Minoan Peak Sanctuary

Minoan Peak Sanctuary

In 1991, in his archaeological wanderings Adonis Kyrou pointed out the existence of countless ceramic sherds and other minoan artifacts around the church of Agios Georgios, located on “Vouno”. The archaeologist Giannis Sakellarakis, one year later, set out on an archaeological excavation with his scientific team. Soon, they discovered an untouched, hidden, Minoan shrine, the only one outside of Crete.

The island of Kythira, initially detached from the Peloponnese mainland, was from the prehistoric times and the modern times, an important part in the Aegean, due to its safe haven in Paleopoli. Through the island, people, goods and ideas passed freely. Its strategic location allowed it to oversee and control the sea lanes from the Peloponnese to Crete. It was also an important place of worship. Until the middle of the second millennium BC. it was occupied by a Minoan colony.

Offering shrines, models of architectural buildings and 84 bronze Minoan figurines, male and female, many animal-like (cattle, birds, deer, scorpions), numerous laminas, one leg-shaped, penis-shaped, drinking vases and storing vases were found. The number of the Minoan figurines has revealed that the place was an important shrine. In comparison, there are in total more 170 Minoan figurines all over the world. Many of the male and some of the female figurines have their right arm raised, honoring a senior person. This stance, the “aposkopein”, as it is called in Greek, shows us that the worshippers tried to hide from the glow of the deity in front of them. Some of the other female figurines have their arms crossed over their chests.

The findings of the Minoan Peak Sanctuary are on display in the Archaeological Museum of Kythira (Chora).

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