An unexpected event submerged it seemingly forever.
Ever since, the wreck holds its breath through time and resists oblivion. Today, the wealth of information and unique experience it offers its visitors has aroused great interest.
Off Alonnisos’ coast, close to the islet of Peristera, at a depth of about 30 meters, lies the Alonnisos Underwater Museum, which was inaugurated in 2020. It is the first of its kind in Greece and is considered so far the oldest and most important shipwreck on the planet that can be visited. This ancient treasure trove was discovered by Dimitris Mavrikis, a professional local fisherman, in 1985.
The course of a ship that went down in history
The Peristera Shipwreck is one of the largest shipwrecks of the Classical Era. It is 30 metres long and 10 metres wide and is estimated to weigh over 150 tonnes. It dates between 425-420 BC and its size ranks it among the largest merchant ships of its time. It is considered to be of outstanding archaeological importance. It carried about 3,000 wine amphorae originating from the ancient Greek city of Mende (ancient city of Halkidiki) and the island of Peparethus (the ancient name of Skopelos Island).
They were engraved with the initials LY – probably this was a way of marking the goods. The huge merchant ship seems to have fallen in a storm while sailing near the coast. Another theory is that the ship sank after a fire broke out on its deck.
How to see the wreck
Peristera shipwreck officially opened to the public as the first underwater museum in Greece in June 1st. It is open to recreational divers who -under the guidance of a certified and experienced instructor and with permission from the archaeologists- will have the opportunity to explore this awe-inspiring Classical Era vessel. Note however that, for those interested, the possession of the second Advanced Open Water Diver diploma is a prerequisite.
At the same time, the Information and Awareness Centre, located in the hillside village of Chora, offers wreck enthusiasts who do not wish to dive the Peristera wreck the possibility of a real-time virtual tour with digital 3D glasses.