Hydra in antiquity
According to various archeological findings in the place Episkopi of Hydra, scientists have concluded that the emigration to the island had begun long before the Homeric period, meaning the after Neolithic time (3000 - 2600 B.C.). Hydra didn't manage, to the centuries that followed, to evolve in a place socially and historically capable of being.
Hydria, as Herodotus used to call the island of Hydra, around the 13th century, is becoming the place of Driops farmers, fishermen and shepherds, who used to live to the Parnassus and Oiti. Two centuries later, with the descent of Dorians, Driops are disappearing and so the life in the island.
During Archaic times, Hydra didn't have to offer anything of Historical value. The island was probably under the command of the king of Mycenae , then it was bought from Hermions until 525 B.C and then again it was bought from political refugees from Samos to be given to trizinians, who wanted the island for farming and forager.
A small number of Historians make references to Hydra. Among them are Herodotus, Ptolemaios the Geographer, Pausanias and the lexicographers, Stefanos the Byzantios and Isixios.
The only testimony that we have for Hydra in Classic times is that of Stefanos the Byzantine, who refers to one of the inhabitants of the island by the name Euagis. We do not have enough information for Hydra in Roman and Byzantine times. This fact gave the impression that the island was uninhabited, but archaeological findings in the place Episkopi show different. It looks like that, because of pirate evasions from which most of the citizens left from the Island and others gone to the interior of it.
15th-16th-17th & 18th century
In the beginning of the 15th century, Hydra was inhabited by a few shepherd families. From 1460, Orthodox Arvanites refugees, who fought to the side of the Venetians against the Turks, came to the island and became fishermen. It is the time that the building spree starts in Hydra and the first town in the hill of the place Kiafa is created.
Because of the hostile climate in greek cities in conjunction with the pirates in Mediterranean, immigration becomes more intensive.
Greek families immigrate to Hydra. Some of them were the Lazarou and Zerba family (from Hiperus), Mitarou family, Nega family, Gini family and Gouma family (from the island of Kythnos), Tompazi family (from Smirni), Tsamados family (from Kranidi), Oikonomou family (from Epidauros). More immigrants are coming to the small island of Hydra during the 18th century. That period we had the Venetian - Turk War and the Russian - Tyerk war. That's why in the start of the Greek revolution the island of Hydra had a population of 27.000 people. That had got positive results, especially in sea commerce and in shipping.
To the end of the 18th century Hydra became a great nautical power with 150 ships. The island is in its peak until this period.
The pre-revolutionary times
In the late 18th century and early 19th century, Hydra develops a great naval power with a commercial fleet of 150 ships. The new features that gave the Greek merchant navy the Russo-Turkish Treaty of Küçük Kaynarca (1774) together with the favor of the Ottoman administration, which relied much on seamanship of Hydra, who served in the Turkish fleet, the government ensured that the island had the highest strength and thus the economic and spiritual flourishing and put the skilful and motivated George Voulgaris as deputy commander in the Turkish fleet.
Voulgaris was placed by the Sultan as Commander and nazir (supervisor) of Hydra and for some time for the islands of Poros and Spetses, in order to impose the order. The prudent administration of Voulgaris and the Ottoman favor in his face, contributed to the elevation of Hydra island into a model of well-order place.
The period of the financial health, of suppressing piracy and the esoteric order that followed during the time of George Voulgaris, gave the opportunity to Hydra to re-organize their society and at the same time to become experienced sailors from the constant battles with the pirates.
Hydra, from early on, was used as a naval station, thus its leading role in maritime trade and communications. Also the trade flourishes in the late 18th century and early 19th. Then Hydra took advantage of the Anglo-French conflict and amassed substantial profits by controlling the maritime trade, breaking the blockade which was imposed by England in the ports of France, during the Napoleonic wars.
Hydra gradually became master of the sea routes of the Mediterranean and the first naval force between the Greek islands. The high level of development of maritime and commercial activity demonstrates the foundation of the naval school with the calling of Italian and Portuguese teachers for the systematic teaching of seamanship, and the adoption of specific laws and rules to regulate such transactions.
