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The history of the island of Hydra in Greece

The island of Hydra was not very important in the ancient times although is is mentioned by Herodotus in the 5th century BC. In mythology Hydra was the sister of Medusa and a nine headed monster. Medusa had snails on her head and if you looked at her you would turn to stone. The name of Hydra comes from the word 'hydro' which means 'water' in the Greek language. In the 17th and 18th century the island was home to pirates and the population grew to about 28.000 people. In this period many ships were built on the island of Hydra. Trade and piracy brought prosperity to the island and the people of Hydra dominated the sea. The captains of the ships had the beautiful and imposing neo-classical mansions built in the harbour, that can still de admired today.

After this period in which the island florished, the number of inhabitants declined to about 3000 people and sponge fishing became the most important until tourism started to develop. The island was first discovered by artist, because of the beautiful harbour and the light on the island and after this the hippies followed in the 1960's. After this the tourism developed further and the jet-set and movie stars started to visit the island. This also made Hydra into one of the more expensive destinations, with posh boutiques, jewelry shops and cocktail bars.


Hans Huisman, http://www.angelfire.com/super2/greece/ 2014
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