The Cyclades (/ˈsɪklədiːz/; Greek: Κυκλάδες [kikˈlaðes]) are an island group in the Aegean Sea, southeast of mainland Greece and a former administrative prefecture of Greece. They are one of the island groups which constitute the Aegean archipelago. The name refers to the islands around (κυκλάς) the sacred island of Delos. The largest island of the Cyclades is Naxos.
Location of Cyclades in Greece
Location of municipalities within Cyclades Prefecture
|• Total||2,572 km2 (993 sq mi)|
|• Density||46/km2 (120/sq mi)|
|• Density rank||34th|
|ISO 3166 code||GR-82|
The significant Late Neolithic and Early Bronze Age Cycladic culture is best known for its schematic, flat idols carved out of the islands' pure white marble centuries before the great Middle Bronze Age Minoan civilization arose in Crete to the south. (These figures have been looted from burials to satisfy a thriving Cycladic antiquities market since the early 20th century.)
A distinctive Neolithic culture amalgamating Anatolian and mainland Greek elements arose in the western Aegean before 4000 BCE, based on emmer and wild-type barley, sheep and goats, pigs, and tuna that were apparently speared from small boats (Rutter). Excavated sites include Saliagos and Kephala (on Kea) with signs of copperworking, Each of the small Cycladic islands could support no more than a few thousand people, though Late Cycladic boat models show that fifty oarsmen could be assembled from the scattered communities (Rutter), and when the highly organized palace-culture of Crete arose, the islands faded into insignificance, with the exception of Delos, which retained its archaic reputation as a sanctuary throughout antiquity and until the emergence of Christianity.
The first archaeological excavations of the 1880s were followed by systematic work by the British School at Athens and by Christos Tsountas, who investigated burial sites on several islands in 1898–1899 and coined the term "Cycladic civilization". Interest lagged, then picked up in the mid-20th century, as collectors competed for the modern-looking figures that seemed so similar to sculpture by Jean Arp or Constantin Brâncuși. Sites were looted and a brisk trade in forgeries arose. The context for many of these Cycladic figurines has been mostly destroyed and their meaning may never be completely understood.
Another intriguing and mysterious object is that of the Cycladic frying pans. More accurate archaeology has revealed the broad outlines of a farming and seafaring culture that had immigrated from Anatolia c. 5000 BCE. Early Cycladic culture evolved in three phases, between c. 3300 – 2000 BCE, when it was increasingly swamped in the rising influence of Minoan Crete. The culture of mainland Greece contemporary with Cycladic culture is known as the Helladic period.
The Cyclades comprise about 220 islands, the major ones being Amorgos, Anafi, Andros, Antiparos, Delos, Ios, Kea, Kimolos, Kythnos, Milos, Mykonos, Naxos, Paros, Folegandros, Serifos, Sifnos, Sikinos, Syros, Tinos, and Thira or Santoríni. There are also many minor islands including Donousa, Eschati, Gyaros, Irakleia, Koufonisia, Makronisos, Rineia, and Schoinousa. The name "Cyclades" refers to the islands forming a circle ("circular islands") around the sacred island of Delos. Most of the smaller islands are uninhabited.
Ermoupoli on Syros is the chief town and administrative center of the former prefecture.
The islands are peaks of a submerged mountainous terrain, with the exception of two volcanic islands, Milos and Santorini. The climate is generally dry and mild, but with the exception of Naxos the soil is not very fertile; agricultural produce includes wine, fruit, wheat, olive oil, and tobacco. Lower temperatures are registered in higher elevations and these areas do not usually see wintry weather.
The Cyclades Prefecture (Greek: Νομός Κυκλάδων) was one of the prefectures of Greece. As a part of the 2011 Kallikratis government reform, the prefecture was abolished, and its territory was divided into nine regional units of the South Aegean region:
The prefecture was subdivided into the following municipalities and communities. These have been reorganised at the 2011 Kallikratis reform as well.
|Municipality||YPES code||Seat (if different)||Postal code||Area code|
|Andros (town)||3103||845 00||22820-2|
|Ano Syros||3105||841 00||22810-8|
|Drymalia||3107||Chalkeio Naxou||843 02||22850|
|Korthio||3115||Ormos Korthiou||845 02||22820-6|
|Community||YPES code||Seat (if different)||Postal code||Area code|
Note: Provinces no longer hold any legal status in Greece.
