INFORMATION ABOUT KEA ISLAND
Kea or Tzia is a favourite destination for many Athenians and householders of ships. It is located very near to Attica, in the westerner point of Cyclades. Tourists are arriving in the island during all year. It has a perimeter of 85 kilometres and a total surface of 131 square kilometres. Kea is one of the biggest islands of Cyclades. The island’s harbour abstains 40 miles from Piraeus port and 16 miles from Lavrion port.
There are daily sailings from Lavrion, and the travel time is about one hour. There are also boat connections to Syros and Kithnos, which the summer months become more frequent.
Kea stands out for its rich flora. You can take a walk through the paths of the island and see the beautiful oaks forests. Her abundant waters help the rich vegetation of the island. The island claims 16 of the 1,300 plant species endemic to Greece. Five of these have been designated rare, and south-eastern area of the island is protected under the NATURA 2000 program.
The nature lovers can enjoy discovering the unique plants that the island entertains. In the valleys and the paths of Kea you can find multicoloured flowers such as medicinal herbs, aromatic shrubs, rare mushrooms, multicoloured lichens, chestnut trees, maples, Phoenician junipers, terebinths, Judas trees, crocuses, irises, bellflowers, wild roses, hyacinths, wild gladiolas, asphodels, composing beautiful pictures for the visitors.
Kea’s coast curves into small bays and coves; it’s also riddled with sea caverns. The castle dominates in the top of the island giving splendid view to his visitors. One of the biggest natural harbours of the Mediterranean Sea, named Agios Nikolaos, is located at the north-westerly side of Kea.
The capital of the island is Ioylida which distinguishes for the windmills; from there you can follow paths in order to explore the beauties of the island. Otzias allocates the biggest beach of Kea. You can visit the beautiful beaches with gold sand sush as Koyndoyros, Agios Aimilianos, Kampi, Liparo, Mpoyri, Frear, Chiliomodoy, Panagitsa and Ligia. Poseidonies is the marine fauna of the island which you can see at the bottom of the seas of Kea.
KEA ISLAND HISTORY
According to mythology Kea was named “Hydroussa” because of the humid climate, of the many water sources and her dense vegetation. The nymphs where chased and abandoned the island. Seirios the most brilliant star of the sky burned Hydroussa and al the Cyclades. The arid conditions and barren terrain forced the island’s inhabitants to seek help from the demi-god Aristaeus of Thessaly, a son of Apollo and the Nymph Cyrene. The gods were appeased by the offerings made by Aristaeus and the waterlessness became less harsh. Since then, northerly winds known as meltemia blow over the islands for forty days when Sirius’s constellation, the Big Dog, is visible.
The island was initially called Hydroussa and during the period of Ottoman domination was named Tzia (a name with Latin roots). At the beginnings of the 11th century B.C. Hero Keo, son of Apollo and nymph Rodoessis, appears on the island and gives to Kea her current name.
Many ancient findings have been discovered in the area of Kefala which testify that Kea has been inhabited during the NewStone Age. Traces of prehistoric human habitation have been found on the Ayia Irini peninsula and at the village of Vourkari. From the Bronze Age through the end of the Mycenaean period, the settlement at Ayia Irini made its mark on history and Early Aegean Civilization: in the 16th century B.C., Ayia Irini was served as the hub between the Minoan and Mycenaean worlds, emerging as an important centre for trade and culture.
During the Archaic years and after the arrival of Ionon in the island, the cities of Ioylis, Karthaia, Korissos and Poiessa were founded.
According to the big philosopher Aristotle, Kea became acquaintance for her political system. He published a book titled “Keion State” in which he reports elements from the social organisation of Kea as an imitation point to the rest of Cyclades.
One of the seven sages of ancient Greece Aristides, known for his strict, model legislation, hailed from Kea. One of these laws was titled “Keion to Nomimon”, according to which any citizen whose intellectual faculties and physical abilities were no longer beneficial to the society should die. Thus, anyone over the age of seventy ended their own lives by drinking conium from the plant Mandragoras (or hemlock). This custom ended at the 3rd century, with the acne of Christanism which prevailed in the island.
Later this years the foundation of the Byzantine Empire and during the sovereignty of the island from the Roman state, the activity of the four cities stops and Ioylida is been characterized as the unique cultural centre of the island.
Kea used to be a pole of attraction to various Latin rulers which conquered the island successfully. In the duration of Venetian domination the castle was built in the area of ancient Ioylida. In the 1537, Kea was conquered from Turkish people and suffered devastating changes during the period of Russian-Turkish war. At the revolutionary fight in 1821, Kea had an important role in the liberating fight and accomplished to incorporate in Greece in 1830.