Museums in Agios Efstratios

The Museum of Democracy is housed at the restored building of the first school of the island. It is found at the settlement of Agios Efstratios and hosts exhibits, photographs, original objects, manuscript newspapers and video projections from the political exiles’ life on the island, as well as from other places of internment.

The Museum of Democracy is the first Greek public museum dealing with a period of recent Greek history of crucial political and social importance. The site chosen for it was the island of Ai-Stratis or Agios Efstratios, because for many years – from the early 1930s to 1943 and again from 1948 to 1963 – it was a place of internment for political exiles.

What is now the museum building was originally a school – the first one on the island. In the periods when Ai-Stratis was a place of exile for political internees it was used as an infirmary. The building was so badly damaged by the 1968 earthquake that it had to be abandoned. In 2005 restoration work was put in hand by the Ministry of Culture (Department of Modern Monuments and Engineering Works, North Aegean Region). The restoration was completed in November 2007. The task of collecting the exhibits and organizing the museum was undertaken by the Ministry of Culture’s Directorate of Modern Cultural Heritage