Arriving on the island of Hydra, we were invited into the office of the mayor of the island Dr. George Koukoudakis.
He has been mayor since 1st of September 2014 and is the youngest mayor of Hydra since 180 years. After a warm welcome he told us everything worth knowing about the island.
Dr. Koukoudakis gave us a historical overview and told us about the seafarers and sponge divers.
Hydra’s glorious history starts in the 18th century. 140 warships were built here, thats why, at the time the island had the nickname Small Britain.
A famous son of the island was Admiral Andreas Miaoulis, commander of the naval forces during the Greek War of Independence. His heart and the bones are buried in the Museum of Hydra. The museum is located in the Church of the Assumption. The building from the 17th century is at the same time cathedral of Hydra.
In 1749, the first Merchant Marine Academy in the world, still operating today, was founded. The tiny island is the birthplace of five Greek Prime ministers and of the first President of the Hellenic Republic.
In the past, Hydra has been declared by UNESCO as the best preserved Mediterranean island. This is why Richard Branson, owner of Virgin Atlantic received no planning permission for his hotel resort.
The island of Hydra is has a lot of popular festivals. Dr. Koukoudakis just mentioned some of them.
Easter is of great popularity with tourists not least because of the island’s unusual local customs. E.g. Good Friday, the Epitaph is submerged in the sea to bless the waters and bring luck to divers and seafarers.
The most famous resident of Hydra of our time is Leonard Cohen. He started his career on the island of Hydra. In the summer of 2015, his sons intend to organize a concert in his honor, here.
End of June is the Miaoulis Festival to honor the most important man of the Greek Revolution of 1821, Admiral Andreas Miaoulis. The three-day festival ends with fireworks and the symbolic burning of a Turkish flagship.
The tourism Hydra is more of a green tourism. Besides water sports, excursions and cooking classes are offered.
Cheese, honey and goat meat is produced on the island. The goats drink salt water, which gives the meat a particularly good taste.
A specialty of Hydra is the almond sweets Amygdalota. We could not leave the mayor and his representative John Pelegris without tasting taste this delicacy.
Disclosure: The visit was part of the Athens One day Cruse, we were kindly invited by Hydraiki but all opinions about our experiences are our own.
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