HYDRA



redline

Hydra - general

General
At the turn of the 19th century, when Athens was home to about 6,500 inhabitants, the population of Hydra may have exceeded 30,000—nearly five times its size. Today its residents number less than 3,000, while in Athens they now exceed five million. The demographics are important for understanding Hydra and its history and architecture. Maritime Greece, with its fragmented geography of is lands in the sea, has always been an interconnected net work of moderately small comparable entities. Hydra was for a while an important player in this constantly changing map of evolving and declining centres. The island (like Chios before it and Syros and Symi after it) came into a period of remarkable prosperity at the end of the 18th and the beginning of the 19th century, when it was a magnet for commercial shipping interests in the Aegean area. The parallel is perhaps closest with Symi, which like Hydra was a mountainous rock in the sea with no extensively cultivable terrain: both islands were thrown back onto shipping and commerce in order to survive. The sudden growth of wealth has produced in both islands a narrow period of extraordinary architectural flowering, endowing them both with ports that are among the most strikingly beautiful in the Aegean.
  Hydra is the only island in the Aegean in which the municipal authorities have had the tenacity to maintain a total ban on motorised traffic. It is one of a very few places in Europe where this is the case, and it has transformed the quality of life on the island. As a consequence, Hydra is a dense urban tissue but with none of the negatives which that normally implies. The interior of the island is also only accessible on foot, and in recent years a growing monastic community has returned to Hydra to take ad vantage of the peacefulness which that has brought.
   Proximity and fast communications to Athens mean that visitors often come to Hydra merely for a day’s excursion. But—not least because it has a number of very beautiful hotels and guest-houses—it is an island that should be visited for several days so as to savour both its extraordinary tranquillity and to explore its uncompromised wealth of architecture. Hydra has few ‘great buildings’ as such, but it is one of the best preserved and least modified architectural and urban ‘wholes’ in Greece and should feature in any serious traveller’s first acquaintance with the varied beauty of the Greek Islands.

 

Hydra Island is part of the Argosaronic Island group
Hydra General Information


Random information you might what to know about Hydra Island
Profitis Elias Monastery
Hydras' Island town and harbour

access

Hydra Island, the Argosaronic.

On the Makrónisos internment camp, see Yannis Hamilakis, The Nation and its Ruins, Oxford, OUP 2008, or (same author) The Other ‘Parthenon’: Antiquity and National Memory at Makrónisos, Journal of Modern Greek Studies—Vol. 20, No. 2, Oct. 2002, pp. 307–338.

Hydra Travel Guide

eating

Hydra Island, the Argosaronic.

Eating can be surprisingly unimaginative on Hydra by comparison with the high quality of the island"s hotels; there seems little ambition to do more than the regular fare. One of the nicest and most welcoming places, offering fresh and varying proposals in Greek cuisine every day, is Kristina"s (properly "Chrysina"s") "Gitoniko", in the alleyway close by, and to the right of, Stavros Douskos"s long-standing and famous taverna, Xeri Eliá. The latter also has reliable food served on tables beneath the trees in the square; but it is a more commercial operation. To Steki, near Votsi Square, has straightforward fare, and an attractively "un-reconstructed" interior with folk-murals of ships and boats on the walls. At Kamini (15 minutes" walk from the main harbour) Kontylenia"s taverna, has pleasing views and some imaginative dishes.

Hydra Travel Guide

lodging

Hydra Island, the Argosaronic.

Small and characterful, the most pleasant hotel on Folégrandros is the -Kastro Hotel in the heart of the old Kastro, with raftered rooms, traditional furniture and beautiful views (open Apr–Oct, T./fax. 22860 41230, www.hotel castro.com). Anemomilos Studios (T. 22860 41309) and Artemis Rooms (T. 22860 41313), both at the beginning of the road up to the church of the Panaghia, are simpler, but pleasant and panoramic.Small and characterful, the most pleasant hotel on Folégrandros is the -Kastro Hotel in the heart of the old Kastro, with raftered rooms, traditional furniture and beautiful views (open Apr–Oct, T./fax. 22860 41230, www.hotel castro.com). Anemomilos Studios (T. 22860 41309) and Artemis Rooms (T. 22860 41313), both at the beginning of the road up to the church of the Panaghia, are simpler, but pleasant and panoramic.

Hydra Travel Guide

practical info

Hydra Island, the Argosaronic.

180 40
Ýdra or Hýdra:
area 49sq.km
perimeter 64km
resident population 2,629
max. altitude 588m.
Port Authority: 22980 52279.
Travel and information: Ydraïoníki Travel, T. 22980 54007, www. hydra.gr

Hydra Travel Guide

Book your Trip to Greece

ferry

advertisements