Posts tagged ‘islands’

July 17, 2012

Hydra, a rocky island

by Penny BroJacquie

Hydra is a rocky island and it is separated from the Peloponnesus by narrow strip of water. In ancient times it was called Hydrea (derived from the Greek word for water) as a reference to the springs on it.

You won’t see any motor vehicles on the island as only rubbish trucks are allowed. Public transportation is provided by donkeys, bicycles, and water taxis. Hydra is reached from Piraeus by high speed hydrofoils, catamarans and ferry boats. It is also connected by ferries to Aegina, Poros, Spetses, Nafplion and Monemvasia. On weekends Hydra is full of tourists as it is a favourite weekend destination of the Athenians.

You can visit the Manors and the Museums, walk through the picturesque paths and swim in rocky beaches such as Hydronetta, Avlaki, Kamini and Spilia. Any other beach is reachable only by sea transportation.

The main town is simply known as “Limani” (aka port) and it is the island’s gateway to the world. Bastions with cannons lie on both sides of the port. They were used to protect the city from attacks.

The town of Hydra is built amphitheatrically inside a close cove and it is surrounded by huge rocks. A strand of restaurants, shops, markets, and galleries lead up to steep stone streets and outwards from the harbour area.

The astonishing manors are the jewels of Hydra. Once mansions of the captains with significant role in the War of Independence, they are mostly used nowadays as Museums. On the left-hand side of the harbour the Tsamadou mansion is standing. It now hosts a Maritime Academy and the Tombazi mansion is part of the School of Fine Arts.

Mansions as those of Lazarus and George Kountouriotis, Boudouri, Kriezi, Voulgari, and Miaouli now contain collections of 18th Century local furniture. The Lazarus Kountouriotis mansion operates as extension branch of the National Museum of History.

At the eastern side of the port, one can see the statue of Andreas Miaoulis. Miaoulis was an admiral and politician who commanded Greek naval forces during the Greek War of Independence (1821-1829).

Many movies have been shoot in Hydra. The most famous of them was “Boy on a Dolphin” (1957) with Sophia Loren starring in it. A statue with the same theme is there to remind of the film.

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