Therefore is completely understandable, that the moment of starting the Revolution in 1821, found the small insignificant until recently island of the Saronic Gulf numbering about 27,000 inhabitants.
Greek Revolution of 1821
Important was the help of Hydra in the national liberation struggle in 1821. The Eve of Holy Struggle, find the island full strength, economic and military. The island had a population of about 28,000 residents, has 186 battleships ships with 2,400 guns and tonnage of 45,000 tons, manned by crews 5,400 men. Fair Ibrahim called Hydra "Little England".
Hydra, Spetses with and Psara, played a decisive role in the Revolution of 1821 from the commercial and naval fleets in the service of the race. Hydra as Admiral Miaoulis, Anthony Economou, Tombazis, Sachtouris, Voulgaris, the Kriezis Tsamados, Sahin, the Vokoi Brothers, the congressman Matrozos and Pepin, and many others, promoted to leading figures in the Revolution.
The revolution in Hydra officially declared on April 16, 1821 by Anthony Economou and people who overcame the reservations of notables. The Hydraiki fleet with a fleet of Spetses and Psara dominated the sea during the seven year war, thus contributing to the liberation of Greece, sacrificing many lives, ships and money and bringing leaders and activists.
Intense but it was the reaction of strong effort in Hydra I. Kapodistrias abolish the privileges enjoyed the island by then. After liberation begins a long period of decline and recession on the island for about a century, Hydra despite its small size and deepening economic decline, given the politics of the country a President of the Republic, five prime ministers, many ministers.
George Koundoriotis was Chairman of the Executive during the Revolution, member of the Council on Kapodistrias Othona Prime Minister and Minister of the Navy. Anthony Kriezis, Dimitrios Voulgaris, seven times Prime Minister, Athanasios Miaoulis, three times Prime Minister and Petros Voulgaris, Prime Minister of Greece.
The following years
After the Greek liberation, begins a long period of decline and economic recession on the island for about a century. Hydra despite its small size and the economic decline, has given the country's political life a President of the Republic, five prime ministers and many ministers.
George Koundouriotis was Chairman of the Executive committee during the Revolution, also member of the Council of Kapodistrias and Prime Minister and Minister of the Navy. Antonios Kriezis was a Minister, Dimitrios Voulgaris was seven times Prime Minister of Greece, Athanasios Miaoulis three times Prime Minister of Greece, and Petros Voulgaris one time Prime Minister of Greece.
The beginning of the 20th Century
In 1912, the Hydraian Admiral Pavlos Kountouriotis, as leader of the Greek fleet, defeated the Turkish fleet in the Strait of Hellespont. At the same time, on October 18, 1912, Nicholas Votsis, as the leader of the torpedo boat 11, torpedoed the Turkish flagship "Fetish Bulent" 3,000 tons inside the port of Thessaloniki.
In 1924, the Hydraian Admiral Paulos Kountouriotis became the first President of the Greek Republic, and for half a century the Marine Ministries were administered by Hydraians only.
In the Church, Hydra gave the Archbishop of Athens and All Greece, Dorotheus Kottaras, and the Metropolitans, Patsi, Parisi, Epiphanius, Kalafatis and Procopius Georgantopoulos. In sciences and literature the island gave the Academics A. Ligno, I. Harami, N. Hadjikyriakos-Gikas, P. Tetsis and painter N. Nicholaou.
Hydra was developed and took its current form in the last decades of the 18th and early 19th century. Then, the old town of Kiafa has been abandoned and residents are gatherin around the Monastery of the Assumption, in the harbor, which together with a part of the old city, created the modern city. The 20th century finds Hydra, despite the temporary economic recovery, - result of systematic engagement of residents in fishing and trade sponges -, in a full population weakening, driven slowly but surely on the verge of economic decline.
The island's source power, sponge diving, had begun to decline over the years, mainly due to the limitation of financial assistance towards the the sponge diving operations from the Agricultural Bank of Greece. Many residents leave the island and move to Athens and especially Piraeus, around the Church of St. Nicholas, to create their own community.