Local specialities of the Cyclades include:
The Theme of the Aegean Sea (Greek: θέμα τοῦ Αἰγαίου Πελάγους, thema tou Aigaiou Pelagous) was a Byzantine province in the northern Aegean Sea, established in the mid-9th century. As one of the Byzantine Empire's three dedicated naval themes (Greek: θέματα ναυτικᾶ), it served chiefly to provide ships and troops for the Byzantine navy, but also served as a civil administrative circumscription.Antimilos
Antimilos (Greek: Αντίμηλος) is a Greek island in the Cyclades, 13 miles (21 kilometres) northwest of Milos. Administratively, it is part of the municipality of Milos. Antimilos is an uninhabited mass of trachyte (671 m height), often called Erimomilos (Desert Milos). It is a volcanic island and the crater is still obvious. Ancient inhabitants transformed the crater to an open rain tank. On the island lives a rare variation of the common goat called Capra aegagrus pictus. It is similar but not the same as the Cretan goat known as "kri-kri" (Capra aegagrus creticus).Cycladic culture
Cycladic culture (also known as Cycladic civilisation or, chronologically, as Cycladic chronology) was a Bronze Age culture (c. 3200–c. 1050 BC) found throughout the islands of the Cyclades in the Aegean Sea. In chronological terms, it is a relative dating system for artefacts which broadly complements Helladic chronology (mainland Greece) and Minoan chronology (Crete) during the same period of time.Donousa
Donousa (Greek: Δονούσα, also Δενούσα Denousa) is an island and a former community in the Cyclades, Greece. Since the 2011 local government reform it is part of the municipality Naxos and Lesser Cyclades, of which it is a municipal unit. Donousa is the easternmost island of the Lesser Cyclades.HSC Cyclades Express
Cyclades Express is a high speed catamaran operated by NEL Lines in the Aegean.Irakleia (Cyclades)
Irakleia or Heraklia (Greek: Ηρακλειά; Ancient Greek: Ἡράκλεια) is an island and a former community in the Cyclades, Greece. Since the 2011 local government reform it is part of the municipality Naxos and Lesser Cyclades, of which it is a municipal unit. Its population was officially 141 inhabitants at the 2011 census, and its land area 17.795 square kilometres (6.9 sq mi). It is a small island between the islands of Naxos and Ios. Close to Schoinoussa, Koufonisi, Donoussa, and Keros, together they form the Lesser Cyclades. The port is called Agios Georgios, while the "capital"/chora on the top of the island is called Panagia (Madonna). The biggest caves in the Cyclades are located on Irakleia. Irakleia can be reached by ferries from Athens, Naxos and Paros.Kardiotissa
Kardiotissa (Greek: Καρδιώτισσα), anciently, Lagusa or Lagousa (Ancient Greek: Λάγουσα or Lagussa or Lagoussa (Λαγοῦσσα), is a Greek island in the Cyclades. It is uninhabited and administratively a part of the island community of Sikinos. It lies midway between that island and the island of Folegandros.Keros
Keros (Greek: Κέρος; anciently, Keria or Kereia (Ancient Greek: Κέρεια) is an uninhabited Greek island in the Cyclades about 10 km (6 mi) southeast of Naxos. Administratively it is part of the community of Koufonisia. It has an area of 15 km2 (6 sq mi) and its highest point is 432 m (1,417 ft). It was an important site to the Cycladic civilization that flourished around 2500 BC. It is now forbidden to land in Keros.
Keros is especially noted for the flat-faced Cycladic marble statues which later inspired the work of Pablo Picasso and Henry Moore.List of caves in Greece
This article show a list of caves in Greece.List of islands of Greece
Greece has a large number of islands, with estimates ranging from somewhere around 1,200 to 6,000, depending on the minimum size to take into account. The number of inhabited islands is variously cited as between 166 and 227.The largest Greek island by area is Crete, located at the southern edge of the Aegean Sea. The second largest island is Euboea, which is separated from the mainland by the 60m-wide Euripus Strait, and is administered as part of the Central Greece region. After the third and fourth largest Greek Islands, Lesbos and Rhodes, the rest of the islands are two-thirds of the area of Rhodes, or smaller.
The Greek islands are traditionally grouped into the following clusters: the Argo-Saronic Islands in the Saronic gulf near Athens; the Cyclades, a large but dense collection occupying the central part of the Aegean Sea; the North Aegean islands, a loose grouping off the west coast of Turkey; the Dodecanese, another loose collection in the southeast between Crete and Turkey; the Sporades, a small tight group off the coast of Euboea; and the Ionian Islands, chiefly located to the west of the mainland in the Ionian Sea. Crete with its surrounding islets and Euboea are traditionally excluded from this grouping.Naxos
Naxos (; Greek: Νάξος, pronounced [ˈnaksos]) is a Greek island and the largest of the Cyclades. It was the centre of archaic Cycladic culture. The island is famous as a source of emery, a rock rich in corundum, which until modern time was one of the best abrasives available.
