Mykonos - Around the island - N (Cape Armenistis) and E (Ftelia, Palaiokastro, ano Mera and Kalafati)

North (Cape Armenistis) and East (Ftelia, Palaiokastro, Ano Mera and Kalafati)

(Chora = 0.0km for distances in text) North from the ‘Old’ Ferry Port, the main road follows the shoreline and passes the New Port and marina at Tourlos and continues to the sheltered, sandy beach of Aghios Stephanos. From Tourlos a steep road rises into the interior and runs north along a rocky plateau, with good views to Tinos, as far as the solitary Armenistis Lighthouse (5.5km), built in 1890—as if on the prow of a ship heading directly into the winds which Aeolos hurls from his alleged abode on Mount Tsiknias, across the water ahead. A kilometre and a half before the light house, the road passes the hill of Vorna, where remains of early houses and of a fortification have been identified. The hillside shows a phenomenon found elsewhere on Mykonos in which man-made walls of large stones and boulders interlace with strange natural rock shapes to create enclosures, in a natural synergy. Over the ridge which protects Chora to the east, visible beside the road to Panormos, is the monastery of Aghios Panteleimon (3km) at Marathi, founded in 1665 (currently closed: only open on the feast day, 27 July). Similar to a Naxiot ‘pyrgos’, this is a compact, fortified quadrangle, with a dovecot incorporated in its upper west wall. The interior of the catholicon is decorated with 17th century wall paintings by a certain Michalis Kagianis.
    The north coast of Mykonos is deeply indented by Panormos Bay. In the middle of the wide sweep of sands at the southern extremity of the bay, a low ridge marks the site of the earliest (Neolithic) settlement on the island dating from the 5th millennium bc, at Ftelia (6km). The foundations of houses, excavated since the 1980s, are visible. The excavations brought to light two Late Neolithic clay figurines, household items and evidence of food from domestic hearths which suggests a very different ecology in prehistoric Mykonos—an island that was probably forested, and rich in flora and fauna. A tumulus excavated in the same area is thought to correspond with the tradition that Ajax (‘the Lesser’) of Locris, was shipwrecked on Gyaros after the Trojan War and drowned by Poseidon for his blasphemy against the gods (Odyssey IV, 499–511): his body was then buried here on Mykonos. Although often paired as a redoubtable fighter with his namesake (Ajax, son of Telamon), his roughness and rudeness earned him the hatred of Athena. He dragged Cassandra from the statue of Athena in an attempt to rape her. Thereafter the Locrians used to send two virgins each year to serve in the temple of Athena at Troy in expiation of the crime.
   On a conical hill overlooking Ftelia and Panormos Bay from the east, is Palaiokastro (7.5km). From a distance the enceinte of mediaeval walls at the crown of the hill can be seen, with the church of Aghia Triada at the summit. The walls are considerably ruined and are built over a Byzantine fort, which in turn is built on an older ancient enceinte. This is best seen on the northwest side overlooking the bay. The central well (now filled) can still be seen. The 6th century bc explorer, Scylax of Caryanda, refers to Mykonos as ‘dipolis’, i.e. possessing two cities, and it is presumed that this would have been the acropolis of the island’s second city in antiquity, possibly named Panormos. In 1207 Mykonos was taken by the Venetians, Andrea and Geremia Ghisi, who were lords also of Tinos and the Sporades. The mediaeval remains here are from their subsequent fortress on the site. Below to the south east are the ruins of mediaeval buildings, with a small chapel containing meagre remains of wall-paintings in the east end and apse. One of the ruined buildings en closes the foundations of an apsidal, single-aisle church dating probably from the 13th century.
   To the south of the hill is the 18th century convent of the Panaghia Palaiokastrou, built tightly around an intimate courtyard, and with a carved wooden iconostasis. The screen must be contemporary with the much finer and more elaborate example in the Tourliani­ Monastery in Ano Mera (7.5km). An inscription over the ‘Royal Doors’ of the screen in the Tourliani­ dates the intricate wood-carving and painting to 1776. The gilding and delicate colour are well preserved, not diminishing the effect of the icons, whilst enhancing the finely wrought figures of the Evangelists in the architrave above; note, in particular, St John the Evangelist with the All-seeing Eye of the Almighty. The monastery—whose name refers to its ‘tourlos’, or dome—was founded by monks from Paros in 1542; it was sacked by pirates in 1612, and then rebuilt in its present from in 1767. The marble cladding of the belfry is elaborately carved in a ‘folk-Byzantine’ style, popular in the early part of the last century: it is the work of marble-cutters from Tinos in the 1930s. For Mykoniots, the Tourliani­ is perhaps the most important religious focus on the island: on feast days and Sundays it is always crowded with locals, dressed for the occasion.
   Ano Mera lies in one of the few areas of relative fertility on the island, and must always have been an important inland refuge of the population during the periods of piracy. Today it is a somewhat dispersed market-village with a welcome air of normality. Beyond the village the landscape opens out into wide and spacious views: roads lead east into one of the few untouched, but barren, corners of Mykonos and up to the panoramic summit of Mount Prophiis Eli­as Anomeritis (341m); another road leads southeast to Kalafati (11km) where, on the eastern promontory of the tongue of land which constitutes Tarsanas Point, surface excavations have revealed the presence of another Late Neolithic settlement. From Kalafati it is possible to make excursions to the see the caves and striking rock formations of the islet of Dragonisi, just off the eastern extremity of Mykonos.

Mykonos Island is part of the Cyclades Island Group, Greece. 
Around Mykonos Island. Cape Armenistis, Ftelia, Palaiokastro, ano Mera & Kalafati.



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


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


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,
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,
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,
Of the luxury hotels, Cavo Tagoo is the longest standing and has the most interesting architecture (T. 22890 23692, fax 24923,
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;

Mykonos Travel Guide

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