Skopelos (Greek: Σκόπελος) is a Greek island in the western Aegean Sea. Skopelos is one of several islands which comprise the Northern Sporades island group, which lies east of the Pelion peninsula on the mainland and north of the island of Euboea. It is part of the Thessaly region. Skopelos is also the name of the main port and the municipal center of the island. The other communities of the island are Glossa and Neo Klima (Elios). The geography of Skopelos includes two mountains over 500 m (1,640 ft); Delphi (681 m/2,234 ft) in the center of the island, and Palouki (546 m/1,791 ft) in the southeast. With an area of 96 square kilometres (37 sq mi) Skopelos is slightly larger than Mykonos (85 km2/33 sq mi) and Santorini (73 km2/28 sq mi). The nearest inhabited islands are Skiathos to the west and Alonissos to the east.
According to the legend, Skopelos was founded by Staphylos or Staphylus (Greek for grape), one of the sons of the god Dionysos and the princess Ariadne of Crete. Historically, in the Late Bronze Age the island, then known as Peparethos or Peparethus (Ancient Greek: Πεπάρηθος), was colonised by Cretans, who introduced viticulture to the island.
Perhaps because of the legend of its founding by the son of the god of wine, the island was known throughout the ancient Greek cities of the Mediterranean Sea for its wine. The play Philoctetes (first performed at the Festival of Dionysus in 409 BC) by Sophocles includes a wine merchant lost on his way to “Peparethos, rich in grapes and wine”.
Pliny the Elder, in his book “Natural History” writes: “The physician Apollodorus, in the work in which he wrote recommending King Ptolemy what wines in particular to drink — for in his time the wines of Italy were not generally known — has spoken in high terms of that of Naspercene in Pontus, next to which he places the Oretic, and then the Aeneatian, the Leucadian, the Ambraciotic, and the Peparethian, to which last he gives the preference over all the rest, though he states that it enjoyed an inferior reputation, from the fact of its not being considered fit for drinking until it had been kept six years.”
In 1936 excavations in the area of Staphylos / Velanio uncovered a royal tomb of the era of Mycenaean Greece. The island was briefly under the control of the city-state Chalcis, Euboea since at least the 8th century BC.
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