Brief History of Mykonos
Mykonos is one of the best known
greek islands. It has an area of 85 sq. km., a shoreline of 80 km and a native population
of 7000 people. However, during high season, the population grows to extremely higher
numbers. The island can be reached by air from Athens, Rhodes, Santorini and Herakleion
(Crete) or by ferry from Piraeus (94 nautical miles), Rafina (71 nautical miles), the
Dodecanese, Crete, and Thessaloniki. The trip by ferry from Piraeus takes about 6 hours.
In summer there is 'flying doplhin' service from Piraues or Rafina. A local boat service
takes visitors from Mykonos to the nearby island of Delos. According to mythology, the
island was named after Mykonos, the son of Apollo Anios. Because of his father - who was a
god of light - the island of Mykonos was called "the island of the light".
According to another myth, Neptune - the god of the seas - during his battle against the
Giants, threw huge rocks that fell into the sea and formed the wild, rocky ground of the
The history of Mykonos begins with its first inhabitants, who are
said to have been Leleges or Kares. They were followed by the Egyptians, Phoenicians and
Cretans, while, in 1,000 BC, the island was inhabited by the people of Ionia. Mykonos was
a member of the First Athenian Alliance in 478 BC. Later, the island was occupied by the
Romans. In the Byzantine years, Mykonos was a member of the province of Achaia,
originally, while later it became a member of the Scheme of the islands.
After the Franks dissolved the Byzantine Empire, Mykonos was
occupied by the Venetians, only to be submitted to the Gizi family, who ruled until 1390.
In 1537, Mykonos was conquered by the pirate Barbarossa and was submitted to the Turks
until the Revolution of 1821, to which Mykonos took an active part. The Revolution's
heroine, Mando Mavrogenous, born in Mykonos, gave her entire fortune for the cause and was
personally involved in informing foreigners, not only about the battles, but also about
the war's campaign.
The island was liberated along with the rest of the Cyclades, yet
poverty drove the locals to migration, until the fifties - when tourism began to grow, at
first for touring ancient Delos. The island became a meeting point for the international
jet - set and people began to be interested in Mykonos and its natural beauty. Ever since,
the island's tourism has thrived.
The ground of Mykonos is infertile and rocky. One of the island's
characteristics is the total lack of trees and green areas, a fact justified by the
ground's composition and the climate which is dry with frequent, strong winds and long
exposure to the sun (approximately 3,000 h per year). The earth is rich in led, silver and
barites. The island was never known for its agricultural production, yet the vineyards
produce excellent wine. The inhabitants of Mykonos are occupied with tourism, fishing and
sailing, while some are occupied with stock-breeding. The people of Mykonos are cheerful
and hospitable. They have become accustomed to the swarms of tourists in the summer and
have ensured the conditions necessary to help strangers have a good, comfortable stay. The
wild life and good manners of the locals have made Mykonos one of the most famous and
loved islands throughout the world.
Mykonos is one of the most beautiful islands in the Aegean, and
it offers the widest variety of holiday choices. Travelers from all over the world are
drawn to enjoy its sandy beaches and the memorable views of the traditional windmills, the
picturesque port town, the medieval quarter and the small cycladic churches that one meets
all over the island. More than that, the island is also offering all the cosmopolitan fun,
the shopping opportunities and the ''wild'' nightlife that can make your vacation
The southern part of Mykonos island is more sheltered, the north part is wilder, with some
still unspoilt gems waiting for you to discover them.
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