The 50's and the 60's
A last opportunity for development and revitalization of Hydra society was given in the 50s when the various artists and filmmakers "discover" Hydra and use it liberally in their movies. A direct consequence was the rapid tourism and economic development on the island, which has evolved since then into a cosmopolitan tourist resort.
In the 1950s and 60s, foreign writers like the Australian George Johnston, the Swede Axel Jensen and the Canadian Leonard Cohen bought houses here and laid the foundations of a foreign community that still exists today. Practically every celebrity in the world has set foot on Hydra at some time or other. For Hydra that‘s no big deal. Celebrities and anonymous visitors have equal status here.
It also worth to be mentioned that Hydra became famous all over the world thanks to the film “Boy on a Dolphin,” shot on the island in 1957 with Sophia Loren leading the starring role.
Among the most famous films shot in Hydra is the famous "Girl with black" of Michael Cacoyannis with Ellie Lambeti, which received rave reviews in European festivals and the great Jules Dassin's film "Phaedra" with lovely Melina Merkouri and the famous Anthony Perkins and Ralph Vallone.
Hydra became a famous destination mainly between 1960-1970 when celebrities from around the world, like Lennon, Klapton, Rolling Stones, Onassis and Callas, Rex Harrison, Peter Ustinov, Leonard Cohen and many others passed through here and a place of inspiration for many people of the arts and culture like Xatzikyriakos, Gikas, Seferis, Engonopoulos, Henry Miller, Tetsis, Byzantios ...
Today, the Hydra of Miller, Seferis, Gikas, Engonopoulos, Byzantios, Tetsis, with the continuous offering to tourism and our country's cultural life, remains the jewel of the Gulf Islands, a unique phenomenon of historical and architectural wonder and certainly one of the finest resorts in Greece.
The recent past
From 1970 and onwards, Hydra is organised touristically by acquiring very good infrastructure. Many mansions have been renovated and transformed into traditional hotels keeping their historical form and their details. The same thing happened and with many houses that transformed into frendly and family guest houses.
Time by time Hydra became a popular destination, not only for romantic vacations but also a place for business meetings and seminars, that combine pleasure with business. Long before the end of the last century, the Nautical Club of Hydra began to organize twice a year, in autumn and spring, world-class sailing races, resulting in the island swarmed by hundreds of tourists and yachts with colorful sails.
The last two years Hydra hosts distinguished Greek and foreign athletes and also others who want to participate in a sporting weekend with trailing, which provides athletes and attendees a unique experience and very intensive action.
For many years Greeks and foreigners find in Hydra the perfect romantic destination to celebrate their weddings since Hydra have taken care to provide all the necessary amenities for the preparation of the wedding ceremony.
Hydra remains a popular gathering center of Artists and "produces" its own painters and writers like Panagiotis Tetsis, which is the greatest living painter of modern Greece, who was born and still continue living here. Apart from the Museums, where you can relive the glorious history of the island, in the recent past had been established the School of Fine Arts, which encourages young artists to produce their own arts. In 1983 Dakis Ioannou founded DESTE, a cultural foundation of modern art, which, since 2009, houses projects of several new artists.
From then until today Hydra managed to maintain all the traditional elements from its glorious past, along with a renewed and romantic aura that perpertrates the island.
Reaching the port, Hydra island looks glamorous like an art-paint, with grey, white and blue colours above the blue of the sea, an exemplar of architectonics and aesthetics. The town of Hydra island, which is the centre of the whole island, is built amphitheatrically around the port, combining nature and architecture.
From your very first visit, a magic feeling surrounds you. Perhaps it's in the unique architecture and graphic scenes throughout the Island, or perhaps it's in its long history and rich heritage, or even - a fusion of all. A stroll through the town's picturesque cobble stone streets, will convince you of its uniqueness. The visitor, coming for the first time, is impressed from the view of the tall buildings and Manors, which exist in the port.
Right and left from the entrance of the port, there are the Parapets with the Canons, which protected the town. Today, the port of Hydra is filled with little and big yachts, boats and cruisers. You can walk to the port, the heart of the town, take a stroll at the tourist shops, admire the old Manors and visit the Museum of Hydra island.
Also you can stroll the picturesque narrow cobble stone alleys and reach the old Settlement of the town, to the medieval fortress town of Kiafa and from there to enjoy the view toward the Peloponnese. Main characteristic of Hydra is that there are no wheeled vehicles and the transportation of people is being made only by donkeys, a thing that makes the Island even more pictursque. For swimming in the town, there are offered the rocks of Spilia, Hydroneta, and a short distance from there, Avlaki, Kamini and cosmopolitan Mandraki.
The connection of the town with the other beautiful beaches, Vlycho, Saint Nicholas, Bisti ... is being done only from the sea with boats or sea taxis. Today the residents of Hydra do not exceed 3,000 and nearly everyone involved with tourism.In Hydra is located the Cathedral of Hydra - Spetses - Poros -Aigina. The Cathedral of Hydra accommodates the Town Hall and the Ecclesiastic museum.
Hydra is famous for the calm life is offers to the visitors in the day, but also for the intense, cosmopolitan night life. So the island each year receives a large number of Greek and foreign visitors.
Hydra, with its peculiar architecture and continuous supply of tourism and cultural life remains the jewel of the Gulf Islands and one of the greatest resorts in Greece.
The imposing houses and well-kept mansions, built amphitheatrically beneath the bare cliffs with tourist shops and jewelers, restaurants and cafes, boats, sea taxis and large yachts, compose the port of Hydra and affirm the routine of Hydraians that bears little resemblance to the 21st century.
The coastal road, the Paul Kountouriotis street, extends from the statue of Miaoulis until the location Petalo. The street's paving was completed in 1912 and to this, ends all the paved vertical paths, that start from the top and end up at the sea. Right and left from the entrance of the port, there are the Parapets with the Canons, which protected the town. On the left side of the harbor, over the left bastion, there is the statue of Admiral Andreas Miaoulis, which was erected in 1993 andits base are buried the bones of Miaoulis, who came to Hydra in 1985. On the waterfront, under the ramparts, are the rusty old chains that closed the entrance to the harbor. The road which starts near the statue, leads in Mandraki, which was the military port during the Revolution. West of the statue of A. Miaoulis, at the beginning of the beach of the port, is the Port Authority and the KEP which was being housed in the old stone made gunpowder house and a little beyond the art gallery and concert "Melina Merkouri". Next to the Port Authority, is the marble building that houses the Historical Archive-Museum of Hydra and following is the home of Tsamadou family, which houses the famous School of Merchant Marine. At the point of the harbor opposite the breakwater, beats the heart of town. Here are banks, public offices, shops, restaurants and cafes. In the center of the harbor, is located the Cathedral of Hydra, built in 1648 and reconstructed in 1774. A three-aisled basilica with a dome, two marble towers and two silver chandeliers inside. Previously the Cathedral served as a Monastery of the Virgin Mary. Today in the courtyard of the Cathedral there are statues of Lazarus Kountouriotis and Andreas Miaoulis and the tomb of Lazarus Kountouriotis. Some of the buildings of the monastery houses the town hall and the Byzantine - Ecclesiastical Museum of Hydra.
In front of the Monastery there is the Kountourioti Paul's Square with the statue of the Greek politician dominating its center. After the square, at the left, stands the Church of the Visitation with the wooden iconostasis.
Further down a steep path to the left, leads to the Mansion of Tombazis, which today houses the School of Fine Arts. Rightmost of the Monastery of the Assumption begins a narrow, paved and scenic winding road that leads to the old town of Kiafa. The road passes right by the Gyrokomeio and then leads to Kamini.
Soon we meet the Mansion of Kountourioti Lazarus, built in the late 18th century and is now a branch of the National Historical Museum. Continuing to the road, we reache the Periptero, the western bastion of the harbor and one of the most beautiful location of Hydra. Under the Periptero is the rocky coast of Spilia.
Over the cannons, to the left there is a small pine forest with the mansion of George Kountourioti be raised amongst the pine trees and up to the the hills stand in a line the derelict mills. The road continues, reaches Avlaki, a picturesque district built on the steep slope of the mountain, to reach the picturesque Kaminia.
