MILOS



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Milos - general


General

The history of Aegean civilisation is driven by trade, and the first commodity ever to be traded on a large scale among its islands was obsidian from Milos, used for making tools, weapons and knives by the first human in habitants of the area. As the prehistory of the islands is revealed by archaeologists, obsidian from Milos—whose particular purity can be recognised by eye and its proenance verified scientifically—is found at the oldest, low est level, across the whole area. Well before 6000 bc it is found widely from Thasos to Rhodes , and from Skopelos to Crete and Egypt: evidence furthermore shows its occurrence on the Peloponnese as early as the end of the 10th millennium bc a fact with not inconsiderable significance for our understanding of early navigation in these island waters. The roads of history all lead back to Milos, just as the marine trade routes, precariously plied by small prehistoric craft, led back to its sheltered volcanic harbours. It is moving to look at the piles of obsidian pieces left behind by the first workshops of Aegean history on Nychia Hill, and to realise that one is witnessing the origins of human commerce in the Island world.
    Obsidian is a super-hard glass which forms in particular volcanic circumstances. The whole fascinating mineralogy of Milos is the result of a long and tormented history of major volcanic activity, giving rise today to hot vapours and springs as well as impressive colours and forms in the island’s constantly varying landscape and shores. Some of the strangest inlets, beaches and rock outcrops in the Aegean are to be found on Milos, as well as some of its rarest minerals. The Stone Age commerce of obsidian which began on the island has a modern successor in the massive industrial exploitation and commerce of its earths today, which find their way into the brake linings of our cars, the oil-drills of the Persian Gulf, and the building materials, cosmetics, fertilisers and pharmaceuticals we use all over the world. It is an immense trade and it has left its mark on Milos in many ways.
   Milos is a busy, working island, as well as a tourist destination, with the population nearly all concentrated in the north. The south and west, by contrast, are a wild and largely empty landscape, offering open, exhilarating vistas from all angles across the island and its waters. Nothing can substitute for seeing the coasts of Milos from a small boat however: its brilliantly coloured beaches create translucent opal waters, its caves and sculpted spires of volcanic rock, can only satisfactorily be appreciated from the water, and in the summer it is not hard to find or arrange a cai―que to tour the shores and cliffs, and to visit the many, often abandoned, mine installations. Apart from its important industrial archaeology, Milos has a number of interesting churches—Aghia Triada by the port in Adamas, and the remote Panaghia tou Kipou, built over the baptistery of a 5th century basilica; also from Early Christian times, there is the most important and extensive complex of catacombs in Greece, above the harbour at Klima. The island’s ancient archaeology is of great importance, with one of the richest Bronze Age settlements in the Aegean at Phylakopi­ on the north coast, and the remains of the ancient city of Melos, overlook the entrance into to the island’s magnificent, central caldera-bay. In the area of its Hellenistic gymnasium was unearthed what was to become one of the most famous statues of antiquity—the Venus de Milo. It is appropriate that the statue, now in Paris, should be of Aphrodite, who was given the golden apple of Discord in the contest of the goddesses. The apple, ‘το μῆλον’, was the symbol of the island used on its coins; and it was presented to the goddess of love by none other than Paris.


Milos Island is part of the Cyclades Island Group, Greece.
General Information.

 

access

Milos Island, Greece.

By air: Olympic Air operates two 40-minute flights from Athens to Milos daily. The airport is 4.5km from Adámas.
By boat: Ventouris Lines run a daily car-ferry service from Piraeus (dep. 7.05 am, arr. c. 3 pm), which calls at the other Western Cycladic Islands both on the outward and return journey, guaranteeing daily connections with them. This is supplemented by at least one high-speed connection (4 hrs 30 mins) every day in the summer only.
There are three weekly connections between Milos and Santorini. The F/B Panaghia Phaneromeni makes 5–6 crossings daily from Pollónia (in northeast Milos) to Kimolos; it accommodates vehicles, and the journey takes 25 mins.

Milos Travel Guide

beaches

Milos Island, Greece.

 

Milos Travel Guide

eating

Milos Island, Greece.

To Petrino in Zephyría is one of the most trustworthy places on Milos for simple, fresh Greek cooking, and it remains out of the tourist loop.
The Mezedopoleion Phocas in Pláka, and Zygos in Adámas, prepare their dishes well and freshly, and offer local wine in the spring.
For good fish, Pelagos, the easternmost taverna on the beach at Palaiochori, is to be recommended: it remains open all year.
The speciality of the tavernas at Palaiochori is a succulent lamb dish, slow cooked in terracotta vessels on the geothermically heated sand of the beach outside.

Milos Travel Guide

further reading

Milos Island, Greece.

An Island Polity: the Archaeology of Exploitation in Melos, edited by Colin Renfrew and Malcolm Wagstaff, CUP, 1982.
Disarmed—The Story of the Venus de Milo, by Gregory Curtis, Vintage Press, 2004.
Milos—Geologic History, by Ian Plimer, KOAN Publishing House, Athens, 2000.
James Theodore Bent, The Cyclades (1885), reissued 2002 by Archaeopress, Oxford in the ‘3rd Guides’ series.
Thucydides’s Peloponnesian War, V, 84–116 is poignantly relevant to Milos.

Milos Travel Guide

lodging

Milos Island, Greece.

The island offers mainly simple accommodations.
In Adámas, Giannis Apartments are spacious and pleasant and in a quiet neighbourhood (T. 22870 22204, fax 22144, www. giannisapartments.gr).
Attractively situated above the harbour of Klima, and close to the archaeological areas, is the Hotel Panorama (T. 22870 21623, fax 22112); while higher up in the alleyways of Pláka are two charming alternatives with good views: Archondoula Studios (T. 22870 23820) and Betty’s Studios (T. 22870 21538).
Across the island, be hind the beach at Palaiochóri, are the pleasantly appointed Artemis Bungalows (T./fax. 22870 31221).
At Pollónia, the Kostantakis Farm and Studios offers comfortable and attractive studios, as well as wine and produce grown on its own farm, (T. 22870 41357, fax 41500, www.kostantakis.gr)
The most unusual solution of all, is in a converted windmill on the ridge at Trypití: there are three units at the Marketos Windmill and its out buildings, all with clear views (T. 22870 22147, fax 22384).

Milos Travel Guide

museums

Milos Island, Greece.

Ecclesiastical Museum
Milos Archaeological Museum
Mining Museum of Milos

Milos Travel Guide

practical info

Milos Island, Greece.

848 00 Milos: area 158sq km; perimeter 139km; resi dent population 4,736; max. altitude 748 m. Port Authority: T. 22870 23360. Travel information: Milos Travel, T. 22870 22000, fax. 22688, www.milostravel. gr, (Pollónia) Blue Waters Travel (Patrick and Sheila Warwick), tel. 22870 41234. General information: www.milos-island.gr

Milos Travel Guide

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