Location of Cyclades in Greece
Location of municipalities within Cyclades Prefecture
|• Total||2,572 km2 (993 sq mi)|
|• Density||46/km2 (120/sq mi)|
|• Density rank||34th|
|ISO 3166 code||GR-82|
The Cyclades ( // ; Greek : Κυκλάδες [kikˈlaðes] ) are an island group in the Aegean Sea, southeast of mainland Greece and a former administrative prefecture of Greece. They are one of the island groups which constitute the Aegean archipelago. The name refers to the islands around ("cyclic", κυκλάς) the sacred island of Delos. The largest island of the Cyclades is Naxos, however the most populated one is Syros.
The significant Late Neolithic and Early Bronze Age Cycladic culture is best known for its schematic, flat sculptures carved out of the islands' pure white marble centuries before the great Middle Bronze Age Minoan civilization arose in Crete to the south. (These figures have been looted from burials to satisfy a thriving Cycladic antiquities market since the early 20th century.)
A distinctive Neolithic culture amalgamating Anatolian and mainland Greek elements arose in the western Aegean before 4000 BCE, based on emmer and wild-type barley, sheep and goats, pigs, and tuna that were apparently speared from small boats (Rutter). Excavated sites include Chalandriani, Phylakopi, Skarkos, Saliagos and Kephala (on Kea) with signs of copperworking, Each of the small Cycladic islands could support no more than a few thousand people, though Late Cycladic boat models show that fifty oarsmen could be assembled from the scattered communities (Rutter), and when the highly organized palace-culture of Crete arose, the islands faded into insignificance, with the exception of Delos, which retained its archaic reputation as a sanctuary throughout antiquity and until the emergence of Christianity.
The first archaeological excavations of the 1880s were followed by systematic work by the British School at Athens and by Christos Tsountas, who investigated burial sites on several islands in 1898–1899 and coined the term "Cycladic civilization". Interest lagged, then picked up in the mid-20th century, as collectors competed for the modern-looking figures that seemed so similar to sculpture by Jean Arp or Constantin Brâncuși. Sites were looted and a brisk trade in forgeries arose. The context for many of these Cycladic figurines has been mostly destroyed and their meaning may never be completely understood.
Another intriguing and mysterious object is that of the Cycladic frying pans. More accurate archaeology has revealed the broad outlines of a farming and seafaring culture that had emigrated from Anatolia c. 5000 BCE. Early Cycladic culture evolved in three phases, between c. 3300 – 2000 BCE, when it was increasingly swamped in the rising influence of Minoan Crete. The culture of mainland Greece contemporary with Cycladic culture is known as the Helladic period.
In recent decades the Cyclades have become popular with European and other tourists, and as a result there have been problems with erosion, pollution, and water shortages.
The Cyclades includes about 220 islands, the major ones being Amorgos, Anafi, Andros, Antiparos, Delos, Ios, Kea, Kimolos, Kythnos, Milos, Mykonos, Naxos, Paros, Folegandros, Serifos, Sifnos, Sikinos, Syros, Tinos, and Thira or Santoríni. There are also many minor islands including Donousa, Eschati, Gyaros, Irakleia, Koufonisia, Makronisos, Rineia, and Schoinousa. The name "Cyclades" refers to the islands forming a circle ("circular islands") around the sacred island of Delos. Most of the smaller islands are uninhabited.
Ermoupoli on Syros is the chief town and administrative center of the former prefecture.
The islands are peaks of a submerged mountainous terrain, with the exception of two volcanic islands, Milos and Santorini. The climate is generally dry and mild, but with the exception of Naxos the soil is not very fertile; agricultural produce includes wine, fruit, wheat, olive oil, and tobacco. Lower temperatures are registered in higher elevations and these areas do not usually see wintry weather.
The Cyclades are bounded to the south by the Sea of Crete.
The Cyclades Prefecture (Greek : Νομός Κυκλάδων) was one of the prefectures of Greece. As a part of the 2011 Kallikratis government reform, the prefecture was abolished, and its territory was divided into nine regional units of the South Aegean region:
The prefecture was subdivided into the following municipalities and communities. These have been reorganised at the 2011 Kallikratis reform as well.
|Municipality||YPES code||Seat (if different)||Postal code||Area code|
|Andros (town)||3103||845 00||22820-2|
|Ano Syros||3105||841 00||22810-8|
|Drymalia||3107||Chalkeio Naxou||843 02||22850|
|Korthio||3115||Ormos Korthiou||845 02||22820-6|
|Community||YPES code||Seat (if different)||Postal code||Area code|
Note: Provinces no longer hold any legal status in Greece.
Local specialities of the Cyclades include:
Syros, or Siros or Syra is a Greek island in the Cyclades, in the Aegean Sea. It is located 78 nautical miles (144 km) south-east of Athens. The area of the island is 83.6 km2 (32 sq mi) and it has 21,507 inhabitants.
