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Myconos


One of the most cosmopolitan of all the Greek islands, Mykonos has an international reputation and quite justifiably attracts a large number of tourists from all over the world. Amongst them many intellectuals and well-known artists prefer Mykonos for their vacation.

Next to Dilos (the financial center of ancient Greece) and 88 nautical miles from Piraeus lies the island with its beautiful white houses, narrow paths, many churches and wonderful beaches.

Gray-green rocks girt with prickly pear bushes and plains covered in wild flowers, the occasional whitewashed plaster of a rural house, a little church or a windmill are characteristic features of the Myconian countryside.

Here the high mountains encountered in most of the Cycladic islands give way to small rocky hills, which combine with beautiful beaches to make up the landscape of the island. And this balance reflects best in the words of a local businessman.

History of Mykonos

According to mythology, the petrified bodies of the giants that Hercules killed formed Mykonos. Later, the island was named after the hero Mykono.

The first inhabitants of the island were Cares, Phoenicians and Cretans but later Iones came from Athens to Mykonos in the 9th century B.C.

In the beginning, the island had two main towns: Mykonos on the west coast, where the city lies today, and Panormos on the north coast.

Right after the Persian Wars, the island was in a financial decadence, which was evident from the small contribution to the Athenian Coalition in which it belonged.

Following the fate of the rest Cyclades it came under the Spartan domination followed by the Macedonian, the Ptolemeans of Egypt, and finally the Romans. During the Mithredatian Wars the island suffered a major disaster.

The Byzantine era Mykonos belonged in the Aegean Thema and in the Middle Ages it came under Gizi brothers' domination until their death. Then it passed under Venice control until the looting from Barbarosa and directly after it was ruled from the Turks.

After that the island became a naval power and during the 19th century it was a pirate center. For a small period (1770-1774) the Russians controlled it. During the Greek revolution of 1821 the inhabitants participated actively, and Manto Mavrogenous became a national hero.

Museums - Libraries

The Archaeological Museum in the NE side of Hora contains finds from the nearby island of Rhenea, sculptures, pots and statuettes. It is very interesting to look for the big vase of clay from the Trojan war (670 BC) which was found in the city and it is one of the best samples of ancient art.

The Folk Museum, founded in 1959, at the Castle, contains collections of furniture, ceramics, pictures, post-Byzantine sculptures and traditional musical instruments.

There is also an extremely interesting Nautical Museum where you can see subjects from the naval tradition of the island. At the Public Library except books you can see a collection of coins from the Hellenistic Period founded on the island and seals of 18th and 19th century

Places to visit

The capital Hora, with its colorful harbor in which little fishing boats nest happily side by side with luxury yachts, presents quite a different picture from that of the majority of Aegean island towns.

While most villages are built in amphitheatrical fashion on a hillside, the town of Mykonos is spread out over a flat area and projects an image of indissoluble aesthetic cohesion.

The brilliant white cubic houses with their balconies and whitewashed parapets, which are built close together one on top of the other. The wonderful churches, charming little taverns and stores selling items of folk art and other goods that are all clustered in the narrow white-washed alleyways, somehow give the impression of being indoors.

In the Castro district of the town is the Church of the Panagia Paraportiani, Byzantine monument of unique architectural conception with an arched bell-tower and a single door to the side.

One of the most charming districts of Hora is Venice with the picturesque houses of the island's sea-captains, built right on the rocks and lashed on one by the sea.

At Hora you can see the Cathedral (Panachrantos), the St. Kyriaki and the St. Eleni churches. At Mykonos there are many churches (up to 700 according to the locals) with fine wood worked temples.

This number is explained by the habit of putting the dead in a special case buried in the wall or under the floor of private churches and also because the sailors of the island, before they departed for a long voyage, used to promise to build a church upon their safe return.

This picture is completed with the white windmills at the southern region of Castro where the Acropolis of the city used to be in the ancient years.

Another building worth seeing is the Town Hall, built in 1785 for the Russian delegate and despite the repairs it has undergone, it retains its original design. In Hora, you can also visit Tria Pigadia (three wells) which were the only source of water until 1956.

At Ano Mera the islands other settlement, 8km from the Hora, is the monastery of the Panagia Tourliani with its fine collection of sacred vestments, embroidered clothes, wood cuts and pots. Interesting features here are the bell-tower and the marble fountain in the country yard.

Mykonos of today has all the necessary facilities of a modern resort for those seeking an active and cosmopolitan type of holiday, both by day and at night. Nevertheless, there are also some quiet corners for those who favor a more peaceful vacation.

Beaches

Superb beaches, all with wonderful golden sand, such as Super Paradise, Agios Stefanos, Psarou, Kalafatis, Platys Yialos, Ornos, Elia and Panormos are there waiting for all who adore the sea.

Sports

You can find schools for wind surfing and water-skiing in Psarou, Platys Gialos and Kalafatis, while Ftelia is ideal for wind surfing meetings, because of its south orientation. On the way to Platys Gialos and Kalafatis and Ornos there are scuba diving schools.

Night Life

The nightlife in Mykonos is greater than any other island of Greece. Especially in summer, clubs, discos, bars and pubs are always full with people. Nightclubs and beach bars exist all over the island. Every summer Mykonos has many famous visitors and VIPs like artists, fashion industry people, politicians, sportsmen, actors and other celebrities from all over the world.

Transportation - Useful Information

By plane from Athens there are 3-16 flights a day, depending on the season duration:35 min.
From Piraeus there are at least 2 ferries a day (distance: 94 nautical miles, duration:6,15h). 

From Rafina to Mykonos there are 2 ferries a day in winter and 6 in the summer. 

From Mykonos you can visit Chios, Mitilini, Samos, Santorini, Rhodes and Iraklio by plane (summertime only).

Useful Telephone numbers

Automatic dialing code 0289
Mykonos Police tel. 22235
Tourist Police tel. 22482
Town Hall tel. 22229
Municipal Information Office tel. 23990
Airport tel. 22327
Port Authority tel. 22218




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