The infamous prison island in the Aegean Sea, basically a completely barren rock, which was used as a detention centre/concentration camp
for political prisoners during Greece
's dark days of military dictatorship. Now it's abandoned and derelict.
>More background info
>What there is to see
>Access and costs
>Combinations with other dark destinations
>Combinations with non-dark destinations
More background info:
Yaros, also spelled Gyaros, Greece
, had been a place of exile and internment before, but it gained its greatest notoriety during the days of the fascist military junta between 1967 and 1974, when immediately after the coup thousands were arrested and deported here, mostly political dissidents from the leftist spectrum, removed from Greek society and exiled on this harsh barren rock by the paranoid anti-communist
regime. Conditions were harsh – the place even gained the epithet of "Mediterranean Dachau
After the prison was closed and abandoned, apparently the Greek Navy used the island as a target range (there are even rumours of depleted uranium being used here). For nearly a decade the island has been "open" to the public. But there is absolutely no tourism infrastructure.
The island is uninhabited and unmaintained – even though it's been designated a historical monument. The former prison buildings are crumbling, but going by recent pictures still in relatively good shape. But obviously, you'd have to take good care when nosing about here – there are after all no facilities here … it's a remote, uninhabited, desolate place.
What there is to see: An extremely barren island, with hardly any vegetation at all, just bare rocks – and on one rocky promontory in the south-east of the island, the huge red-brick-prison complex stands as a sole sign of former life – and at the same time as a symbol of death. ("Death Island" was yet another epithet for the place …).
The prison buildings are abandoned and after decades of dereliction are crumbling in places. But there are also still fairly intact tracts of former cells, latrines, etc. – the view of the parched courtyards is also sobering. It's an extremely grim place – esp. if you understand the historical significance of the site …
Yaros/Gyaros is part of the group of islands known as the Cyclades, Greece
, south-east of Athens. Yaros is a few miles north-west of Syros, the nearest other island of the group.
Access and costs: difficult – you'll need a boat to get there, and be able to handle it (and moor or anchor), or hire one with a skipper.
Time required: depends, but if you make the effort of getting here, then you probably want a couple of hours for a good look around. Alternatively, if you don't want to land and clamber about in derelict buildings (which obviously has its risks) then you can just make do with a view of the prison from the sea, which would only take a few minutes.
Combinations with other dark destinations:
none nearby – but see Makronisos
Combinations with non-dark destinations: