Friday, August 14, 2009

Day 68, Mykonos, Cyclades, Greece

Next stop....Mykonos....which lies between Tinos, Siros, Paros and Naxos; spans an area of 105.183 km2 (41 sq mi) and rises at an elevation of 341 m (1,119 ft) at its highest point.

The island is composed primarily of granite.

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

In Greek mythology Mykonos was the location of the battle between Zeus and the Titan, and the island was named in honor of Apollo's grandson Mykons.

This was also where Heracles killed the giants. The rocks around the island are supposedly their corpses!!!

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.....and comparatively....this island seems too touristy......

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 col
ours, against the whitewashed walls and blue sky, the effect is absolutely delightful.

Why are there so many windmills here?

Apparently, in olden times the people from all over the Cyclades would bring their wheat and barley to these mills to be made into flour.

Just beneath the windmills is the area of Alefkandra, or 'little Venice'. Its original name Alefkandra derives from its original use as a laundry and it was here that the women of Mykonos washed their clothes.....Nopi says that the proximity of the homes to the water made it easy for the smugglers and pirates....

Tonight we are going to sample fine dining, and the notoriously wild night life, clubbing and party scene...of the world famous Mykonos......

This beautiful island in the Cyclades, looks just like it does in the postcards: white little houses with flowers and blue windows and doors, hand painted streets, windmills, pigeon keepers, chimneys, lots of little churches and wonderful restaurants and cafes.......

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