On a distance of one nautical mile to the northeast of Kimolos lies the island of Polyaigos (= island with a lot of goats), or Ypolivos, or Polivos, with an area of approximately 18 km2. It is the largest uninhabited island of the Aegean and one of the largest in the Mediterranean.
There are indications that the island was inhabited from the Mesolithic or the Period. In older times it had fewer residents, mainly stockbreeders living in a small settlement that is now abandoned and in ruins. The greatest part of the island belongs to the Legacy of St. Logothetis, which rents its areas as rangelands.
There is a church built in 1622, Dormition of the Virgin, which used to belong to a now abandoned monastery and a lighthouse which became automated in the last years.
Polyaigos is rich in industrial minerals, mainly silver barite (heavy spar) which was exploited by the Silver Minerals and Barite Company Ltd.
From the ancient times to the present day the island was administratively part of Kimolos, but it seems it was always sought after due to its mineral resources. So, in 416 BC Kimolos and Milos were involved in a trial regarding the possession of the island that came to an end in 338 BC with a decision of the court of the Argives, which adjudged the island to Kimolos.
The terrain of the island is rough and has a small plain at its centre. It has great geological and ecological importance since it is considered the best preserved, environmentally speaking, Mediterranean island and hosts rare or even endangered endemic species of fauna and flora, like the Mediterranean seal Monachus monachus, the endemic adder Microvipera schweizeri (which lives only in Kimolos, Polyaigos, Milos and Sifnos), the endemic blue lizard Podarcis milensis, the falcon Falco eleonore (75% of the world population lives on the Aegean islands), ο Spizaetos (Hieraaetus fasciatus), 32 endemic, rare or even endangered species of plants and a lot of wild goats. For its significant ecological value Polyaigos has been incorporated to the network of Natura.
The wild exotic landscapes, the beautiful beaches and the amazing sea make the island an attractive and popular destination for owners of private crafts, among whom are, each year, many members of the governments of the last 15 – 20 years but also numerous foreign officials (for example Members of the European Parliament, George Bush senior etc).
Text: George A. Ventouris, Despoina Athanasiadou-Ventouri