Cyclades Islands – Greece
Dazzling white villages, golden beaches, and clear azure water are just the start of what these islands have to offer. Ancient Greek geographers gave this unique cluster of islands the name Cyclades because they saw that they formed a circle ('kyklos" in Greek) of sorts around the sacred island of Delos. According to myth, the islands were the debris that remained after a battle between giants. In reality, they resulted from colossal geological events like earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. Their colors are blue and white like the Greek flag. The islands come in all sizes and, though the ingredients are the same – incomparable light, translucent water, heavenly beaches, lustrous white buildings, and bare rock, each one has its own distinct character...
The islands have a total land area of 2,528 sq km. Out of the 2,200 islands, islets, and smaller rocks, only 25 are populated today. The capital, Ermoupoli, is located on Syros island. The name “Cyclades” means “the islands that form a circle” around the sacred island of Delos. Greek mythology refers to the Cyclades as a creation of Poseidon (or Neptune), who turned Cyclades nymphs into islands when they incurred his wrath. Cyclades have been inhabited since prehistoric times; however Cycladic culture flourished between 3200 B.C. and 1100 B.C. (Early Cycladic, Middle Cycladic and Late Cycladic Period) when the islands, due to their geographic position, became a trade and cultural center. In the 16th century B.C, the eruption of the volcano of Thira (Santorini) brought the region’s development to a halt. A few centuries later Dorians settled in the Cyclades. During the Byzantine period, the Cyclades islands belonged to the Aegean Theme (Administrative Division) and later passed to Venetian and Frankish rulers. For many centuries these islands suffered pirate raids, which was why they were granted permission to build ships and fight back the pirates during the Turkish occupation. With the Treaty of London in 1830, the islands were freed and became part of the Greek state.
Today, millions of Greek and foreign travelers visit the Cyclades islands, looking for bright sunlight and clear blue waters to create their own version of a “magic holiday”.