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INFORMATION ABOUT MYKONOS ISLAND

Mykonos is one of the most popular destinations of Cyclades. The island is widely known in all Europe and attracts many tourists each year. Since the 50s, Mykonos is considered as the busiest and most popular island in Mediterranean Sea.

Chora, is the capital and the centre of Mykonos. The unique architecture of the houses in combination with the beautiful location of the island charms her visitors. Despite rampant tourist development, Mykonos has accomplished to maintain traditional elements of the Cycladic physiognomy. The Cycladic windmills, whitewashed dwellings arrayed along narrow lanes with whitewashed paths lead to a low hill topped by a row of windmills; a horizon pierced by red-painted domes and bell towers of countless churches and chapels add to the beauty of the landscape, while the picture is completed by brightly colored fishing boats bobbing in the harbour.

Matoyianni is the most popular market of Mykonos. Here you can find boutiques selling designer labels, exclusive jewellery and works of art. It’s hardly an exaggeration to say that trend-spotters head to Mykonos for a glimpse of the latest fashions. In Chora you will find a lot of cafeterias, bar, restaurants and shops where you can enjoy your drink, your coffee and gourmet flavours. Chora is also the springboard for exploring the island, with frequent bus routes departing here to beaches and the interior.
Mykonos, Delos, Rineia, and a group of uninhabited islets comprise a small archipelago within the Cyclades islands. Mykonos is flat, with its highest point reaching 364 meters. It covers an extent of 75 sq. km. The main rock is granite while the landscape is impressively devoid of trees, with just sparse coverage at specific areas, Panormos, Kalafatis, Ftelia of low, thick bushes. Rineia (area 13 square kilometers, highest altitude 149 meters) is also flat and used for grazing as some areas are covered by phrygana; there are also a number of abandoned fields. Tragonisi (area 1.1 square kilometres, highest altitude 149 meters) is rugged and inaccessible with several sheer areas. The islet has mines and some flat stretches. Stapodia (area 0.5 square kilometres, highest altitude 133 meters) is rocky, with a number of cliffs, a few flat areas, and sparse ground cover of phrygana.

Mykonos has a generally dry climate with mild winters. Typical of the island’s weather are the strong northerly winds known as meltemia (singular=meltemi) and which blast over the island during the day in summer. Snow is rare, while there is no rainfall in summer and very little in winter. During the summer months, the sun is bright and very warm, thus visitors are warned to pack proper protection.

Mykonos’s barren landscape is actually far richer in fauna than would seem at first glance. The bald hills shelter many small creatures from the visitor’s gaze. The island’s signature fauna are the large, spiky lizards that sit atop rocks or dart among the dry stone fences. The crocodile owes its name to this lizard as when the Ionians arrived in Egypt they compared the crocodiles swimming in the Nile—and known until then as champsai, with the Mykonos lizard and finding them similar in appearance gave them the name of crocodile. Indeed, on the island, the lizard—or agama stelio—is known among locals today as a “land crocodile” or krokodilaki (little crocodile) or korkodeilas.

According to an article by Achilleas Dimitropoulos for the Goulandris Natural History Museum, there are two habitats that are especially significant for the island’s wildlife—the coastal wetlands at Panormos and Ftelia which are seasonally flooded and turn into small saltwater lagoons. Both are important resting stops on the routes of migratory birds. Within these wetlands there are a number of currents and drainages spots, such as the one formed at Marathi where a dam was built to create a new wetland. The sandbanks at Ano Meria are quite rich in silica.


MYKONOS ISLAND HISTORY

According to the Greek mythology, Iraklis exterminated the Giants that were found buried under Mykonos and the other isles in the archipelagos.

The island’s name seems to derive from the ancient for either mound of rocks or rocky land. A later myth links the island to the hero Mykonos, son of King Anios of Delos.

The island was initially inhabited from Carians and Phoenicians, but it’s the Ionians who were dominant around 1000 B.C. Ancient sources refer to two cities on the island, mention it as a place where Daetes and Artaphernes landed, and describe it as a rather poor island.  Mykonos was a place of adoration of ancient gods mainly Dionysus, Demeter, Zeus, Apollo, Poseidon, and Heracles.

Roman conquerors took over the island and gave their place in the Byzantines. During the 7th century defensive fortifications were built to guard the island against raids by Arab pirates. After the Fourth Crusade, in 1204, the island was ceded to Andreas and Ieremias Gyzis.  Catalans pillaged the island in 1292 and effectively left to Venetian control who, in turn, administered it as part of Tinos. During the Venetian rule, the pirate Barbarossa destroys the island.

The Ottoman rule prevails later, and the island passes in the command of the Ottoman fleet, Capudan Pasha and virtually self-administered as its Venetian and Turkish administrators did not which to clash.

The population of Mykonos in the duration of modern times was between 2.000 and 5.000 residents. Late in the 18th century and early 19th century the population is strengthened by migrants from Crete as well as Naxos, Folegandros, Sikinos, and Kimolos. The frequent wars created famines and epidemics.

Afterwards the island constituted as an important turning-point of supply for the foreign merchant ships. The island’s inhabitants gradually turned to maritime activities and commerce, having earlier tried their hand at piracy. Although the island accepted pirate’s raids it accomplished to flourish economically during that season. 

In the duration of the Greek revolution in 1821, Manto Mavrogenous led the residents of the island to fight against the Turkish fleet (1822) and guides the residents to participate in the independence war.  With the establishment of the Modern Greek state, Mykonos emerged with an urban dynamic and class which cultivated its ties to southern Russia, Italy, France, Alexandria, Asia Minor, Constantinople, and the emerging centre on Syros.

During the 19th century the season of steam technology arrives and the opening of the Corinth Canal in 1904 weakened Mykonos and many residents migrated abroad to Russia before the first world war and to the United States afterwards and to large urban centres within Greece, such as Athens and Piraeus.

In 1873 the French Archaeological Faculty of Athens begun excavations in Delos and established the area in the consciousness of the global elite which had the ability and desire to travel to Greece. From 1930 and afterwards many famous people visited the island in order to discover the impressive archaeological treasures of Delos. After the Second World War, the island’s tourism flourished and today it ranks among the world’s top destinations.
 
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