The largest town and capital of the island is Chora or Naxos City, with 6,533 inhabitants (2001 census). The main villages are Filoti, Apiranthos, Vivlos, Agios Arsenios, Koronos and Glynado.Nisiotika
Nisiotika (Greek: νησιώτικα) is the name of the songs and dances of Greek islands including a variety of Greek styles, played by ethnic Greeks in Greece, Cyprus, Australia, the United States and elsewhere.
The Aegean Islands have a well known folk dance tradition, which comes from the dances of ancient Greece like: syrtos, sousta and ballos. The lyre is the dominant folk instrument and other like laouto, violin, askomandoura with Greek characteristics vary widely. In the Aegean, the violin and the Cretan lyra are very widespread Greek musical instruments.
Famous representative musicians and performers of Nisiotika include: Mariza Koch as credited with reviving the field in the 1970s, Yiannis Parios, Domna Samiou, the Konitopouloi family (including Giorgos Konitopoulos, Vangelis Konitopoulos, Eirini Konitopoulou, Nasia and Stella Konitopoulou) and others.
There are also prominent elements of Cretan music on the Dodecanese Islands and Cyclades.
Greek folk dances of Nisiotika include:
Karavas (dance) of Naxos
Pirgousikos of Chios
Panthiraikos Football Club (Greek: Πανθηραϊκος Α.Ο.) is a Greek football club based in Santorini, Cyclades. They currently play in Gamma Ethniki, the third division of Greek soccer.Regional units of Greece
The 74 regional units (Greek: περιφερειακές ενότητες, perifereiakés enóti̱tes, sing. περιφερειακή ενότητα, perifereiakí̱ enóti̱ta) are administrative units of Greece. They are subdivisions of the country's 13 regions, further subdivided into municipalities. They were introduced as part of the Kallikratis administrative reform on 1 January 2011 and are comparable in area and, in the mainland, coterminous with the pre-"Kallikratis" prefectures of Greece.Schoinoussa
Schoinoussa or Schinoussa (Greek: Σχοινούσσα, before 1940: Σχοινούσα, pronounced [sçiˈnusa]; anciently, Ancient Greek: Σχινοῦσσα) is an island and a former community in the Cyclades, Greece. Since the 2011 local government reform it is part of the municipality Naxos and Lesser Cyclades, of which it is a municipal unit. It lies south of the island of Naxos, in the Lesser Cyclades group, between the island communities of Irakleia and Koufonisia. The population was 256 inhabitants at the 2011 census. Its land area is 8.512 square kilometres (3.29 sq mi).Serifopoula
Serifopoula is a Greek island in the Cyclades. It is a part of the municipality of Serifos. Serifopoula was uninhabited at the 2001 Greek census.Tinos
Tinos (Greek: Τήνος [ˈtinos]) is a Greek island situated in the Aegean Sea. It is located in the Cyclades archipelago. In antiquity, Tinos was also known as Ophiussa (from ophis, Greek for snake) and Hydroessa (from hydor, Greek for water). The closest islands are Andros, Delos, and Mykonos. It has a land area of 194.464 square kilometres (75.083 sq mi) and a 2011 census population of 8,636 inhabitants.
Tinos is famous amongst Greeks for the Church of Panagia Evangelistria, its 80 or so windmills, about 1000 artistic dovecotes, 50 active villages and its Venetian fortifications at the mountain, Exomvourgo. On Tinos, both Greek Orthodox and Roman Catholic populations co-exist, and the island is also well known for its famous sculptors and painters, such as Nikolaos Gysis, Yannoulis Chalepas and Nikiforos Lytras.
The island is located near the geographical center of the Cyclades island complex, and because of the Panagia Evangelistria church, with its reputedly miraculous icon of Virgin Mary that it holds, Tinos is also the center of a yearly pilgrimage that takes place on the date of the Dormition of the Virgin Mary (15 August, "Dekapentavgoustos" in Greek). This is perhaps the most notable and still active yearly pilgrimage in the region of the eastern Mediterranean. Many pilgrims make their way the 800 metres (2,600 feet) from the ferry wharf to the church on their hands and knees as sign of devotion.Vous Island
Vous (Greek: Βους; Translation: Ox) is a small island 2 kilometres off the coast of Serifos in The Cyclades, Greece. It received its name from its shape, which was an ox. There is no known populated place on the island, as it is too small in area for the creation of a village. The island has a perimeter of approximately 2 kilometres and is 570 metres at its longest points. The island is a popular attraction for tourists seeking a fishing holiday in the Greek Islands. Administratively, it is part of the municipality of Serifos.
Islands of the Cyclades