Hydra, with rich naval legacy, cosmopolitan character Hydra attracts a lot of Greek and foreigner visitors from each point of the globe. It is an island where some of the important people of the Greek revolution and public life came from. Model of architecture and aesthetics constitutes the city of Hydra with the graphic back streets and the mansions, built amphitheatrically around the harbour.
Very little is known about the history of Hydra until the beginning of the Ottoman rule. During the Ottoman domination, the Turks had little interest on the island because of its lack of water. The island began to acquire a powerful merchant fleet during the 17th century but the plague of 1792 wiped out a great number of the population and those who survived moved away. Things improved for Hydra in the 18th century, when it became powerful and prosperous because of its highly developed commercial fleet, trading with all of Greece and even abroad, with France, Spain and America. After World War II, the economy of Hydra went through a difficult phase. It recovered slightly with fishing and sponge fishing but declined again due to the restrictions of financial assistance to the sponge fishing enterprises from the Greek Agricultural bank. In the 1950s, Hydra became a center of artistic creation for many artists who used its magical scenery as the main theme of inspiration. Many famous movies were also shot on the island, including the Boy on a dolphin (1957) starring Sophia Loren and Phaedra (1962) starring Anthony Perkins and Melina Merkouri. Till today, Hydra attracts many artists and various festivals take place in summer in the Melina Merkouri Auditorium.
The beautiful roads and alleys, paved with slabs and the houses, adorned with flowers, give to the island of Hydra a touch of magic and a romantic mood. Its worth visiting the Manors of the Island and watch the harbour from down the hill. Also, its worth visiting the 6 Monasteries and the 300 churches of Hydra. Especially, you have to visit : The twin Monasteries of Saint Eupraxia and Prophet Elias. A very nice sight is the Bastions with cannons, that protected the city to the left and to the right of the harbour. Finally, you should visit the Manor of Lazaros Kountoyriotis, which it accommodates a division of the National Historic Museum, the Manor of G. Kountouriotis.
The manor accommodates the Museum of Byzantic Art and History and the Auditorium “Melina Merkouri“, which it displays paintings of famous artists.
Eating out can be down-to-earth both in atmosphere and (with careful selection) prices – Hydra feels like a “real” town, with a busy produce halle just behind the central quay.