The alleys and small streets of the Town
The beauty of Hydra is not confined to the beaches and the sightseeings. There are scenic and beautiful areas within the town, which you enjoy while strolling the narrow cobblestone streets, between houses with unique architecture, the flowers, the picturesque tavernas and the small tourist shops.
If you ascend the stairs of the Town, you will reach the medieval fortress town of Kiafa, a village with stone-built houses, high walls and narrow streets. Here you will be greeted by the smell of cut wood from carpentry while brightly colored houses and churches will enliven your mood. From the hill of Kiafa you can enjoy the fantastic view that reaches across the Peloponnese.
Touring the inland
The coastal road that goes to Mandraki, branches at Mandraki and ascends to the convent of St. Nicholas, 17th century. After the dock, the first road to the left leads to the Stadium and then to the pine region of the Monastery of Agia Fotini. Starting from the monastery of Agia Fotini, we follow the path and after a while we find the Mill, a stone building of the 18th century, which was used for processing wheat. At this point the road branches into two paths that lead to the Monasteries of St. Matrona and the Holy Trinity.
The road starts from the middle of the harbor, Miaoulis Street, passing by the square Admiral N. Botsi, the smallest square of Five Prime Ministers monument and leads to Kala Pigadia. The name of the district is due to the two wells, built in 1803, George Voulgaris administration, that exist there and were supplying with water the inhabitants of the city for more than 200 years.
From Kala Pigadia the uphill road continues and leads to the hill of Kiafa. At the top of the hill stands the Church of St. Constantine of Hydra, built on the site where it was the home of the Saint. In Kiafa there is also the old church of St John the Faster with marvelous frescoes of the 17th century, considered one of the oldest on the island and the church of Agia Paraskevi.
The steep trail that climbs the mountain leads to the monastery of Prophet Elias, which was for a time imprisoned Kolokotronis and to the convent of St. Eupraxia. From here the visitor can enjoy the view which reaches from the town and port of Hydra, until the opposite Peloponnesian coast.
Going up to the Kiafa you can see the manor of Lazarus Kountouriotis, and old Sachtoureio High School, a place of art and the church Ypapanti from 1780 with impressive carved iconostasis. Continuing, we climb the hill of Agios Athanasios and mills. From the highest point, Hydra unfolds before you with every detail. The 7 castled today windmills were used for making gunpowder.
The past 1930 Hydra island
Life in Hydra was diffrent from time to time, depending on sponge fishing, the main economy in the island. All the weekends where the same except from when there where main festivities, like Easter. The shops where all closed, until the end of the Church, apart from the cafes, which were servicing.
When the Monastery bells were ringing, that meant the traffic at the port was starting and the people going to the shops and at the port. There where six cafes that were open on the Sunday morning. There were mice restaurants to eat and at the start of the 1930's has opened one grocerie store. Tavernas there were plentful, many of them belonged to locals, who stayed on the island.
Tavernas were full of people just to drink ouzo and local wine. There were some hairdressers also, men mostly. Another event, apart from the Church was the comming of the boat from Pireus, with its manu tourists, people and products. Any boats, that time were doing the route from and towards the Argosaronic islands and unfortunately, many were the accidents and shipwrecks.
The Mansions in Hydra are three and four-storey imposing and austere buildings, closely related to the glorious history of Hydra.
They were built in the late 18th and early 19th century, an era of economic prosperity for the island, thanks to trade and shipping, and bear Genoese architectural elements. The wealthy ship-owners, having traveled a lot, wanted to "introduce" into Hydra features of the European architecture, to join in the lifestyle of western bourgeois society, as the writer George Procopius tells us in his study "The architecture of the mansions of Hydra ".
On the east side of the harbor you can see the Mansion of Lazarus Tsamadou, which today houses the Merchant Marine Academy, which keeps alive the maritime tradition of Hydra and the Mansion of Kriezi, which today houses the Nursing Home.
Over the waterfront dominates the historic Mansion of Lazarus Kountouriotis, which operates today as an annex of the National Historical Museum. Built in shape Π, painted with natural ocher and furnished, it shows us the room where he spent most of his time and other interesting rooms like the shrine next to the entrance and the smoking room.
