Antikythera

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Antikythera (Greek Αντικύθηρα) is a Greek island lying on the edge of the Aegean Sea, between Crete and Peloponnese. Since the 2011 local government reform it is part of the municipality of Kythira island.[1]

Its land area is 20.43 square kilometers, and it lies 38 kilometers south-east of Kythira. It is the most distant part of the Attica region from its heart in the Athens metropolitan area. It is lozenge-shaped, 10.5 km NNW to SSE by 3.4 km ENE to WSW. It is notable for being the location of the discovery of the Antikythera mechanism and for the historical Antikythera wreck.

Its main settlement and port is Potamos (pop. 18 inhabitants in 2001 census). The only other settlements are Galaniana (pop. 17), and Charchaliana (pop. 9). Antikythera is sporadically visited by the LANE Lines ferry Vitsentzos Kornaros, on its route between Piraeus (Athens) and Kissamos-Kastelli in Crete.

History

In antiquity, the island of Antikythera was known as Aigila or Ogylos.[2]

Between the 4th and 1st centuries BC, it was used as a base by a group of Cilician pirates until their destruction by Pompey the Great. Their fort can still be seen atop a cliff to the NE of the island.

Antikythera is most famous for being the location of the discovery of the Antikythera wreck, from which the Antikythera Ephebe and Antikythera Mechanism were recovered. The Antikythera mechanism is an ancient mechanical calculator (sometimes described as the first mechanical computer) designed to calculate astronomical positions which has been dated to about 150-100 BC. Technological artifacts of similar complexity did not appear until a thousand years later. It was discovered in an ancient shipwreck off Antikythera in 1900.

Fauna

Antikythera is a very important stop-over site for migratory birds during their seasonal movements, due to its geographical position and certain features (a longitudinal island, with a north-south direction and very low human activities).[3] Furthermore the island hosts the largest breeding colony of Eleonora's Falcon (Falco eleonorae) in the world. The importance of Antikythira for studying bird migration led to the creation of Antikythera Bird Observatory (A.B.O) by the Hellenic Ornithological Society.

References

  1. Kallikratis law Greece Ministry of Interior
  2. Reger, G. "Map 57: Aegaeum Mare." In Barrington Atlas of the Greek and Roman World, edited by R. J. A. Talbert. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2000.
  3. The Importance of Antikythira

External links


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