Peristeras Shipwreck: From the impressive discovery to the first underwater museum in Greece
It was the summer of 1985 when a professional fisherman from Alonissos, Dimitris Mavrikis, during one of his usual daily dives, found himself face to face with an unexpected miracle. Somewhere there on the western rocky coast of the uninhabited island of Peristera, in the area of Kalamaki, at a depth of about 30 meters, he saw, for the first time, the treasures that hid what later proved to be one of the most important shipwrecks of the classical times.
It was a commercial cargo ship, which was carrying more than 3000 amphorae full of wine, coming from Mendi, which was an ancient city of Halikidiki, and Perparithos, as Skopelos was called in ancient times. The sinking of the ship was placed, after careful archaeological research, between 425 and 415 BC.
When the archaeologists of the Ephorate of Marine Antiquities of the Ministry of Culture rushed to the spot, they were left, literally, with their mouths open! They had in front of them the largest Athenian commercial ship of the classical period, a strong proof of the naval superpower of Athens at that time, but also thousands of amphorae, scattered in a relatively small sea area which were in very good condition.
This exceptional condition of the wreck and the findings was the main reason that led the Ministry of Culture to the decision to turn the area into the first visitable underwater archaeological site in Greece which solemnly opened its gates on August 1, 2020 creating a new, impressive destination alternative tourism.
The operation of the underwater Museum of Alonissos gives visitors the opportunity to witness a unique experience admiring the unique underwater finds against the backdrop of the area’s enchanting seascape. Amateur divers will be able to go to the site alone or accompanied by professional divers. While those who have not been introduced to the art of diving will be able to approach the great archaeological discovery through a virtual tour application offered by the Public Information and Awareness Center that operates in Alonissos.
It is worth noting that you can visit three more shipwrecks in the area of Magnesia. These are the Enalian archaeological site at the Telegrafos cape of Nion Sourpi (a shipwreck from late Roman times). The Enalian archaeological site at Kikynthos Amaliapolis (a Byzantine-era shipwreck). The enalian archaeological site at Cape Glarou Nion / Sourpi (a Byzantine-era shipwreck and other marine antiquities).