|The Greek islands||Makronisi HOME|
|The island of Makronisi or Makronisos in Greece|
Makronisos (Greek for "long island") is a Greek island in the Aegean Sea, near the coast of Attica, opposite the port of Lavrio. It is elongated in shape (13 kilometer long north to south en 500 meters wide east to west) and has a rocky bottom. In antiquity the island was called Helena, because according to legend Helena of Troy and prince Paris made a stop here on their way back to Troy. Another legend says that it was Helena and her husband Menelaos that made a stop here on their way back after the Troyan war.
Some ruins of the Neolithic era have been found on the island of Makronisos and there are two churches on the island, the Agios Georgios church and the church of the Virgin Mary, which have been built on the ruins of some ancient buildings.
The island of Makronisos belongs to the prefecture of the Cyclades, but is not part of this island group. Administratively is a part of the municipality of Kea.
Nowadays Makronisos is an uninhabited island. During the Greek Civil War and the restoration of democracy after the fall of the colonels, the island was used as a prison place for Greek communists. Those who leave on a ferry from the port of Lavrio, which is located opposite Makronisos, to go to their destination on a Greek island sail for a long time along the dry and rocky coast of the island. There are remains of buildings that can be seen, which have served as a prison.
During the Balkan Wars (1912-13), a large number of Turkish prisoners of war were transferred to Makronisos until the war ended and Greece and Turkey singed a peace treaty. During World War II Greek freedom fighters were deported to the island by the Germans. Therefore Makronisos also called the Alkatraz of Greece.
Off the coast of the Greek capital Athens at Makronisos six ancient shipwrecks have been discovered. The remains were found during two months research in the area in Makronisos and on the north coast of Thorikos (2012). The wrecks lie at a depth of forty meters. According to scientists the sunken ships are very well preserved.
The oldest ship dates from the second century BC and the youngest dates from the middle of the fourth century. On board are still well preserved amphora North Africa, Italy and Rhodes were found. These jars were mostly used to keep oil, grain or wine. According to Greek researchers the discovery shows that there was an important trade route off the coast of Athens thousands of years ago. In the past more shipwrecks have already been found in the area. The Britannic, sister ship of the Titanic, sank in the strait between Makronisos and the neighboring island of Kea in 1916.
Many people who have visited a Cycladic island like Mykonos or Santorini by plane have flown over the island and have seen it. Makronisos island is also situated opposite the port of Lavrio, which is at thirty kilometers distance from Athens, and an increasingly popular destination to begin island hopping. Here it's much quieter and more orderly than in Piraeus. From Lavrio ferries regularly go to Kythnos and Kea and less frequently to other islands such as Chios, Agios Efstratios, Syros, Limnos, Psara, Tinos, Andros, Folegandros, Mykonos, Paros, Naxos, Ios, Kimolos and Sikinos.