Mykonos is my favourite Greek island and I was working there for 3 summer seasons!
This island is the Ibiza of Greece. A beautiful island in the Cyclades, which looks just like the postcards: white little houses with flowers and blue windows and doors, hand painted streets, windmills, pigeon keepers, chimneys, lots of little churches, wonderful restaurants and cafes and amazing beaches.
Many of the Greek “jetsetters” either have a house here or visit every summer, and the nightlife is very developed. You will see a lot of eccentrics especially at night time. Even though it is a party-island, it is not as loud as for example Ios and Kos, so you can get sleep at night.
Mykonos has a reputation for being a summer resort for mainly gay men, which is not entirely true. The gay audience is present, but it is also a glamorous place for the rich and famous, which is painfully clear to whoever has a look at the prices on the menus.
The island was once very poor, and the people tried to survive on fishing and stock breeding on the harsh land. A major industry was also ship construction. Tourism has turned the economy over since it started in the 1950’s and the locals have a double attitude towards this: it may have saved the economy but some also feel that it has taken over too much.
Little Venice on April
above photo via littlelovingthings.blogspot.com
With the exception of Mykonos town, Chora, all over Mykonos you will see the typical Cycladic cubist style of architecture. Small, often single storey white cubes sprinkled over the landscape like little iced cakes. Mykonos town however offers a different architectural style that is unique in the area. Here, flanking the narrow winding streets are buildings reminiscent of a medieval style.
Every house is reached via a flight of straight steps, parallel to the road, whilst the space underneath these steps was traditionally kept for storage. Atop the steps is a wooden painted balcony that sometimes projects over the road to nearly touch the balcony of the house across the street. Here too, you will find a change from the ubiquitous blue and white decor of Greece. In Mykonos town the wooden structures of every house are painted in a rainbow of colours, against the whitewashed walls and blue sky, the effect is absolutely delightful.
Outside of the capital Chora there are very few densely populated areas. Villages and hamlets scatter the hillsides. In some areas there is fairly intensive development of holiday complexes, although it must be said, in a very low-key and sympathetic way. Being an island that receives the four winds head on, there are very few trees in the landscape. this, together with the rocks and boulders strewn across the terrain, give a strange and desolate feeling to the island that contrasts starkly to the sophisticated busyness of its main town.
Mykonos according to mythology, this was where Heracles killed the giants. The rocks around the island are supposedly their corpses!!!
Mykonos was the first ruler on the island according to tradition, and the first known settlers we know of were the Ionians in the 9th century BC.
The island was to fall under Athenian, Macedonian and Roman rule in the years to come, just like the surrounding islands.
The Venetians conquered the island in 1207, and their Duchy later until the Turks invaded in the first half of the 16th century. All Greek school-children have read about the heroine Manto Mavrogenous who success-fully fought the Turks after they tried to land on the island in 1822, a year after the war of Independence had broken out. Her house can still be seen on Mykonos.
Mykonos was liberated in 1830. It was quite exhausted after the war, and it was not until tourism started pick up that the island got on its feet economically again.
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