Boats across to Despotiko need to be arranged with the owner of the taverna which stands just above the jetty at Aghios Giorgios. The sanctuary remains are some of the most remarkable in the Cyclades, and well worth the trouble involved in getting to see them. The site, undisturbed by any later building, on an uninhabited island, between the sea and the hills behind, is wild and beautiful: and what is coming to light is of remarkable quality. It is not impossible that in prehistory Despotiko was joined to Antiparos via the islet of Tsimindiri (or Kimitiri) in the channel between. Certainly as recently as the 6th century BC, Tsimindiri and Despotiko were joined by an isthmus. Confirmation of this has come from the excavations, in which an altar inscribed ‘ΗΕΣΤΙΑΣ ΙΣΘΜΙΑΣ' or ‘To Hestia of the Isthmus' has come to light, suggesting that the two islands were linked by a spit of land. Strabo and Pliny both refer to Despotiko as Prepesinthos; but neither mentions a sanctuary on the island.
Several Early Cycladic cemeteries were found on Despotiko when Christos Tsoundas, the pioneer of early Greek archaeology, excavated here in 1898. On the islet of Tsimindiri (Kimitiri), foundations of large buildings are visible, and both Hellenistic and Roman burials have been located near the shore; while on the island of Strongyli, to the southwest of Despotiko, a ruined Byzantine church on the rocks directly above the shore is built with ancient columns and architectural elements in Parian marble. These islands may seem havens of tranquillity today, but their history is marked by the turbulent activity of the pirates who used them as bases for their operations from antiquity until well into the 19th century.
Info: McGilchrist's Greek Islands
(From McGilchrist’s Greek Islands, © Nigel McGilchrist 2010, excerpted with his gracious permission. Click for the books)