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Island's Culture

Although the history of the island begins in ancient times, the roots of the culture and traditions that have been integrated in the social structure of the island, comes mostly from the 16th century and onwards.The social features that imposed during the years of the Turkish occupation and has not ceased to exist in subsequent years, directly influenced the traditions, customs and people’s culture. The existence social classes disrupted the relationship of residents and maintained a poor as a whole, low standard of living, society. As a result, at the end of the 19th century, there were migratory tendencies toward America, Romania and Russia.
With the travels of residents and in particular of sailors of the island, Skopelos came into contact with other European cultures. The consulates in Skopelos as early as the 18th century like the Venetian, English and France, shows that at a very early stage elements of western culture had invaded the island. So, the new goods that arrived on the island was welcome and the houses slowly acquired furniture, glassware, decorative dishes and various foreign objects. It is worth pointing out that this early assimilation of European features was an exception for the wider area of Sporades.

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The specific art forms that developed in Skopelos are reflected in the architecture of the houses, the furniture, the interior decoration, the crafts, the hagiographies and local traditional songs. Features of the rare tradition of the island are the countless legends (with references to foreign conquerors, Saints, exotic creatures and pirates’ treasures), the festivals in the chapels, the stories associated with the pastoral life, the carnivals and the intense religious life of residents.

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Each person may come into contact with the rich cultural heritage of the island, visiting the Folklore Museum or the Mansion of Vakratsa in Skopelos Town and the Folklore Museum in Glossa. There, in addition to the characteristics of a genuine Skopelos-type home, collections of images, embroidery, paintings, photographs, ceramics, tools and carved wooden furniture saved. Great impression cause the traditional female dress, one of the most important Greek traditional costume, due to the rich appearance and variety of dresses, jewelries and glamorous accessories. The Maritime Museum and the Museum of Cultural Heritage are two more places that preserve important materials and which is worth visiting.

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The feeling of tradition is easily noticeable to the visitor of the island. Apart from the typical architecture of villages, the cultural image of island complemented by the numerous churches and monasteries in the countryside. Overall the temples of Skopelos exceed 150 and many are found between the white pathways of main town. The monasteries are near to 40 and is scattered throughout the lush natural surroundings, hiding impressive relics from previous centuries. The visitor can easily find the Church of the Nativity of Christ, the Church of the Virgin Mary and the Church of Panagia Faneromeni inside the Town of Skopelos. Also at the same time the visitor can easily reach the picturesque church of Panagia tou Purgou on the cliff NE of the harbor and climb up farthest edge of settlement to meet several other temples such as Agios Athanasios, arriving at the highest point of the Kastro (Castle).

Among the monasteries that caused the admiration of the visitor is the Monastery of Saint Riginos (patron saint of the island) a few kilometers outside Skopelos Town and the Monastery of Evangelistria, the Monastery Metamorfosis, the Monastery of Agia Barbara and the Monastery of Prodromos, all located on the hills opposite the main port of Skopelos. On the other side of Skopelos island, near to Glossa village there is the Monastery of Agioi Taxiarches and the famous (from the Mamma Mia film) Monastery of Agios Ioannis Castri (Saint John Castri), built on top of a huge rock beaten by the waves.

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