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Kea

Cyclades

ABOUT Kea , Cyclades

The drop-shaped island of Kea or Tzia as it called by the locals is the nearest Cycladic Island to the mainland of Attica and Athens. Although Kea seems to attract more mainland locals than foreign visitors, there are several charming hotels for you to stay. Kea wears its charms quietly in a rare slow paced way of life.

k1History

Kea was once called the Water Island, Ydroussa, and it is believed that the name is connected to the water nymphs, that lived here according to mythology. Because it was such a pretty island, the gods’ got jealous, and sent a lion to ravage the land. The nymphs fled, and as a subsequence, the island dried out. The Keans then asked Apollo‘s son Aristaeus for help, and he built a temple to Zeus, who apart from being the highest god, also was the one who sent rain. This pleased him, andk2 the nymphs and waters returned, giving Kea a fertile soil with good crops.
The island has been inhabited since Neolithic times, and later on, in the 6th cent., The poet Simonides was born here. The island was quite prosperous and it was known for its Kean Law, which made all citizens who lived to be 70 commit suicide by drinking hemlock, which still grows on the island. In the 13th century, the island was ruled by the Venetians, and 300 years later by the Turks. Meanwhile, Kea was often raided by pirates, and the locals suffered greatly. It is therefore not surprising that Kea was one of the first Greek islands to enroll in the War of Independence in 1821. In 1930, it was liberated.

Sighseeing

The most famous sight on the island is the Lion of Kea, or Lionda. It is a big, archaic sculpture of the mythical lion (see history). Also the monastery of Panagia Kastriani is also worth a visit, and you can even stay here in one of its cells. The monastery dates back to the 18th century. In Ioulis there are also a few interesting churches, as well as an ancient acropolis. There are also ancient remains of temples in Korissia.

Food & Tastesk3

There are some excellent local specialties to be tried out in the taverns of Ioulis, Koundouros, Korissia and Vourkari. The local sausages, pork dish “Paspala”, cheese and wine are a must, as well as some of the sweets made of local honey.

 

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