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East: Mandraki and the Eastern
A somewhat featureless, shoreline road from the east battery of the port leads in 20 minutes to the bay of Mandraki, which was the main harbour and ship-yard of the Hydriot fleet during the 19th century. The route passes the small church of the Eisodia tis Theotokou, or ‘Presentation of the Virgin’, above the shore, before the descent into the bay. In the hills above are three monasteries and nunneries—Aghia Triada, Aghia Matrona, and Aghios Nikolaos—which can be reached by following paths be hind the bay, but which are more easily and pleasantly ar rived at along the wide path which leaves the main town of Hydra from the cemetery in its southeastern corner (Aghios Nikolaos in 90 mins, the other two in well underone hour). From Aghios Nikolaos, a further two hours and fifteen minutes of rough track, round the north side of Mount Obori, brings you to the monastery of the Nativity of the Virgin, or the ‘Panaghia of Zourva’. (In view of the difficulty of finding the outward route and the length of the walk, this monastery is best visited by taking a water taxi from the port in Hydra to the Bay of Ledeza, where a path climbs up the cliff to the monastery in 40 mins: the return west across the island is more easily navigated.) The isolated setting of the monastery is remote and panoramic. The walk to it, however, is shadeless, and a supply of drinking-water is essential: it takes just over 3 hours, one way. All of the above monasteries are 18th or 19th century foundations: Aghia Triada, 1704; Aghios Nikolaos, 1724; the Monastery of the Nativity, 1814; and Aghia Matrona, 1865. All have been meticulously renovated and re-in habited in the last two decades after a period of abandonment. This flowering of monastic life on the island is due in large part to the absence of motorised vehicles on Hydra which favours monastic isolation and tranquillity.
The low, castellated lighthouse of Cape Zourva, at the eastern tip of the island was built in 1883. After its destruction during the Second World War, it was restored in its original form in 1949.
Hydra Island is part of the Argosaronic Island group
East: Mandraki and the eastern monasteries.