On the western side of the city you can see the historic Mansion of Frangiskos Voulgaris, one of the great mansions of 1800, which today houses the Villa Hydrea. It has oriental elements such as wooden ceilings of Ottoman Rococo. Also stands out the marble fountain in the ballroom with the loft for musicians and oil paintings of nautical themes. The Mansion frames large wooden windows looking out over the harbor, as well as charming terraces.
On the western side of the city you can see the four-story Mansion of Tompazis, in Italian style, built by Manolis Tompazis and his wife Xanthi Sahini, and already owned from 1936 from the School of Fine Arts and works as annex to it. Today its rooms serve as hostels for budding artists who come to fight with the colors and magic of Hydra. The roofs and the wooden doors inside are new and the living room upstairs is considered the most authentic room. From the ceiling it has been rescued the four corners and the central rosette.
Behind the Mansions of Voulgaris and Tompazi, on the fortification hill among pines and spectacular views, stands the Mansion built by Georgios Kountouriotis, one of the largest owners of Hydra and active politician during the Greek Revolution. Later the Mansion was inherited by his grandson, Paul Kountouriotis, admiral during the Balkan Wars and the first President of the Greek Republic. Each of the windows, if open, "frames" perfectly the landscape, like artwork depicting the sea and the picturesque village. Today it operates as the Museum of modern history of Hydra.
In the same area there are the Mansions of Votsi and Economou, and other old mansions of some historical persons, who lost their fortunes turning their commercial ships into warships for the Revolution, and have identified their name to the independence of Greece. Residents of the island, which until then built their homes with the characteristic whitewashed terraces, quickly copied the four-sided roofs of these Mansions, so the town of Hydra took the familiar image that has got today.
"If you start noticing the details, the Hydra is inexhaustible," says visual artist Dimitris Antonitsis as we enter into one of the old Mansions of Kriezi family, smaller in scale but very special for the respect with which it has been approached by the important American artist Brice Marden (its current owner). All of its rooms have been preserved with almost touching diligence.
West of the city, outside the village also stands the Mansion of Bountouri, featuring a small garden and a private chapel. In the district "Kala Pigadia" there is the Mansion of Gkorogianni, which there is a characteristic living room of Macedonian type.
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, to admire the sunset from "Periptero" and "Spilia" and to visit the 6 Monasteries and the 300 churches of Hydra.
Especially, you have to visit : The twin Monasteries of Saint Eupraxia and Prophet Elias, where in 1825 were imprisoned some of the heroes of Greek Revolution, amongst them and Kolokotronis.
The Monastery of Saint Trinity, The Monasteryof Saint Matrona, The Monastery of Saint Nikolaos. The Monastery of Virgin Mary of Zoubra, and the Church of dormition, with the Byzantine and Ecclesiastic Museum.
Also, you have to visit the Churches of Hypapante and St. John the abstinent, with the wonderful wall paintings of the 18th century,theMuseum of History, which runs daily and has got importand relics, archives and also a library. 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.
Miaoulia are the largest events of the island, dedicated to the Admiral Andrea Miaouli, held each year at the last week of June, closest to the 21rst of June, to mark the 177 years after the death of Admiral Andreas Miaoulis. The celebration lasts one week.
The event includes, in the day before the last, celebrations, the welcomming of the representative of the Navy and the officials at City Hall by the Mayor and the City Council. The last day, there is a Holy Mass at the Cathedral and a transfer from the Archive - Museum of the vessel with the heart of Admiral Andreas Miaoulis. Then a memorial service at the statue of Admiral Andreas Miaoulis.
In "Miaouleia" unless part of the ritual, including exhibitions, lectures, musical events, theatrical performances, games, folk dances, torch, boating and sports games. Followed by a crowd, honoring thus this feast of remembrance events and people that played a major role in the outcome of the revolution of 1821.
The festivities culminate and solemnly closed with the burning of fireworks, and the enactment of the Battle of Geronta and the burning of Touk flagship, the third and final day of events.
Andreas Vokos, nicknamed Miaoulis (Greek: Ανδρέας Βώκος Μιαούλης, 20 May 1768 – 24 June 1835), was an admiral and politician who commanded Greek naval forces during the Greek War of Independence (1821-1829).
