The Greek Islands and Athens

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Hydra is situated close to the coast of the eastern foot of the Peloponnese between the islands of Poros and Spetses. Hydra is a very popular tourist destination, mainly due to its picturesque capital, of red tiled houses and narrow stone-paved streets. Once a major seafaring community, these days the islands wealth mainly comes from tourism, but fishermen and farmers can still be found. Because of its close proximity to Athens, many islanders go there to find work during the winter months. The most common way to reach the island is to take a flight to Athens and then a ferry or hydrofoil from Pireus. It is also possible to get to Hydra via boats to and from  both Spetses and Poros.


Hydra 1

The main town, known simply as Hydra, consists of a horseshoe shaped harbour, around which is located shops, restaurants, and quite a number of art galleries. Steep, stone paved streets lead up from the harbour area into the town behind. The harbour area can become quite crowded during the day as day trippers flock to the island.

Hydra claims to have 365 churches, the most visited is the 18th century Monastery of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary situated on the waterfront. It was partially built using marble blocks that were originally used to build the Temple of Poseidon on Poros.

Since almost all motor vehicles are barred from the island, the only ways to get about, apart from walking, are via horse drawn carriages, or by donkey. There are also excursion boats that run between the port and some of local beaches. Beaches are not the islands main attraction as they are mainly pebble, with the most popular being, Molos, Palamida and Kaminia.

Many of the buildings around the harbour date back to the 18th century. Little has been recorded of the island's ancient history, but it is known that it played an important role in the 15th century, when people from the mainland and other islands sought refuge from attacking pirates and Turks. Hydra had an important fleet in the 18th century due to what seems to have been a flare for commerce. It was one of the strongest islands during the war of Independence which began in 1821, and played a major contribution by supplying a fleet of 130 ships.

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