Skopelos has been marked by constant changes that led to a set of traditions and cultural elements that will make you fall in love with it. Its history is of great interest, from its first inhabitants to the present day.
The Ancient Peparethos or Peparethus
The ancient name of Skopelos was Peparethos and, historically, its first inhabitants were Cretans from the ancient town of Knossos. It was named after Peparethos, brother of the Cretan leader Staphylus (Greek for grape). According to mythology, Staphylus was son of Dionysus, the god of the grape harvest and wine, and Ariadne, the daughter of the king of Crete, Minos. At the height of the Cretominoan era, Skopelos had close relations with the Cycladic islands, the North Aegean islands and Asia Minor, as well as Argolis, the center of the Mycenean civilization.
Peparethos had important ancient cities, such as Knossos, Panormos and Selinus. A large part of the ancient castle in Panormos is still preserved, while Knossos is now known as Glossa and it is the second-largest settlement on the island of Skopelos. In 1936, professor N. Platon discovered a magnificent tomb at the end of a small peninsula between the beaches of Velanio and Staphylos. The tomb was filled with artifacts and it is thought to belong to the king Staphylus.
The most important find was a sword, named the Sword of Staphylus, which is considered an important artwork from the Minoan and Mycenaean periods. The most convincing indication of the identity of the tomb is the name of the area that has remained the same for millennia. Today the sword is exhibited in the Archaeological Museum of Athens.
The great victory of the athlete Agnontas at the Olympic Games
Several athletes from Peparethos participated in the Olympic Games. One of them was Agnontas who won the Olympic Games in 569 BC. In his honor, his name was given to the bay that according to the tradition, he disembarked after his victorious return. The place still bears the same name today.
The “Peparethian Wine”, an aphrodisiac drink
Skopelos did not experience much prosperity for several centuries until its famous wine became known for its aphrodisiac properties, as well as its unique taste. Peparethian wine was a dark dry wine. It was made from black grape juice and fermented in barrels for seven years. The Peparethians, who were skilled sailors, transported the wine with their own ships to Athens, Corinth and the ports of Pontus. In his tragedy ‘Philoctetes’ (5th century BC), Sophocles mentions Skopelos as “εύβοτρην Πεπάρηθο”, i.e. Peparethos of the good grapes.
The great importance of wine for Skopelos is attested by ancient coins, minted between 510 BC and 14 AD, which depict bunches of grapes, vine branches, as well as the god Dionysus. Extensive facilities of local amphorae workshops for the famous wine trade were located in Stafylos, Agnontas and Panormos.
According to the historian Thucydides, a great earthquake hit Skopelos in 427 BC, causing a tidal wave that resulted in the destruction of several buildings.
Legends, rich tradition, as well as historical and artistic monuments confirm a wonderful cultural heritage that makes Skopelos island a unique destination in Greece.