Miaoulis, who was of Arvanite origin, was born in Euboea and settled on the island of Hydra east of the Morea and was known among his fellow islanders as a trader in corn who had gained wealth and made a popular use of his money. He had been a merchant captain, and was chosen to lead the naval forces of the islands when they rose against the government of the Sultan. Miaoulis contributed in every way possible to the cause of the resistance against the Turks.
He expended the money he had made from his wheat-shipping business during the Napoleonic Wars. Between May 1825 and January 1826,Miaoulis led the Greeks to victory over the Turks in skirmishes off Modon, Cape Matapan, Suda, and Cape Papas.
The islanders had enjoyed some measure of exemption from the worst excesses of the Turkish officials, but suffered severely from the conscription raised to man the Turkish ships; and though they seemed to be peculiarly open to attack by the Sultan's forces from the sea, they took an early and active part in the rising.
As early as 1822 Miaoulis was appointed navarch, (Greek: Νάυαρχος) or admiral, of the swarm of small vessels which formed the insurgent fleet. He commanded the expedition sent to take revenge for the massacre of Chios in the same year. He was victorious at the Battle of Nauplia in September. In 1824, after the conquest of Psara by the Turks, he commanded the Greek forces which prevented the further progress of the Sultan's fleet, though at the cost of the loss of many fire ships and men.
But in the same year he was unable to prevent the Egyptian forces from occupying Navarino, though he harassed them with some success. In 1825 he succeeded in carrying stores and reinforcements into Missolonghi, when it was besieged for the second time, though he could not avert its fall. In order to save Missolonghi, he attempted to disrupt the sea communications of the Egyptian forces. In this he failed owing to the enormous disproportion of the two squadrons in the siege and strength of the ships.
As the war went on, the naval power of the Greeks diminished, partly owing to the penury of their treasury and partly to the growth of piracy in the anarchy of the Eastern Mediterrane. He continued to be the naval chief of the Greeks until the former Royal Navy officer Thomas Cochrane entered their service in 1827. Miaoulis then retired in order to leave the British officer free to act as commander.
An illustration showing the triumphant Admiral Andreas Miaoulis's fleet in Hydra. When Miaoulis retired to make room for Cochrane, the conduct of the struggle had really passed into the hands of the Great Powers. When independence had been obtained, Miaoulis in his old age was entangled in the civil conflicts of his country, as an opponent of Capodistrias and the Russian Party : he seized some of the principal ships of the Greek fleet at Poros in August 1831, including the Hellas, and destroyed them during the counter-attack of the Russian fleet.
He was one of the deputation sent to invite King Otho to accept the crown of Greece, and was made rear-admiral and then vice-admiral by him. Otto also awarded him with the Grand Cross of the Order of the Redeemer.
Miaoulis died on 24 June 1835 at Athens. He was buried in Piraeus near the tomb of Themistocles, the founder of the ancient Athenian Navy. His heart rests in an urn at the Ministry of Commercial Navy. The Hellenic Navy named a cruiser, the Navarchos Miaoulis, after him in 1879.
A big festival, called Miaoulia, takes place in Hydra every year the weekend closest to the 21st June, to honor Admiral Miaoulis, a most important man of the Greek Revolution in 1821.
KOUNTOURIOTIA are celebrations, organized by the Municipality of Hydra, commemorating the 76 years since the death of the First President of the Greek Republic, Hydra Admiral Paul Kountourioti.
During the festivities, arount at the end of August, there are a lot of tourists and locals who attend, also invited officials, representatives of political and military authorities as well as representatives of literature and art.The Kountourioteia include a lavish six-day celebration program, which is filled with tours of the island's museums, exhibitions, screenings, lectures, book presentations and sporting events.
On the last day of the events there is a memorial service and wreath laying at the statue and the Tomb of the Admiral and the first President of the Greek Republic, Paul Kountourioti.
Paul Kountouriotis was born in Hydra in April 1855 and descended from the noble naval family Kountourioti. He was the son of Theodore Kountourioti, son of former Prime Minister of Greece George Kountourioti.
