Heritage and History on the Greek Island of Mykonos

Europe - Editor - 05 April 2013

Heritage and History on the Greek Island of Mykonos

With its pristine blue-shuttered, white-washed buildings, the Greek island of Mykonos has long been a popular holiday destination. As part of the Cyclades islands, Mykonos is surrounded by the islands of Tinos, Syros, Delos, Naxos and Paros, all of which are well worth visiting on a day trip by boat. The economy of the island is driven by tourism and visitors are made to feel most welcome. There are a number of interesting sites to visit on the island, and its beautiful beaches and crystal clear waters are a huge draw card, offering a range of exciting watersport options and sheer indulgent relaxation.

There are sixteen windmills on the island, seven of which are the first thing visitors see when arriving in the harbor by boat. The windmills can be seen from all over the main town, also named Mykonos, and are regularly featured on postcards and in holiday photographs. The first windmills were built in the 16th century by the Venetians, and subsequent windmills followed the same design – round, whitewashed buildings with pointed thatched roofs. Most of the windmills face north to take advantage of the prevailing winds, and they were primarily used to mill wheat until the middle of the 20th century. They remain standing today as part of the historical heritage of the island.

Another favorite subject for Mykonos postcards and holiday snaps is Petros the pelican – the official mascot of the island. An injured Great White Pelican was found by fisherman off the coast of Mykonos in 1958. He was nursed back to health by locals, named Petros, and soon became a familiar sight on the waterfront of the town. Sadly, Petros was hit by a car in December 1985 and died, being mourned by locals and visitors alike. Jackie Kennedy-Onassis reportedly donated a pelican named Irene to the island, with the Hamburg Zoo donating a second pelican, and years later a third injured pelican was found offshore and nursed back to health - so currently there are three Great White Pelicans living on the waterfront, Irene, Nikolas and Petros (the second).

Other attractions on the island of Mykonos include the Church of Panagia Paraportiani, the Archeological Museum, Little Venice and the Aegean Maritime Museum, so be sure to visit them all when taking a vacation on this beautiful Greek island.


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