MYKONOS



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Mykonos - history


Underneath Mykonos, according to myth, lie buried the last of the giants who had contested the Olympian gods and were finally destroyed by the rocks hurled by Hercules: the landscape is indeed granitic and boulder-strewn. Despite its infertility, man settled on Mykonos in the 5th millennium bc; settlements have been found at Ftelia in Panormos Bay, and at Kalafati. There was some continuity through the Early and Middle Cycladic periods, and the recent discovery of the tomb of a Mycenaean nobleman near Chora attests a significant Late Bronze Age presence. In historic times, according to Scylax of Caryanda, the island had two cities, Mykonos on the site of the present Chora, and (?) Panormos on the north coast. The Persian commander, Datis, stopped at Mykonos in 490 bc on his way to Greece. After the Persian Wars the island became an Athenian colony. In ancient Comedy, the figure of the ‘Μυκόνιος γείτων’ or ‘the neighbour from Mykonos’ was the typical free-loader and uninvited guest. Strabo (Geog. X, 5.9) noted that baldness was prevalent on the island so that bald men were sometimes called ‘Mykoniots’: Henry A.V. Post observed the same when he visited in 1828.
    At the time that Marco Sanudo established himself as ‘Duke of Naxos ’ in 1207, Mykonos was taken by the Venetian Ghisi brothers who also held Tinos and the Sporades. The Ghisi line died out in 1390, and Tinos and Mykonos were bequeathed to Venice who put the administration of the islands up for auction in 1406, with a leased governor ship which was renewed every four years; but in 1430 this system gave way to direct rule of the ‘province of Tinos’ from Venice, with governors directly appointed for two years. In 1537 Khaireddin Barbarossa took Mykonos. The island remained an Ottoman possession for almost 300 years, apart from an interval in which it was occupied by the Russians between 1770 and 1774. During the struggle for Greek Independence, the islanders repulsed an attack by the Turks in 1822 under the inspired leadership of the heroine Mando Mavrogenous. The island was united with the newly formed Greek State in 1830, after which the traditional skills of the islanders as mariners led Mykonos to prominence as a merchant-naval centre until the advent of the new generation of steamships. The boom in tourism beginning in the 1970s meant that the town tripled in size in the space of a little over two decades.


Mykonos Island is part of the Cyclades Island Group, Greece.
History of Mykonos.

 

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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