Following the naval tradition of the family, he joined the Royal Navy in 1886 and participated as a lieutenant in naval operations in Preveza, as well as those in Crete during the Greco-Turkish War of 1897 with the rank of lieutenant commander. As captain of "Alpheus" landed the expedition of Colonel Timoleon Vassos at Kolimbari Chania in February 1897 and at the Skala Leptokaryas in April 1897.
In 1908 he became the adjutant of King George I and the following year he was promoted to captain. In June 1911 and due to indiscipline of the crew of the battleship Averof, the position of the captain took the then captain Paul Koundoriotis. With the outbreak of the Balkan wars he was promoted to Rear Admiral, while on 16 April 1912 he became Chief of Staff of the Navy.
Then he becomes the head of the fleet in the Aegean and take action. As commander of the battleship "Averof" occupies Limnos and the next day Thasos, Imbros, Tenedos, Psara, Agios Efstratios and Samothraki. Until Dec. 21 he had been able to liberate almost all the islands, including the island of Chios. With the battleship "Averof" he participated in two battles in Elli and Limnos (5 January 1913). The last battle won thanks to one daring maneuver that Kountouriotis made. Successful handling of the Turkish fleet forced them to withdraw to the Dardanelles.
By the end of the Balkan wars he was promoted to vice admiral in battle for excellent service. It is worth noting that it was the first Greek after Konstantinos Kanaris that had received this degree. Disagreeing with the policy of neutrality of Greece in World War II participated in the government of Thessaloniki as a member of the Triumvirate (Daglis-Venizelos-Koundouriotis). In 1917 he took once again the portfolio of the Ministry of seafarers and the same year he retired with the rank of honorary admiral.
After the death of King Alexander, he was appointed Regent until November 1920, and again after the departure of King Constantine in Asia Minor (spring 1921 to spring 1922). Also after the departure of George II of the country, in December 1923, by proclamation of the Republic in March 1924. As a person highly respected and widely accepted provisionally elected the first president of the Republic, a position he held until 1926 when he resigned protesting the dictatorship of General Theodoros Pangalos. On June 4, 1929 re-elected as president by the House and Senate but resigned permanently this time, in December of that year for health reasons.
He died on August 22, 1935 in Paleo Faliro and was buried in the family tomb of the family Kountourioti in Hydra, as his desire. His son, Theodore Koundoriotis, joined the navy and even served as governor of the legendary battleship Averof.
USEFUL PHONE NUMBERS
TOWN HALL (+30) 22983 - 20200(+30) 22983 - 20200 / 22980 - 52210, 53003
CATHEDRAL (+30) 22980 - 52207(+30) 22980 - 52207
POLICE (+30) 22980 - 52205(+30) 22980 - 52205
PORT AUTHORITY (+30) 22980-52279(+30) 22980-52279
MUNICIPAL PORT FUND OF HYDRA (+30) 22980 - 52333(+30) 22980 - 52333
NAVAL ACADEMY (+30) 22980 - 52208(+30) 22980 - 52208
HOSPITAL (+30) 22980 - 53150(+30) 22980 - 53150
MEDICAL CENTER (+30) 22980 - 52420(+30) 22980 - 52420
PHARMACY "VAGGELIS RAFALIAS" (+30) 22980 - 52059(+30) 22980 - 52059
PHARMACY "PANAGIOTIS GAVALAS " (+30) 22980 - 53260(+30) 22980 - 53260
POST OFFICE (+30) 22980 - 52262(+30) 22980 - 52262, 53398
Ε.Ο.Τ. (+30) 22980 - 52184(+30) 22980 - 52184
HISTORIC FILE MUSEUM (+30) 22980 - 52355(+30) 22980 - 52355, 69469297106946929710
ECCLECIASTIC MUSEUM (+30) 22980 - 54071(+30) 22980 - 54071
"L. KOUNTOURIOTIS" MUSEUM (+30) 22980 - 52421(+30) 22980 - 52421
"P. KOUNTOURIOTIS " MUSEUM (+30) 22980 - 52245(+30) 22980 - 52245
HELLAS FLYING DOLPHIN (+30) 22980 - 54007(+30) 22980 - 54007, 53812
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