilgrims, escorted by the sound of traditional Greek island music and dance.
Ios has 87 km of coastline, of which 32 kilometers is sandy beach. It is worth to mention the endless golden sands of Mylopotas, with the deep blue sea, but also with all kind of facilities (water sports, dining, lodging ). One of the best is Manganari, a beach with a spectacular sequence of five bays - golden sandy beaches and above all crystal clear water. This magic place is worth visiting, so you can relive scenes from the "The Big Blue" movie, where it was shot.
On the east of the island, we find the beach of Kalamos. Very quiet and clear waters, this beach is ideal for scuba diving. Next to the beach of Kalamos, are the isolated beaches of Papas and Plakes.
A lot of other beaches, like Kampaki, Plakotos, Petalidi, Neraki, Sapounochoma, Diamoudia, Klima, Pikri Nero, Tzamaria offer many opportunities for trips and unique experiences.
Near Ormos, through a beautiful hiking trail, you can reach the beach of Valmas and next to Chora, the beach of Kolitsani. The fun ends with the a dip in the sunset color waters beach of Koumpara.
All these beaches are only a small sample, there are many secluded beaches that can be reached by sea. Learn about sea trips made daily by boat from the port of Ios and enjoy short walks on the island, for example to Magganari beach or Pikri Nero beach.
Ios has been awarded 4 blue flags ( when in the whole 24 islands of Cyclades there are only 22 flags), so the sea lovers can safely enjoy the golden beaches and the crystal clear waters of our island. The blue flag is an international symbol of quality awarded when certain criteria, related to the quality of bathing water, environmental information, environmental management, safety, salvage, emergency services and facilities, are met.
In the more organized beaches, awaits you amazing water sports such as canoeing, windsurfing, cycling, tubes, water skiing and more. There is also a scuba diving school where you can rent the required equipment. The rich depths of the island can introduce you to the majestic beauty, waiting to be explored.
Archaeological Museum 2286091246
Police station 2286091222, 92222
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Health Center 2286360000
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