The island

Kythnos (Greek: Κύθνος) is a Greek island and municipality in the Western Cyclades between Kea and Serifos. It is 56 nautical miles (104 km) from the harbor of Piraeus. The municipality Kythnos is 100.187 km2 (38.68 sq mi)[2] in area and has a coastline of about 100 km (62 mi). It has more than 70 beaches, many of which are still inaccessible by road. Of particular note is the crescent-shaped isthmus of fine sand at Kolona.

The island has two significant settlements, the village of Messaria or Kythnos (pop. 561 in 2011 census), known locally as Chora, and the village of Dryopis or Dryopida Dryopida (pop. 325), also known as Chorio. Both villages are notable for their winding and often stepped streets, too narrow for vehicular traffic. The villages are very picturesque but in different architectural styles. Chora has the more-typical flat roofs of the Cyclades, while Dryopida's rooftops are slanted and tiled. Chora is also notable for its large Greek Orthodox Church.

There is also a growing coastal settlement called Kanala on the east side of the island, and many of the larger beaches are settled by a handful of residents. Aghios Dimitrios, at the southern tip of the island, is a mostly modern settlement, with small vacation houses dotting the hillside above a wide beach that is dotted with sea daffodils. On the northeast end of the island lies Loutra (pop. 81), a village famous for its thermal springs, which are said to have curative properties. Although the large tourist hotel there has been closed for several years, the bathhouse is still functioning and visitors may soak in its marble tubs for a modest fee.

The port town is called Merichas (pop. 369), its population significantly fluctuating during the year. Before the 1970s, there were no year-round residents in recent history; a Greek fisherman named Manolas Psaras and his wife Foto were the first to live in the port year-round. Today, there is a growing year-round population, and, especially during the peak of the summer tourist season, the town becomes quite busy. Many residents of the port speak at least some English, the most popular second language. Merihas is connected to Piraeus and to Lavrion by ferry boat, and the ride takes one to four hours, depending on the speed of the ship and the weather. Construction of a new mole began in 2005 to accommodate larger ferryboats and was completed in 2008. Kythnos was until recently considered to be one of the last Cycladic islands unaffected by the impact of tourism, but this is inexorably changing. Still, the island has not yet been overdeveloped, and in the more remote areas of the villages, traditional ways live on relatively unchanged.


 

User Rating: 1 / 5

Star ActiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar Inactive

History

Pre-history

Kythnos can lay claim to one of the oldest known habitations in the Cycladic islands, a Mesolithic settlement (10000 BCE – 8000 BCE) at Maroulas on the northeast coast. The site, close to the village of Loutra, is situated on the shore, and large portions have eroded into the sea. Excavations in 1996 found intact human skeletons, along with stone artifacts and part of a floor pavement, which indicates a long-term settlement, probably of hunter-gatherers.

Pre-Antiquity

Third millennium BCE (First Cycladic Period) findings at Skouries near the highest peak of the island, Mt. Profitis Elias, suggest that Kythnos was a supplier of raw materials for metallurgy to other islands during the Bronze Age. Remains of copper smelting sites and open-air copper mines were investigated in 1984-1985. (A recent paper by Myrto Georgakopoulo points to the seminal work here by Gale and others.)

The earliest inhabitants of the island known to historians were the Kares (Carians), a pre-Hellenic tribe probably allied to or under the dominion of the Minoans, who eventually were forced by pressure of invading tribes to move on and settle in Asia Minor. Herodotus (Bk. viii, 73) records that in the 13th century BCE, another pre-Hellenic tribe, the Dryopes, originally from the Greek mainland near Mount Parnassus, migrated to the islands, first to Euboea and later spreading to Kea, Kythnos, and beyond. This tribe most probably gave rise to the name of one of the two main villages, Dryopis or Dryopida. Some sources say the island took its name from King Kythnos of the Dryopes; others suggest this is a mythical rather than a historical figure. (Speculations on the origin of the name are contained in Vallinda, 1896.) The Dryopes eventually moved on as well under pressure from Ionians, who migrated out of mainland Greece as Dorian tribes moved in from the north.


User Rating: 0 / 5

Star InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar Inactive

Read more: History

Modern Kythnos

In the 19th century, Kythnians mainly earned their living as they had for centuries before: as shepherds or by fishing. The island had few natural resources and, lacking a deep-water mooring for boats, was relatively inaccessible. Then, as the new century dawned, iron ore was discovered on the island and Kythnians were able to supplement their meager incomes by working in the mines. These mines, however, were mostly played out by World War II, and once again, the population of the island went into decline, as young people left to find employment and a better life in Athens or even further afield.

The Greek tourist boom beginning in the mid-20th century largely bypassed Kythnos because its harbor lacked a deep-water dock for ferryboats. The construction of a new mole in 1974 precipitated great changes. Today, the island is a modern, prosperous place, with a burgeoning tourist trade. It is in the forefront of alternative energy experiments, with the establishment in 1982 of Greece’s first wind park.[3][4] With the addition of a photovoltaic system and storage batteries, the amount of diesel fuel required to supply the island’s electricity has been reduced by 11%.[5] Numerous individual houses on remote coves are equipped with photovoltaic systems, and nearly all houses employ solar water heaters.

Due to its proximity to Athens, Kythnos has become a fashionable setting for vacation homes, in addition to being an accessible destination for foreign visitors. Besides its numerous beaches and picturesque villages, it also is the site of one of the largest caves in Greece, Katafiki Cave in Dryopida. This cave, first visited in the 1830s and described by the geologist Fiedler, has unique "schratten" or rock curtains, as well as speleotherms. It was the site of an iron mine until 1939 and has now been developed as a tourist attraction.


 

User Rating: 0 / 5

Star InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar Inactive

Gallery

team1
team2
team3
team4
team5
team6
team7
team8
team9
team10
team11
team12
team12
team12
team12

Map

  • Πατήστε πάνω για μεγέθυνση (Press the button to zoom in)
Back to Top