About Cyclades islands

About Cyclades

The Cyclades islands are the most popular group of Greek islands in the Aegean Sea. The name of this group comes from the Greek word cyclos, which means around, around the sacred island of Delos that was an important religious centre in the ancient times.

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General information


Architecture

The islands of Cyclades are famous for their distinctive architecture: the cycladic architecture, with the white sugar-cubed houses, the narrow paved streets, the blue church domes and the colorful doors and window shutters. Particularly, blue and white are the dominant colors of Cyclades. It is quite impressive that the islands were painted in these two colors after a government decision in 1937: the Greek dictator Ioannis Metaxas ordered that the houses in Cyclades were painted in white and blue so that they match with the blue Greek sky and the white foam of the waves.


Nature

The nature of Cyclades is arid and wild. The beaches have crystal water and soft or pebbled coast. Geographically, the islands of Cyclades are considered the peak of a submerged mountainous terrain, with the exception of two volcanic islands, Santorini and Milos. The climate is generally mild and dry, temperatures are cool and northern winds known as meltemia blow in summer, making the atmosphere chilly in hot summer days.


History

The most important point in the history of Cyclades was the early Copper Age. The first-Cycladic civilization developed in the 3rd millennium B.C. in parallel with the first-Minoan civilization of Crete. The Cycladic statues are the most characteristic samples of this civilization. In the centuries that followed, the islands of Cyclades naturally developed a very strong connection with the sea and their ships navigated the entire Mediterranean.
Trade activities brought wealth to the islands and their geographical position led to their occupation by many conquerors over time: by classical Athens in the 5th century B.C., the Venetians in the Middle Age and the Ottomans in the 15th century. In 1830, the islands were finally set free and they were annexed to the modern Greek State. Due to their geographical isolation from Athens and their limited economical sources, the islands of Cyclades gradually declined.
From the early till the mid 20th century, many inhabitants immigrated to mainland Greece or abroad in search for a better life. Today, most islands live from fishing, agriculture and tourism.


Discover the islands of the Cyclades

The most popular island of the Cyclades is Santorini, a volcanic island whose villages are built on the edge of a submerged caldera. From every spot of caldera, visitors can see the top of the volcano and enjoy the most romantic sunset in the world. Due to its wild natural beauty and the fabulous sunset, Santorini is frequently chosen as a wedding and honeymoon destination.
The second top island of Cyclades is Mykonos, famous for its traditional architecture and the vivid nightlife. Enjoy the sunset from the windmills on the hilltop, walk around the picturesque village of Mykonos Town (Chora) and Little Venice and swim in the exotic beaches. At night, the activity is concentrated in the bars and clubs of Chora.
Paros and Naxos are also very popular islands in Cyclades. In general, every island has something different yet charming to offer to the visitors. Frequently connected by ferry or plane from Athens, the islands of Cyclades constitute the most typical destinations for holidays in Greece.

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