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The mystery of "Sendoukia" on Skopelos Island

This ancient site is located on top of the second highest peak of the island of Skopelos in the Aegean Islands. There are many different scenarios and theories as to what they may exactly be and what purpose they served. Until today there is no official academic and or archaeological explanation of what exactly they are. What is certain is that they date back to at least 5 B.C (ancient Christian era) and it is the oldest reference for the island that you will come across. You will find three tombs, completely rock-cut into the bed-rock - more likely granite rock. The largest tomb measures 6.5 feet by 3.5 feet and about 2.5 feet deep – while the others are similar. They are all positioned in a quite small area and there is another rectangular depression of the same size, but only an inch or so deep - a tomb which was started but never completed. They are positioned near the top of the hill what you will see as the end of the walk, with excellent panoramic views to the south of the island and to the neighbouring island of Alonissos. All tombs have an East-West orientation, and especially their eastern orientation strongly supports their Christian origin.

Each of the three complete tombs has a huge megalithic covering stone, set over it at an angle - so that there is room to step down into the tomb if you so wish to do so.

One of the most amazing and enigmatic qualities of these tombs (I’m sure you will agree with me when you see the site), is the enormous effort that was put to chisel away the tombs and flatten the lower surface of the lids. There are also well-made grooves and ridges on the matching edges of tomb and lid, which must have fitted perfectly when they were in use.

As mentioned before, there are a few scenarios in regards to this site and its precise usage. The most popular one is that of the site being a secret burial site for mythical treasures from the times where the island of Skopelos was being pretty much under siege of pirates and specifically the most fearsome of them all: the Algerian “Barbarossa”. Where this theory gets exciting, is when apparently the pirates hid into these tombs their chests of treasures, and according to the older generations of locals (my grandfather and my grandmothers), there is a 5th tomb, hidden somewhere around the area so secretly, that anyone who manages to discover it and open it will unearth one of the biggest treasures discovered in modern history. The local myth also said that if you were the “chosen” one to discover this 5th tomb, you would dream of its precise location the night before, but you could not speak to anyone about it (not even your family), or else the treasure, would turn into coal. You then had to immediately go and unearth this mythical treasure. I still remember to this day being terrified as a kid that I would dream of this treasure and would have to go by myself in the middle of the night to uncover it.

Many visitors have actually been seen going to the site with metal detectors and try hard to detect the mythical treasure.

The second of the most notable scenarios, and one that I am a strong believer of, is that the site was used for some kind of “Initiation” to ancient rituals, and that its tombs where the “Initiation Chambers”. This seems true considering the location of the site (the second highest peak of the island 580 m), its panoramic views (on a clear day it feels like you can touch the sky), and finally, the size and length of the tombs, people were significantly shorter that what we are today.

Written by Andonis Radistis - Owner of Property 96240 in Skopelos, Greece


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