Mykonos – A historical flashback from the ancient to modern times

Mykonos is an Aegean Sea island that belongs to the Cyclades municipality. Its capital is Mykonos Town, also known as Chora, which is located on the western side of the island. Also, it is part of a complex that includes the islands of Delos, Rhenia, and some rocky islets. 

Without a doubt, Mykonos is a popular tourist destination in the Mediterranean, especially since the 1950s, bearing several noteworthy distinctions over time. Here are some facts and a brief historical flashback of Mykonos that you will probably find interesting!

The name

Mykonos took its name from the ancient hero called Mykonos, a descendant of King Anios of Delos island, the son of the god Apollo, and nymph Roiou, the daughter of god Dionysus. Ancient Greek mythology even mentions that Mykonos is the place where Hercules fought with the Giants, killed, and buried them under the rocks of the island. 

The ancient times

At first, Mykonos was believed to be inhabited by Egyptians and Phoenicians. However, it is said that the Ionians took over the island in 1000 B.C and made it their home. During those times, Mykonos had two major cities. One was located in the current position of Mykonos Town, while the other was close to the Palaiokastro region. But, when it comes to the cultural value of Mykonos, it cannot be compared to that of Delos island, which was perceived to be a cultural hub of international prestige. Ancient Greek gods and heroes, such as Poseidon, Zeus, Apollo, Dimitra, Dionysus, and Hercules, had their own altars in Delos. 

The Byzantine years

The Romans gave their place to the Byzantines, who fortified Mykonos with fortresses as a means to protect the island from Arab invaders and pirates. Indeed, they managed to remain in control of the island for many years up to the 12th century. However, not long after the fourth Crusade in 1204, the Venetians became governors of Mykonos, with their influence evident across the island to date (i.e., see the Little Venice area and the Venetian-style architecture of some buildings). 

Mykonos Beach

The most recent years (the 1800s – today)

Mykonos was battered with epidemics and famine at around the end of the 18th century. However, the turning of the century found the island with a population increase due to many people migrating from Naxos, Crete, Kimolos, and other islands. At the same time, Mykonos is empowered by its powerful bourgeoise and nurtures strong ties with south Russia, Italy, France, Constantinople, Syros island, Smyrna, and Alexandria. 


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Nevertheless, Mykonos’ growth was short-lived as the Korinth canal and the development of technology around the end of the 19th century took away much of its dominance. This forced many Mykonos residents to look for a better future abroad (first, they turned to Russia until World War I and then the USA). Others fled to the new centres for the wealthy middle class – Athens and Piraeus. As for those that chose to stay and fight to improve their lives, they found tourism to be a particularly lucrative sector that could benefit the island. Indeed, tourism begum in the early 1930s, when politicians, rich merchants, and artists started visiting the island only to leave enchanted and bewitched by its natural beauties and the crystalline waters.

The rest of it, you already know! Mykonos is a major party mecca and a must-visit summer destination, beloved by celebs, blue-bloods, Hollywood stars, artists, singers, top athletes, and jet setters that step foot on the island by the thousands every year. 

 

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