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Hydra - the monasteries of Profitis Elias and Evpraxia

The monasteries of Prophitis Elias and
Aghia Evpraxia

(Contrary to the indications given on most available maps and guides, this is not a ‘45 minute’ walk, but an unrelenting, 75 minute climb.)

Beyond Kala Pigadia, Miaoulis Street rises to the south; it becomes concrete, then gravel, then track, then path and finally steps, as it approaches the *monastery of Prophiis Eli­as. (There are some signs; but, at any junction, always take the steeper uphill turning.) Although a late construction (1815), the solitude of the site, the magnificent views and above all the serene simplicity and austerity of the architecture of the monastery amply repay the climb. The paved area enclosed by a low quadrangle of monastery buildings is silent and wide; at its centre, the catholicon sits isolated like a ship on a grey sea. Its outlines are clean, clear, austere—typically Hydriot. The pale stone-work, and the brilliant white pointing of the joints lends an icy detachment to the whole complex. The catholicon has pleasing proportions and compact volumes both inside and out. There is a wide range of 18th and 19th century icons in the interior, with one particularly powerful image of the Prophet himself in the south conch. On the terrace outside the monastery, a chapel to the island’s patron saint, St Constantine of Hydra, stands apart at a little distance to the northeast. Not long after it was completed, the monastery was used as a place of reclusion, and during the civil strife of the mid 1820s Theodore Kolokotronis was imprisoned here.
   The *views are superb, encompassing the coasts of the Peloponnese and Attica, and the islands of Aegina, Kea, Kythnos, and (to the west) Dokos and Spetses. A short distance below the monastery to the northwest, a stone path leads down to the sister establishment of the convent of Aghia Evpraxi­a, which was built fifty years after Prophitis Elias. Intimate, compact and burgeoning with vegetation, the convent has a more feminine identity which is a pleasing contrast to the austerity of Prophitis Elias. Aghia Evpraxia, known as Saint Euphrasia in the west, was a 4th century saint from a noble family related to the Emperor Theodosius. She retired to the Egyptian Desert with her mother and pursued a life of asceticism and ministration to the needy. She died in 413 at the age of 30: her feast is celebrated at the convent on 25 July.
   The highest summit of the island, at Mount Eros, 588m, rises directly to the south, and can be reached by a further 35 minutes’ climb.

 

Hydra Island is part of the Argosaronic Island group
The monasteries of Profitis Elias and Evpraxia.

 


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Admiral Andreas Miaoulis
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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

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