Μύκονος

( Mykonos )

Mykonos (, UK also ; Greek: Μύκονος [ˈmikonos]) is a Greek island, part of the Cyclades, lying between Tinos, Syros, Paros and Naxos. The island has an area of 85.5 square kilometres (33.0 sq mi) and rises to an elevation of 341 metres (1,119 feet) at its highest point. At the 2011 census, there were 10,134 inhabitants, most of whom lived in the largest town, Mykonos, which is on the west coast. The town is also known as Chora (i.e. 'Town' in Greek, following the common practice in Greece when the name of the island itself is the same as the name of the principal town).

Mykonos's nickname is "The Island of the Winds", due to the very strong winds that usually blow on the...Read more

Mykonos (, UK also ; Greek: Μύκονος [ˈmikonos]) is a Greek island, part of the Cyclades, lying between Tinos, Syros, Paros and Naxos. The island has an area of 85.5 square kilometres (33.0 sq mi) and rises to an elevation of 341 metres (1,119 feet) at its highest point. At the 2011 census, there were 10,134 inhabitants, most of whom lived in the largest town, Mykonos, which is on the west coast. The town is also known as Chora (i.e. 'Town' in Greek, following the common practice in Greece when the name of the island itself is the same as the name of the principal town).

Mykonos's nickname is "The Island of the Winds", due to the very strong winds that usually blow on the island. Tourism is a major industry and Mykonos is known for its vibrant nightlife and for being a gay-friendly destination with many establishments catering for the LGBT community.

Herodotus mentions Carians as the original inhabitants of the island.[1] Ionians from Athens seem to have followed next in the early 11th century BC. There were many people living on the neighboring island of Delos, only 2 km (1.2 miles) away, which meant that Mykonos became an important place for supplies and transit. It was, however, during ancient times a rather poor island with limited agricultural resources. Its inhabitants were polytheists and worshiped many gods.[2]

 Mykonos town (Chora)

Mykonos came under the control of the Romans during the reign of the Roman Empire and then became part of the Byzantine Empire until the 12th century. In 1204, with the fall of Constantinople in the Fourth Crusade, Mykonos was occupied by Andrea Ghisi. The island was ravaged by the Catalans at the end of the 13th century and finally given over to direct Venetian rule in 1390.

In 1537, while the Venetians still reigned, Mykonos was attacked by Hayreddin Barbarossa, the admiral of Suleiman the Magnificent and an Ottoman fleet established itself on the island. The Ottomans, under the leadership of Kapudan Pasha, imposed a system of self-governance comprising a governor and an appointed council of syndics. When the castle of Tinos fell to the Ottomans in 1718, the last of the Venetians withdrew from the region.

Up until the end of the 18th century, Mykonos prospered as a trading center, attracting many immigrants from nearby islands, in addition to regular pirate raids. In June 1794 the Battle of Mykonos was fought between British and French ships in the island's main harbor.

 Portrait of Manto Mavrogenous at the Aegean Maritime Museum in Mykonos

The Greek Revolution against the Ottoman Empire broke out in 1821 and Mykonos played an important role, led by the national heroine, Manto Mavrogenous. Mavrogenous, a well-educated aristocrat guided by the ideas of the Enlightenment, sacrificed her family's fortune for the Greek cause. Greece became an independent state in 1830. A statue of her sits in the middle of Manto Mavrogenous square in the main town.

At the end of February 1884, the British travellers Theodore and Mabel Bent visited the island, ostensibly to witness the traditional funeral lamentations (‘mœrologia’).[3]

As a result of sailing and merchant activity, the island's economy quickly picked up but declined again during the late 19th century and especially after the opening of the Corinth Canal in 1904 and the First World War at the beginning of the 20th century. Many Mykonians left the island to find work in mainland Greece and many foreign countries, especially the United States.[4]

Tourism soon came to dominate the local economy, owing a lot to the important excavations carried out by the French School of Archaeology, which began work in Delos in 1873. Mykonos became popular with international "jet set" tourists in the 1960s. In the 70s it was popular spot for Americans to treat as a nude beach, which Americans imagined to be a feature of those natural "far out" Greeks, and then flourished further to become a popular gay tourist destination in the 1980s. By the 2000s, Mykonos had become one of Greece's most expensive islands.

Mythology

In Greek mythology, Mykonos was named after its first ruler, Mykonos (Μύκονος),[5] the son or grandson of the god Apollo and a local hero. The island is also said to have been the location of the Gigantomachy, the great battle between Zeus and Giants and where Hercules killed the invincible giants having lured them from the protection of Mount Olympus. According to myth, the large rocks all over the island are said to be the petrified corpses of the giants.[6]

^ "Herodotus' Histories". ^ Christopher Street. That New Magazine, Incorporated. 1995. p. 19. Retrieved 12 May 2012. ^ “Everywhere in the Cyclades we were told that when we came to Mykonos we should hear the best lamentations over the dead that exist in Greece: that barren Mykonos had this one' unenviable speciality; nowhere else could the wailing women… sing over the dead such stirring, heart-rending dirges as there.” (Theodore Bent, The Cyclades, or Life Among the Insular Greeks, London, 1885, p.209). ^ Tsakos, Konstantinos (1998). Delos-Mykonos: A Guide to the History and Archaeology. Delos Island: Hesperos. ISBN 9789608623712. ^ Stephanus of Byzantium, s. vv. Andros, Mykonos ^ Freely, John (4 June 2006). The Cyclades: Discovering the Greek Islands of the Aegean. I.B.Tauris. p. 111. ISBN 978-1-84511-160-1. Retrieved 12 May 2012.
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