Cythera or Kythira is a Greek island, still considered part of the Ionian Islands even though it lies opposite the south-eastern tip of the Peloponnese peninsula. It administratively belongs to the islands regional unit, which is part of the Attica region (although at large distance from Attica itself).
For many centuries, since ancient times, and until the mid 19th century, Cythera had been a crossroads of merchants, sailors, and conquerors. Therefore, it has had a long and varied history and has been influenced by many civilisations and cultures. This is reflected in its architecture (a blend of traditional, Aegean and Venetian elements), as well as the traditions and customs, influenced by centuries of coexistence of the Greek, Venetian, Ottoman and British civilisations as well as its numerous visitors.
Chora with its Venetian castle
The capital, Chora, is located on the southern part of the island having no ports connected to the southern Peloponnese or Vatika. Cythera’s port for Vatika was previously situated at Agia Pelagia, although in recent years this port has been decommissioned and has been replaced by a new port at the coastal town of Diakofti, Cythera.
Cythera – rocky cliffs and deep bays
Cythera has more than 60 villages spread on its rugged land. The rugged terrain is a result of prevailing winds from the surrounding seas which have shaped its shores into steep rocky cliffs with deep bays. The island has many beaches, of various composition and size; only half of them can be reached by road through the mountainous terrain of the island.
The Kythirian Straits, formed by the southeastern peninsula of the Peloponnese and the islands of Elafonissos and Cythera represent one of the most dangerous navigational hazards in the Mediterranean. Most sea-traffic from Athens, Istanbul, and the Black Sea to the central and western Mediterranean passes through the straits and are often subject to strong winds and shipwreck on Cape Malea.
Mylopotamos (meaning “mill on the river”) is one of the villages on the island of Cythera. It was named Mylopotamos because of the 22 watermills built along a small stream for grinding wheat. Today 21 of the mills are in ruins and one, the Phil’s water mill, is in working condition. Phil’s watermill belongs to the grandson of the last owner, Filippas, and it has been in the family for 350 years.
In the town there are three caves, a Venetian castle and the Monastery of Orphan Mary. The gorge where the 22 mills are found starts from a magnificent waterfall named “Fonisa”,(female killer), the only one on the island. The stream above the waterfall springs from the mountain in the middle of town, by the square, during the summer coming right out from the mountain. The mills start from the base of the water fall and go down stream to the sea. On a cliff by the gorge, is the church, Saint Catherine, which was built into the mountain. At the end of the gorge, before the water reaches the sea, is the Monastery of Orphan Mary with its cave, the second biggest cave on the island. The gorge concludes with one of the many beautiful beaches on the island called “Kalami”, meaning reed.
Beaches in Cythera
Enjoy the beaches of Cythera with your friends. Swim in the crystalclear, blue waters. There are plenty of them, all so different and unique.