DISCOVERING THE ISLAND ON FOOT
The Island – The Area
Hydra in the antiquity owes its name to the abundant waters that flowed from the many springs all over the island. It was inhabited since the After Neolithic Era (3000-2600 B.C.). It has had a considerable maritime history, which emerges from every corner of the settlement. The contribution of Hydra, which owned the most powerful fleet in the Aegean, during the Revolution of 1821, was decisive.
The town of Hydra has been characterized as civilizing monument while the whole island has been defined as archaeological place. For many decades, it has been one of the most favorite’s destinations of both the Greek and the foreign visitors. The island has been recognized as an international Centre of Artistic Creation and famous artists have been inspired by Hydra’s unique landscape.Hydra is located in the centre of an extensive area and can become the basis for excursions to other places, which are worth visiting. There are the nearest places, such as Poros, Spetses, Hermioni, Porto Heli, Nafplion.
The island is characterized by its exquisite Mansion houses while it is famous for its idyllic sunsets from the areas of Spilia and Periptero. During the 1950’s the island constituted one of the most significant cultural centers where important personalities of the world of the Arts and Letters would gather from both Greece and abroad, thus, transforming the small island into an attraction pole of artistic creation.
Five Greek Prime Ministers in total were born in the island of Hydra: Georgios Koundouriotis, Antonios Kriezis, Dimitrios Voulgaris, Athanassios Miaoulis and Petros Voulgaris. The most important moment in the island’s history, however, was when the dear departed naval Admiral Pavlos Koundouriotis became the first President of Greek Democracy. Another important element of the island’s history is the participation and leading role of the island’s naval fleet during the war against the Turkish occupation and the fact that it greatly contributed to the emancipation of Greece.
Hydra Island in Cinema
Not long after the 50s, the island of Hydra turned into favorite scenery of the top cinematographic productions of the times back then. This is where the film “Boy on a Dolphin” staring Sophia Loren was filmed and where the exquisite Greek film “The girl wearing black” starring Elli Lambeti was directed by Michalis Kakogiannis. Hydra was also the location where the famous film “Phaedra” staring Melina Merkouri was shot. Those three productions mentioned above, were just the beginning of a string of other films that followed later on. At least 20 Greek movies were filmed on the island during the 60s alone, which yielded to a memorable parade of the most famous domestic actors and actresses.
Visiting historical sites
The island lists several museums and other buildings of historical importance which one can visit. The Ecclesiastical / Byzantine Museum of the island which is hosted at the Metropolis church in the main town, exhibits specimens of religious importance some of which dating back to the 18th century. Among those specimens, you can admire the hagiography of Virgin Mary“Rodo Amarando” whose creation dates back to 1774.You may also find interesting to visit the Hydra Museum Historical Archives which was established in 1918 and is open everyday to visitors wishing to have a closer look at the Archives and the section of the Museum, or even the Library.The Mansion Houses of Pavlos and Lazaros Koundouriotis are open to the public who is interested to see the rich, historical material streaming especially from the Greek Revolution against the Turkish occupation.