Cycladic culture was a Bronze Age culture found throughout the islands of the Cyclades in the Aegean Sea. In chronological terms, it is a relative dating system for artefacts which broadly complements Helladic chronology and Minoan chronology (Crete) during the same period of time.
The South Aegean is one of the thirteen administrative regions of Greece. It consists of the Cyclades and Dodecanese island groups in the central and southeastern Aegean Sea.
Marco Sanudo was the creator and first Duke of the Duchy of the Archipelago, after the Fourth Crusade.
The Duchy of the Archipelago, also known as Duchy of Naxos or Duchy of the Aegean, was a maritime state created by Venetian interests in the Cyclades archipelago in the Aegean Sea, in the aftermath of the Fourth Crusade, centered on the islands of Naxos and Paros. It included all the Cyclades. In 1537 it became a tributary of the Ottoman Empire, and was annexed by the Ottomans in 1579; however, Christian rule survived in islands such as Siphnos and Tinos.
The provinces of Greece were sub-divisions of some the country's prefectures. From 1887, the provinces were abolished as actual administrative units, but were retained for some state services, especially finance services and education, as well as for electoral purposes. Before the Second World War, there were 139 provinces, and after the war, with the addition of the Dodecanese Islands, their number grew to 147. According to the Article 7 of the Code of Prefectural Self-Government, the provinces constituted a "particular administrative district" within the wider "administrative district" of the prefectures. The provinces were finally abolished after the 2006 local elections, in line with Law 2539/1997, as part of the wide-ranging administrative reform known as the "Kapodistrias Project", and replaced by enlarged municipalities (demoi).
The Catholic Church in Greece is part of the worldwide Catholic Church, under the spiritual leadership of the Pope in Rome. Indigenous Roman Catholic Greeks number about 50,000-70,000 and are a religious and not an ethnic minority. Most of them are a reminiscence of Venetian and Genoese rule in southern Greece and many Greek islands from the early 13th until the late 18th century, or descendants of the thousands of Bavarians that came to Greece in the 1830s as soldiers and civil administrators, accompanying King Otto. One very old but still common term to refer to them is Φράγκοι, or "[[Franks#Legacy|]]", dating to the times of the Byzantine Empire, when medieval Greeks would use that term to describe all Catholics.
The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Naxos, Tinos, Andros, and Mykonos is an Archdiocese of the Latin Rite of the Roman Catholic church in insular Greece.
The Cyclades are Greek islands located in the southern part of the Aegean Sea. The archipelago contains some 2,200 islands, islets and rocks; just 33 islands are inhabited. For the ancients, they formed a circle around the sacred island of Delos, hence the name of the archipelago. The best-known are, from north to south and from east to west: Andros, Tinos, Mykonos, Naxos, Amorgos, Syros, Paros and Antiparos, Ios, Santorini, Anafi, Kea, Kythnos, Serifos, Sifnos, Folegandros and Sikinos, Milos and Kimolos; to these can be added the little Cyclades: Irakleia, Schoinoussa, Koufonisi, Keros and Donoussa, as well as Makronisos between Kea and Attica, Gyaros, which lies before Andros, and Polyaigos to the east of Kimolos and Thirassia, before Santorini. At times they were also called by the generic name of Archipelago.
Hellenic Seaways is a Greek shipping company operating passenger and freight ferry services in the Aegean and Adriatic Seas. The company is owned by the Attica Group, which currently controls the majority stake, 98.83%.
Blue Star Ferries is a brand name of Blue Star Maritime S.A. The company operates ferry services from the Greek mainland to the Aegean Islands.
Thira is one of the regional units of Greece. It is part of the region of South Aegean. The regional unit covers the islands of Thira (Santorini), Anafi, Folegandros, Ios, Sikinos and several smaller islands in the Aegean Sea.
The Keros-Syros culture is named after two islands in the Cyclades — Keros and Syros. This culture flourished during the Early Cycladic II period of the Cycladic civilization. The trade relations of this culture spread far and wide from the Greek mainland to Crete and Asia Minor.
The League of the Islanders or Nesiotic League was a federal league (koinon) of ancient Greek city-states encompassing the Cyclades islands in the Aegean Sea. Organized under the auspices of Antigonus Monophthalmus in c. 314/3 BC, it remained under Antigonid control until c. 287 BC. It then passed under the aegis of the Ptolemaic Kingdom until Ptolemaic control over the central Aegean collapsed and the League was dissolved sometime in the mid-3rd century BC. The Cycladic islands reverted to independence, except for a few that passed under Macedonian control. The league was re-established under the leadership of Rhodes in c. 200 BC, and survived until c. 167 BC.
Seajets is a Greek/Cypriot ferry company operating passenger and freight ferry services in the Aegean Sea.
Golden Star Ferries is a Greek ferry company operating from the Greek mainland to the Cyclades islands in the Aegean Sea. Golden Star Ferries was founded in 2011 by Andriot brothers Giorgos and Dimitris Stephanou, who also own the Bright Navigation shipping freight company.