Greece is preparing to submit an application to UNESCO to recognize the uninhabited island of Makronisos; an island where tens of thousands of political prisoners were once held, as a World Heritage Site.
According to the Greek Reporter, Makronisos; although uninhabited now, was once used as a prison island during the Greek civil war years; 1946-1949, and again by the military junta that ruled Greece between 1967 and 1973. The island is located near the southernmost tip of the Attica peninsula, facing the port of Lavrio.
The Ministry of Culture’s proclamation of Makronisos as a historical landmark was the first step in the process of rescuing a site which has been linked to a long-silenced piece of modern Greek history, the source said.
As for the second step; it is the creation of a Commission made up of various institutions, former prisoners and scientists, to prepare and submit the candidacy to UNESCO.
The Greek government believes that inducting Makronisos into UNESCO will help in “preserving the island of exile and its remaining ruins as symbols of the struggle against fascism, and of the human spirits and democracy’s triumph against oppression and dehumanization,” a press release read.
Some ruins of the Neolithic era have been found on the island of Makronisos and there are two churches on the island, the Agios Georgios church and the church of the Virgin Mary, which have been built on the ruins of some ancient buildings.
During the Balkan Wars (1912-13), a large number of Turkish prisoners of war were transferred to Makronisos until the war ended and Greece and Turkey singed a peace treaty. During World War II Greek freedom fighters were deported to the island by the Germans. Therefore Makronisos also called the Alkatraz of Greece.