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Friday, 07 March 2008 15:00

Mykonos island in Cyclades

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According to mythology, the island was named after Myconos, son of the immortal Anios. The island must have been inhabited in 3000 B.C. by Kares.

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Then came the Egyptians and the Cretes. During that era, it is believed that the Cycladic Civilisation flourished on the island Later the island was inhabited by Ionians During Antiquity, Myconos together with all the islands of the Aegean Sea participates in the Athenian Alliance as all cycladic islands did. In Hellenistic Years Mykonos remained neutral, had its own currency and was quite prosperous In 146 B.C.

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it was conquered by the Romans and a new period of prosperity starts for the island. The development is interrupted by Mithridatis, who destroys both Delos and Myconos and the island sinks into oblivion. During Venetian domination, the cycladic complex was under Frankish and Venetian rule. From 1207 to 1390, Myconos as well as Tinos were governed by brothers Gyzi. In 1537, the pirate Barbarossa occupied and looted the island. During Turkish domination, due to special privileges obtained by the island, it grows to be a great navy force. At the time of the War of Independence Myconos owns a significant number of fully-equiped ships ready for war which were manned by experienced seamen. During that period, Myconos plays an active and important role in the War of Independence and many of people are distinguished for their bravery. Manto Mavrogenous is the case of a heroine who deserves special attention. She came from a rich family, she was educated and her contribution to the Greek Independency was great. Not only did she give her whole fortune to the War but she also participated in person in battles and enlightment expeditions in Europe. Manto (Mandalena or Magdalena) Mavrogenous was born in Trieste in 1796 and her grandfather, Dimitrios Mavrogenous, was dragoman of the fleet and governor in Vlahia and Moldavia. Manto, realising that in all the neighbouring islands the revolution had started, enthousiastically stimulated the Mykonians to shake of the Turkish yoke. Manto equipped and manned at her own expense two ships and she sent them to Euboea to instigate the people there. To pay homage to Manto Mavrogenous, the Mykonians have named after her Hora's central square where her bust has been raised. During the Second World War, the Mykonians served their country once more, helping «Greek Resistance» against the German conquests. Since the 1950s, the island has been on the best-known holiday resorts in the world.

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Archaeological finds indicate that the Ionians settled on Mykonos in the early part of the 11th century BC. More recent discoveries have uncovered remnants in Ftelia beach from the Neolithic Kares tribe dating back to as far as 3000 BC.

In Greek mythology Mykonos was the location of the battle between Zeus and the Gigantes, and the island was named in honor of Apollo's grandson Mykons. During these ancient times, Mykonos, due to its proximity to the then highly populated island of Delos (situated about 2km away), became very important as a supply island and possibly as a getaway location for Delian citizens.

Today, Mykonos is one of the world's most cosmopolitan islands, having become increasingly popular especially during the last 50 years due to the numerous international jet set visitors that spend their holidays on the island. It is widely known for its extremely rich, perse and often intense nightlife featured by a vast number of bars and nightclubs. Mykonos is also distinctive for its sandy beaches, offering everything from crystal-clear waters, windsurfing potential, sea-side tavernas, bars featuring 24-hour loud music and even full nudity in some cases. Many Greek and international celebrities have summer residences in Mykonos and can often be seen walking the white-washed roads or having dinner at a small street-side table of an expensive restaurant or a taverna. The island is also one of the most upscale areas of Greece, and its real estate is very expensive. The popularity of the island has given rise to a wave of real estate development with the construction of private homes, villas, and hotels. This has raised some concerns that the island may be gradually losing its character. In order to prevent this, the island's zoning requires all new buildings to abide by the rules of the Cycladic architectural style.

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The nightlife of Mykonos is marketed as among the best in Europe. Mykonos is rated among the top clubbing destinations in the Mediterranean, along with Ibiza, Ayia Napa and Rimini. Mykonos also attracts world-famous DJs to its clubs and beach bars, the most well-known of which are Paradise, Super Paradise and Paranga.

Petros the Pelican

An old celebrity of the town's waterfront, "Petro" has been the official mascot of Mykonos for many years. Found after a storm in 1954 the pelican gave up its migrating to become a local resident. After more than thirty years of making the island his home, Petro eventually died. The loss of such a personality was so deeply felt by both Mykonian and tourist alike that a replacement was soon found and a tradition established. Through the care and protection of the islanders, the spirit of Petro lives on in his predecessor who continues to this day to make his home on the island's waterfront.

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Windmills

From as early as the 16th century one of the most recognized landmarks of Mykonos have been it's windmills. Due to it's geographic position, Mykonos was situated on major sea trade-route which at one time joined Venice, the gateway of Europe, to Asia. The need to refine grain and compact it for transport combined with an ample year round supply of wind made Mykonos the perfect location. Easy access to the harbor was necessary so most of the island's mills were positioned in or around the main port with the highest concentration covering the entire western portion of town. With the coming of industrialization the windmills importance began to decline as well as their numbers. Today only a fraction remains of what was once an active era in :Mykonian history.

Little Venice

Where the most western part of the town meets the sea is the area known as "Little Venice". Here the buildings have been constructed right on the sea's edge with their balconies overhanging the water. During the 16th and 17th century pirating was common and it is believed this area was used for the necessary quick loading and unloading of goods.

Paraportiani

One of the most famous architectural structures in Greece is the church, Paraportiani. Positioned near the main harbor entrance, this church is the central feature of the "Kastro" or castle area, the oldest section of town. It's name means inner or secondary door which it was to the Medieval stone walls which encircled the area. First begun in 1475, Paraportiani in reality is a group of five smaller churches which were constructed over a period of time and not completed until well into the 17th century. The two story structure was molded together utilizing four of it's churches to form a base for the fifth church which when placed on top formed a central domed roof.

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Archaeological Museum

Located adjacent to the town's commercial harbor this museum houses marble sculptures, ceramics and jewellery, recovered from the islands of Delos, Renia and Mykonos. Included in this collection is a large ceramic vase dated 7th century BC which shows the oldest graphic record of the Trojan Horse.

Aegean Maritime Museum

Located in the center of town near the area Tria Pigadia the museum displays in the form of models a collection of ships from the pre-Minoan period through to the 19th century. Also on display are nautical and ancient artifacts related to the history of shipping on Mykonos.

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Folklore Museum

Located in the "Kastro" or castle area of town and next to Paraportiani a large collection of 19th century antiques can be viewed which include, to name just a few, furniture, tools, ceramics, photographs, and local musical instruments.

Folklore branch museums - "Lena's House"

Situated next to the Maritime museum is an authentic 19th century middle class Mykonian house, completely restored with furnishings.

"The Boni Mill"

One of the island's best examples of a 16th century windmill overlooks the village on the upper east section of town. The mill has been maintained and is fully functional featuring it's customary wood-burning stone oven.

Government

Mykonos is a separate regional unit of the South Aegean region, and the only municipality of the regional unit.[6] As a part of the 2011 Kallikratis government reform, the regional unit Mykonos was created out of part of the former Cyclades Prefecture. The municipality, unchanged at the Kallikratis reform, also includes the islands Delos, Rineia and several uninhabited islets. The total area of the municipality is 105.2 km2 (41 sq mi)

It has little natural fresh water and relies on the desalination of sea water in order to meet the needs of its population.

Delos

One of Greece's most famous archaeologic sites is the small island of Delos. Under the jurisdiction of Mykonos and situated just 2 kilometers to the west the entire island has been declared a national museum. Access to the island has been made readily available through excursions which leave daily from the main harbor of Mykonos and some of the more popular beaches

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