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CONTENTS
Location
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History and culture
Sightseeing and monuments
People and lifestyle
Sports and Leisure
Gastronomy and Shopping
Cultural events
Nightlife and entertainment
Ecology
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There is constant human presence in the main islands of the Sporades since the Paleolithic period. According to Greek myths, Skyros was the island were Theseas, the hero of Athens, was assassinated by the king of this island Likomides. According to Homer the same king had been entrusted by Thetis to hide her son Achilles ? disguised as a girl ? in order to keep him away from the Trojan War, but Odysseus uncovered their deceit. A significant point in the islands history was their participation in the Athenian-led alliance of 478 BC. Later they submitted to the Romans followed by the Byzantines. From 1207 Sporades are dominated by the Venetians, who remained there up to the Turkish conquest of 1538. All the islands were all liberated in 1830, joining the Greek state.

Skiathos town, gifted with a picturesque mixture of red tile roofs, white buildings and bell towers, is a main attraction in it self. The only "sight" as such is the well-preserved home of the island?s most famous son; the 19th century poet Alexandros Papadiamantis. From the port you can pick up the daily boat tour, stopping briefly at the Blue Cave - a sea cave on the east coast, and at Kastro, site of the medieval centre of the island. Skopelos on the other hand, boasts a fair number of ancient ruins. Apparently, the island was a Cretan colony and its first king and settler was Stafylos. His grave was discovered by a cove bearing his name. It contained weapons, a gold crown and funerary offerings, among other findings, all of which are housed today in the Volos Museum. The 9th Century chapel of Agios Athanassios has been built on the ruins of an ancient temple. There are also the ruins of a Venetian fortress, the Kastro - a vantage spot for a sweeping view all round. Very interesting is the sight of the old hilltop capital of Alonissos, called Chora, which was deserted after a disastrous earthquake in 1965 left it in ruins. Most inhabitants where moved then to the modern capital of Patitiri. In this port you shall find excursion boats for a tour to the Alonissos Marine Park. The town of Skyros climbs to an impressive Venetian castle, with superb view over the island, housing as well a small archaeological museum. In the town there is also a folk museum in the form of a traditional house, decked out with examples of the island wares. Those acquainted with English literature will not omit to visit the grave of the early 20th century poet Rupert Brook, which is set in an area called the "Pirate bay", on the southern shores of Skyros.

In the serene Sporades, life still continues along its old rhythms. Tourism has brought prosperity to these islands without disturbing much the traditional lifestyle, especially in Skopelos and Allonissos, which are much less commercialised than Skiathos. In remote Skyros, the women still decorate their houses with exquisite hand-woven and knitted materials and the men pass-time is carving detailed forms on wooden furniture. This is why every Skyrian house down to the poorest, is a living museum of popular art, with beautiful hand carved furniture, embroideries, baskets and all kinds of handicrafts.