The Cyclades were the focus center of Cycladic civilization that flourished in the 3rd millennium BC in Greece.
All Cycladic islands have a unique archaeological wealth which in some islands has been researched and highlighted, such as in Santorini and Delos while in others such as Sikinos and Kythnos is still in progress.
Lying to the southwest of Chora of Sikinos, the Episkopi Church is a unique monument of great archeological importance and an impressive palimpsest of Antiquity and the Middle Ages.
Τhe original building dates back to 3rd century AD and underwent many changes and repairs.
It was initially considered as a temple devoted to Pythian Apollo but the architecture and the underground vaulted crypts were reminiscent of a Roman mausoleum. The temple-shaped mausoleum was converted into an Orthodox Christian church, a common practice during Byzantine time (Pathenon and Thissio are two of the most characteristic examples).
The alterations carried out in the Middle Ages respected the ancient monument preserving almost intact its original architecture.
One of the biggest breakthroughs made in July of 2018 during the restoration works. An unplundered grave belonging to a woman, with an inscription bearing the Greek name Neiko came to light. The cist grave had been placed in a concealed spot in the monument’s basement to prevent plundering by grave looters.
As stated in the Ministry of Culture’s announcement, the rich jewels worn by the woman show she was a prominent figure in Sikinos society.
Gold bracelets were collected from the grave, as well as rings, a necklace, a buckle with an embossed cameo, along with glass and metal vases, other small finds and organic fragments of the dead woman’s dress.
Restoration works continue up today and the team of archaeologists and conservators have been working feverishly to ensure and to highlight the uniqueness of the monument and their efforts are showing.
If you want to experience the uniqueness of the monument join us in our unforgettable and amazing tours.