Hydra (island)


View of Hydra's port.
View of Hydra's port.
Flag of Hydra
Hydra is located in Greece
Location within the region
2011 Dimos Ydras.png
Coordinates: 37°21′N 23°28′E / 37°21′N 23°28′E / 37.350; 23.467UTC+3 (EEST)
Postal code
180 40
Area code(s)22980
Vehicle registrationZ

Hydra (Greek: Ύδρα, pronounced [ˈiðra] in modern Greek) is one of the Saronic Islands of Greece, located in the Aegean Sea between the Saronic Gulf and the Argolic Gulf. It is separated from the Peloponnese by a narrow strip of water. In ancient times, the island was known as Hydrea (῾Υδρέα, derived from the Greek word for "water"), a reference to the natural springs on the island.[2]

The municipality of Hydra consists of the islands Hydra (pop. 1948, area 49.6 km2 (19.2 sq mi)), Dokos (pop. 18, area 13.5 km2 (5.2 sq mi)), and a few uninhabited islets, total area 64.443 km2 (24.9 sq mi).[3] The province of Hydra (Greek: Επαρχία Ύδρας) was one of the provinces of the Piraeus Prefecture. Its territory corresponded with that of the current municipality.[4] It was abolished in 2006.

There is one main town, known simply as "Hydra port" (pop. 1,900 in 2011). It consists of a crescent-shaped harbor, around which is centered a strand of restaurants, shops, markets, and galleries that cater to tourists and locals (Hydriots). Steep stone streets lead up and outward from the harbor area. Most of the local residences, as well as the hostelries on the island, are located on these streets. Other small villages or hamlets on the island include Mandraki (pop. 11), Kamini, Vlychos (19), Palamidas, Episkopi, and Molos.

Transport, tourism and leisure

Clocktower of Hydra island

Hydra depends on tourism, and Athenians account for a sizable segment of its visitors. High-speed hydrofoils and catamarans from Piraeus, some 37 nautical miles (69 km) away, serve Hydra, stopping first at Poros before going on to Spetses. There is a passenger ferry service providing an alternative to Hydrofoils that runs from Hydra Harbor to Metochi on the Peloponnese coast. Many Athenians drive to Metochi, leave their car in the secure car park, and take the 20-minute passenger ferry across to Hydra.

Rubbish trucks are the only motor vehicles on the island, since by law, cars and motorcycles are not allowed. Horses, mules and donkeys, and water taxis provide public transportation.[5] The inhabited area, however, is so compact that most people walk everywhere.

Hydra benefits from numerous bays and natural harbors, and has a strong maritime culture. The island is a popular yachting destination and is the home of the Kamini Yacht Club, an international yacht club based in the port of Kamini.

In 2007, a National Geographic Traveler panel of 522 experts rated Hydra the highest of any Greek island (11th out of 111 islands worldwide) as a unique destination preserving its "integrity of place".[6]

Captains' mansions

The Tsamadou mansion, on the left side as one enters the harbour, is now a Maritime Academy.[7] The Tsamados family donated the mansion for the purpose of hosting the Greek Maritime Academy on their island.

The Tombazis mansion is now part of the Athens School of Fine Arts,[8] owned by University of Athens.[9]

The mansions of Lazaros and George Kountouriotis, Boudouris, Kriezis, Voulgaris, Sachinis, and Miaoulis all contain collections of 18th-century island furniture. The descendants of Lazarus Kountouriotis donated his mansion to the Historic-Ethnologic Institute of Greece. Today, it operates as an extension branch of the National Museum of History.

Monasteries and the Cathedral

There are numerous churches and six Orthodox monasteries on the island. Two particularly noteworthy monasteries are Profitis Ilias, founded in the 10th century, and Ayia Efpraxia. Both are on a hill overlooking the main harbor.

The island's cathedral is the old Monastery of the Dormition of the Virgin and sits on the quayside in the town. The monastery contains the tomb of Lazaros Kountouriotis, the richest sea captain on Hydra, who gave his entire fortune to support the Greek War of Independence.[10]

Other Languages
العربية: هيدرا (جزيرة)
български: Хидра (остров)
brezhoneg: Hydra (enezenn)
català: Hidra (illa)
čeština: Hydra (ostrov)
dansk: Hydra (ø)
Deutsch: Hydra (Insel)
eesti: Ýdra saar
Ελληνικά: Ύδρα
español: Hidra (isla)
Esperanto: Hidra
føroyskt: Hydra
français: Hydra (île)
galego: Hidra
հայերեն: Իդրա
hrvatski: Hidra (otok)
italiano: Idra (isola)
עברית: הידרה (אי)
magyar: Ídra
Nederlands: Hydra (eiland)
日本語: イドラ島
norsk nynorsk: Ýdra
português: Hidra (ilha)
русский: Идра
slovenčina: Ydra
slovenščina: Hidra (otok)
српски / srpski: Хидра (острво)
svenska: Hydra (ö)
Türkçe: İdra
українська: Ідра
中文: 伊茲拉島