Monday, July 6, 2009

Greece, Hydra Island


What makes Hydra unique in Greece is the fact that it has escaped modern development. We do not have high rise apartment buildings, condominium developments, large hotels. Everywhere from France to Turkey along the Mediterranean coast you will find ugly concrete architecture, but NOT in Hydra where strict architectural conservation laws are enforced to preserve the beauty of the island.

NO NOISE POLLUTION : We do not have an airport, we do not permit private vehicles or motorbikes and there are no roads suitable for bus transport. Hydra has no land traffic, no annoying engines to disturb the peace. Only a few municipal utility trucks are allowed on the island.

NO INDUSTRIAL POLLUTION : As the economy of Hydra consists of light tourism, traditional crafts, fishing and farming, there are virtually no activities taking place that seriously pollute the environment.

CHILD FRIENDLY : We do not have childcare activity centres and sports facilities etc. that other destinations might offer as we don't need them. Hydra is just a natural playground for youngsters offering a rare sense of freedom. They can drop a fishing line in the port, explore the winding streets without the parents being overly worried and you would be surprised how much enjoyment children derive from simple island pleasures, such as seeing a donkey deliver the shopping. They do not seem to miss all the paraphernalia of the hi-tech world. Teenagers love it for the romantic charm of the town and having a choice of cafes and places where they can meet. They can swim by day and dance at night in open-air discos.

UNIQUE ARCHITECTURE : You will not find anywhere else in Greece such a concentration of gracious 18th and 19th century architecture. In 1830 Hydra had a population of c. 30,000 and was dominated by wealthy merchants and shipowners. Venetian builders, carpenters and artisans were imported to work on their mansions. Practically all have been preserved along with hundreds of smaller attractive houses. So the impression you receive when stepping off the boat at Hydra is little changed from that you would have seen two centuries ago.

ART : All of the above features, plus a favourable climate and the natural beauty of the island have meant that it is a perfect place to allow your creative powers to develop. Hydra has a long history of attracting prominent artists, writers and other creative people. Among those are the American poet and songwriter Leonard Cohen and the painters Michel Le Goff the protagonist of Kymatic Art, Jannis Kounelis father of the arte povera, Brice Marden an American minimalist etc... have homes on Hydra. As a result of over five decades of intense foreign cultural input into this island, there are now regular art exhibitions held in small galleries and you will also find groups of watercolour enthusiasts painting on the sidewalk. Greek artists and patrons have followed suit and several of Greece's most recognised living artists and collectors have now made Hydra their home.

CAFE SOCIETY : Numerous cafes line the port with comfortable wicker armchairs. Here gather daily the personalities of the island to philosophize about life and art. Sitting under enormous canvas awnings right next to the water and sipping a Greek coffee, glass of chilled wine or an ouzo is such a pleasant way to pass the time that it attracts famous faces like Valentino and Joan Collins who you might see at their favourite cafes in the Summer season.
information from :

"A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step." -- Lao Tzu
Copyright © Demetrios the Traveler


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