MYKONOS



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Mykonos - Mykonos Chora - Aghia Anna and the archaeological Museum


Aghia Anna and the Archaeological Museum

At the eastern end of the promenade is the small plateia, (now the main taxi rank) named after Mando Mavrogenous (1796–1840), whose bust stands at its centre. Visitors in different periods have commented on how the women of Mykonos frequently appeared to outnumber men by as much as four to one, and how they were a force to be reckoned with. Mando Mavrogenous is perhaps the best known example of the courageous Mykoniot woman.

   Born in Trieste to a family of prominent merchants and administrators from Ottoman Mykonos, she received a re markable and cosmopolitan education. Returning to Greece in 1809 she became deeply committed to the cause of Greek Independence and dedicated her energy and her personal wealth to its support. Like Laskarina Bouboulina, she participated in battle action, and in 1822 led the successful repulse of a Turkish attack on Mykonos. She was instrumental in sensitising women in other European countries to the Greek Independence struggle, enlisting their moral and material help. She died, impoverished in Paros, but in the free Greece for which she had fought.

   North from the square towards the ferry port (now referred to as the ‘old port’), the street skirts the sandy beach of Aghia Anna: on the rise at its northern end, be side the road to the port is the Mykonos Archaeological Museum (open daily except Mon 8.30–3). The structure was built in 1905 specifically to house the finds from the ‘purification bothros’ on the island of Rheneia. In 426 bc, following instructions of the Delphic Oracle, the island of Delos was purified for a second time (see Delos , below): all the bones and grave-offerings on the island were exhumed, transported to the shore of the opposite island of Rheneia (sometimes called ‘Greater Delos ’), and buried in a new bothros, or sacred pit, which covered an area of nearly 500sq m. This was then excavated in 1898–1900, and yielded a uniquely complete range of ancient pottery stretching from the 9th century bc to 426 bc, which has been of great assistance in the identification of dates, styles and workshops of pottery from those periods. Other objects from these and from later graves on Rheneia are exhibited, together with some statuary.

   The museum’s most prominent exhibit is not from Rheneia, but was found in the Chora of Mykonos: directly ahead in the Central Room (V), is the magnificent, 140cm high, 7th century bc funerary urn, or -pithamphora, whose colour of clay, design of handles and figurative style is so similar to those from Xoburgo on Tinos, that this, too, must have been made by Tiniot artesans, working around 675 bc. It may possibly have been used for a child of noble birth. The fine relief decoration is only on one side and does not extend to the rear: around the neck is a wheeled, Trojan Horse, with the carefully depicted soldiers inside, visible through ‘windows’. The lower registers, around the belly, return again and again in their figurative content to scenes of Greek warriors wresting young children from resisting and imploring Trojan women. The repeated insistence on such a scene is puzzling.
    The vase collection, which occupies the rest of the central room and the two rooms to either side of the vestibule, is of extraordinary richness and variety. To the right (Room II) is shown the earlier, paler, less polished but more vigorously decorated, Geometric pottery: amongst them, the noblest in execution are the vases from Naxos ; to left (Room III) are the later, much more polished, narrative scenes of the red and black figure vases of the 5th and 4th centuries bc. The sophisticated elegance of the world of 5th century bc Attica is wonderfully evoked in the -nuptial lebes of the Syriskos Painter, with its exquisitely depicted dancing figures.
    The two rooms at either extremity contain various objects from later burials found on Rheneia, which after 425 bc became the official cemetery for Delos : the room to far right (Room I) contains a miscellaneous collection of funerary offerings—farm implements, figurines, jewellery, ornaments and perfume jars. Interesting are the contents of the grave of Philo, priestess of Isis on Delos , which include her ring engraved with her name, her ceremonial sistrum and some fine objects in clear glass. The centerpiece of the room is the beautiful, 18cm high, solid-cast bronze Kouros figure, which was originally the handle of a cup. The room to far left (Room IV) contains grave stelai, two of which, figuring disconsolate mariners seated on the rocks with their boats drawn up in front of them, commemorated sailors lost at sea. Note also the care fully shaped block of marble (beside door to courtyard), with two pairs of foot imprints cut into its surface, perhaps of a father and son: this was a not uncommon form of votive dedication made before or after under taking a long journey.
   In the entrance vestibule is a polished Roman copy of a late Classical figure, depict a (rather un-Herculean) Hercules with club and lion pelt.



