Keros

Keros is 10km off the southeast coast of Naxos, and 3km from Koufonisia, which intervenes between Keros and Naxos. It is one of the islets off the coast of Naxos known as the Small Cyclades.

This islet, uninhabited since 1968, is of great archeological interest. It was a center of Cycladic culture around 2,500 BC. Modern artist Pablo Picasso was greatly influenced by the nearly featureless, flat-faced marble statues of Keros. A large cache of these and other statues, figurines, and other marble objects known as the Keros Hoard, was found and excavated, the most famous of which is the “Harp Player.” With its flowing, stylized, abstract lines, it looks like something freshly sculpted from Picasso's studio. It can be found at the National Archeological Museum in Athens.

A strange feature of the Keros Hoard is the number of broken figurines. Apparently they were broken off-site, and then transported to the island. The pieces were made of marble, which is unavailable on Keros. None of the pieces match each other, as far as archeologists can tell. The hypothesis is that the figurines were broken, taken to the island, and in a “ritual of renewal,” disposed of, so that new idols could be fashioned for the younger generation. This ritual of depositing broken idols went on for about 500 years, ending around 2000 BC.

Despite its small size (just 15 sq.km.), Keros's high point is a mountain 430m above sea level. Interestingly, if you observe the ridgeline of Keros from nearby Koufonisia under the light of a full moon, it looks just like the reclining figure of a pregnant woman with that same stylized Cycladic head you see in the ancient sculptures. Her head touches the head of a bearded man who is also reclining, his torso stretching away in the opposite direction of the woman's.

Keros has some really nice, white sand beaches. Boats from Naxos can be rented for day trips. A recent addition for the tourist trade in Keros is Surf Club Keros, which rents out what they call "Luxury Safari Tents" just up the hill from the beach, near a small Orthodox chapel. Surf Club Keros offers windsurfing and kitesurfing lessons, as well as wind and kitesurfing rentals. They also rent catamarans. Impressively, they also offer free Wifi. Boat service, thanks to the Surf Club, is now more frequent to Keros, although it is highly doubtful that tourist hordes will over run the place any time soon.