Mykonos Island

Mykonos(/ˈmɪkəˌnɒs/, /ˈmɪkəˌnoʊs/;[1] Greek: Μύκονος [ˈmikonos]) is a Greek island, part of the Cyclades, lying between Tinos, Syros, Paros and Naxos. The island spans 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. There are 10,134 inhabitants (2011 census) most of whom live in the largest town, Mykonos, which lies on the west coast. The town is also known as Chora (i.e. the 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' nickname is The island of the winds. Tourism is a major industry.

History

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 Mando Mavrogenous square in the main town.

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.

Tourism soon came to dominate the local economy, owing a lot to the important excavations carried out by the French School of Archaeology, which was began work in Delos in 1873.

In the 1930s many famous artists, politicians and wealthy Europeans began spending their vacations on the island and Mykonos quickly became an international hot spot. Temporarily suspended during the Second World War, tourists once again rushed to Mykonos' luxurious shores in the 1950s and have not stopped since.

The island spans 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. It is situated 150 kilometres (93 miles) east of Athens in the Aegean Sea. The island features no rivers, but numerous seasonal streams two of which have been converted into reservoirs.

The island is composed mostly of granite and the terrain is very rocky with many areas eroded by the strong winds. High quality clay and barite, which is a mineral used as a lubricant in oil drilling, were mined on the eastern side of Mykonos until the late 1900s.

Mykonos gained the nickname "Capri of Greece" because of its numerous beaches.

It produces 4,500 cubic metres (160,000 cu ft) daily, by reverse osmosis of sea water in order to help meet the needs of its population and visitors.

 

The island has a population of nearly 12,500, most of whom live in the main town of Chora.