Mykonos Island is part of the Cyclades Island Group, Greece.
Aghia Anna & Mykonos Archaeological Museum.

 

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access

Mykonos Island, Greece.

By air: Olympic Air and Aegean Airlines both run three return flights daily between Athens and Mykonos, and one flight three times weekly to Thessaloniki. The craft are mostly 40-seater or smaller. The airport is 2.5km from Chora.
By boat: Mykonos is also amply served by connections from both Piraeus (on average three times daily in summer) and Rafina (between 5 and 9 times daily in summer), with frequency dropping markedly in winter. The fastest times are (an incredible) 2 hrs from Rafina and 4 hrs from Piraeus.
The town now has two separate ports and, on departure, it is important to be sure which port the ferry you need is leaving from.
There are typically an average of three connections daily to Syros and Paros, and two to Naxos , during the summer, with routes to Herakleion three times weekly. The daily caïques for Delos (except on Mondays) leave from the west mole of the old harbour.

Mykonos Travel Guide

eating

Mykonos Island, Greece.

First, eating "Greek": the only Mykoniot fish-taverna left in Chora which has maintained its simplicity is Kounelas, where it is still possible to enjoy good seafood in a tiny walled garden. (Just off waterfront, two alleys east of the town hall).
Similarly traditional Greek fare and environment can be found at To Koutouki tou Limniou in Aghios Stephanos, north of Chora.
Some of the island"s best fresh fish is prepared by Markos" taverna at Livounia, on the east side of the Kalafáti peninsula in the east of the island.
International cuisine: for imaginative Japanese and Pacific "fusion cuisine", Nobu of Mykonos at the Belvedere Hotel in Rohari is highly prized. Casa di Giorgio (be hind the Catholic Cathedral) has a wide variety of genuine Italian dishes prepared in an Italian kitchen.
For a pleasing vantage point from which to watch the sun set, it is hard to do better than the balcony of the Veranda Bar in "Little Venice".

Mykonos Travel Guide

further reading

Mykonos Island, Greece.

Theodore Bent’s description of the ‘μοιρολογίσται’ of Mykonos (the versifying professional mourners at funerals), as well as being an invaluable piece of anthropological documentation, is one of the best chapters of his work The Cyclades, or Life among the Insular Greeks (1885), reissued 2002 by

Archaeopress, Oxford.

Mykonos Travel Guide

lodging

Mykonos Island, Greece.

Mykonos has a staggering quantity of hotels on offer, catering for every kind of taste—except perhaps for rustic simplicity. For those who want to be in the heart of Chora, Zorzis is a small ‘boutique hotel’, open year round (rare in Mykonos) with characterfully furnished rooms and friendly management (T. 22890 22167, fax 24169, www.zorzishotel.com).
Opposite, and similar in style, is the French-owned Chez Maria (T. 22890 27565, fax 27566), which incorporates a restaurant below.
Delightful and attentive, family management and unpretentiousness has always characterised the Rhenia Hotel in Tourlos: it is set back on the hill above the new port away from noise, and 2km from the town centre (T. 22890 22300, fax 23152, www.rhenia-bungalows.com).
Since the 1950s the Leto Hotel has provided spacious ness and full services, in its own gardens right beside the Chora and the museum: it is best patronised outside of high season during which it can become noisy at night (T. 22890 22207, fax 24365, www.letohotel.com).
Of the luxury hotels, Cavo Tagoo is the longest standing and has the most interesting architecture (T. 22890 23692, fax 24923, www.cavotagoo.gr).
Mykonos Travel Guide

practical info

Mykonos Island, Greece.

846 00 Mykonos: area 86sq. km; perimeter 89km; resident population 9260; max. altitude 373m. Port Authority: 22890 22218.
Information: Sea and Sky Travel Agency, T. 22890 28240 & 27799, fax 28287; www.mykonos.gr

Mykonos Travel Guide

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