Hydra (island)


The Greek island of Hydra or Ydra (Greek Ύδρα ( f sg ) ) belongs to the group of the Saronic islands and lies about 65 km south-west of Athens. At the same time it constitutes a municipality ( Dimos, δήμος ) in the Attica Regional District islands, who also belongs to the 2.2 km north-west location neighboring island dokos. You will be approached several times daily from the port of Piraeus; also exist with the neighboring islands, at least in the high season regular ferry.

Hydra came to her name when she was still a very water-rich and fertile island. Nowadays, every day is a ship that provides drinking water.


Hydra is about 18 km long, 4 km wide and has an area of almost 60 km ². The very barren, barren and mountainous island reaches a height of not quite 600 meters. The north side of Hydra is partly built on and facing the Peloponnese. The east and south of the island is almost uninhabited. The distance from Athens is about 50 miles.

Most of the approximately 2,700 residents live in the main town of the same name, which extends from the dock up the hill to the castle ruins. Besides the village of Hydra, there are still places Kamini, Mandraki and Vlychos. Meanwhile, tourism is besides fishing and arts and crafts, the main source of income of the population; agriculture plays virtually no role. During the summer months, the island is very crowded partly because looking particularly at the weekend many Athenians on the car-free island relaxation. During the day there are numerous day-trippers with appropriate boatloads of Attica or the Peloponnese for an hour or two.

Apart from the main town of Hydra provides some scattered and isolated monasteries, some of which are difficult to achieve, and many beaches which can be reached either with a public boat or a water taxi.


Hydra is mainly from sediments ( marine deposits ) of the Mesozoic ( Triassic, Jurassic, Cretaceous ) built, which were claimed as part of the tectonic orogeny, folded and moved. In these limestones locally lenses of converted clay and volcanic rocks are inserted, which were converted into serpentine. It is undersea zones into which poured lava flows. In the area of Molo metamorphic converted Pilowlaven are seen. The mountains of Hydra is crossed by strong disturbances that indicate potential earthquake zones.


First traces of settlement suggest that Hydra attracted hunters and fishermen already in the Neolithic period. The first settlement focus may have begun in the Mycenaean period, around 1300 BC. Remains from this period ( broken glass, walls ) can be detected in the vicinity of the settlement Molo. In ancient times there were protective towers, had a visual link with similar structures on the opposite side of the Peloponnese. In Molo can be next to black- shards (about 600-400 BC) also find ruins on a hill.

The island was around 1500 AD repopulated since the inhabitants of the Peloponnesus fled to escape the cruel persecutions and taxes of the Turks. It settled mainly residents from the region of present-day southern Albania (known as Arvanites ). The parched hinterland forced them to settle on the coast of Hydra. They specialized in shipbuilding and trade, and in time became to great sailors. 1821, at the time of the liberation war against the Turks, the island had acquired great wealth. With 3,500 inhabitants and 130 warships, on which was seated a cargo of 130,000 tons, Hydra took an important role in the war for the nations. Sailors and Admirals from Hydra, as Lazaros Kountouriotis, Andreas Miaoulis and others came in the fighting around.

Two-thirds of the ships of the entire Greek empire came from Hydra. During this time, almost all the trees were cut down and processed to Hydra Town. That's why most of the island is barren. In the 1990s, a fire destroyed more trees.


Although Andros is the most important " artists 'island ' of Greece, as well as Hydra has a special cultural life, which goes back to its importance as a refuge. Nikolaos Vokos (1854-1902), a representative of the School of Munich came from Hydra, just as the painter Nikos Nikolaou (1909-1986) and Panayiotis Tetsis (* 1925).

The author Axel Jensen (1932-2003), George Henry Johnston (1912-1970), Charmian Clift (1923-1969) and Göran Tunström (1937-2000) lived on the island, as well as the Canadian singer and writer Leonard Cohen, here two of his books wrote. In addition, the American painter Brice Marden often held on to Hydra and was inspired to several of his works from the island, such as Souvenir de Grèce, as on the major retrospective in 2007 at the Hamburger Bahnhof - Museum for Contemporary Art in Berlin was to be seen.

Regional Special Rules

Despite the good location, the car-free island tourism is mainly limited to day-trippers, including Richard Branson, who has a second home on the island, could not manage to build a hotel complex despite lengthy promotions with the locals. In addition to hotel facilities are prohibited because of the noise and nightclubs. In houses no antennas or satellite dishes may be installed, as no neon signs. Also plastic chairs are prohibited. To protect the historic townscape of the construction of tennis courts and swimming pools is also prohibited. In principle, both trying to avoid mass tourism, as to be no refuge for the jet set. Nevertheless, or perhaps because property prices are the highest in Greece.