Hydra enchants its visitors with its traditional architecture and imposing mansions, its blooming gardens and scenic coblestones, and its pleathora of churches and monasteries. the blue of the sea fuses with the white and gray tones of the island, creating a peaceful and serene atmosphere.
Hydra has been a place of inspiration for many artists and literary figures, including N. Chatzikyriakos, Gikas, P. Petsis, Elytis, Egonopoulos, Seferis, and Henry Miller who have left their mark on the island. Today, Hydra continues to inspire artists, such as Leonard Cohenm who has an old mansion on the highest part of the island, in which he has written many books and several songs.
Greek Orthodox Easter in Hydra is a unique experience, from the majestic Orthodox services held outdoors in candlelight on Good Friday and Good Saturday, to local customs like immersing the Epitaph in the sea, on Good Friday evening, in Kamini beach.
Every July takes place in Hydra the International Festival of puppet show. It's a non-profit festival
and it is done with the Kind cooperation of Sweden. The actors don't get paid and the audience, who come to see the marvelous plays, do not pay for a ticket. It is a very interesting and beautiful festival which has got many supporters,
Miaoulia, celebrated in memory of Admiral Miaoulis, is one of the most popular events in Hydra. It takes place every year near the end of June, during the festivities of the Nautical Week. Festivities include boat races, sailing-races and swimming contests. The highlight of the celebrations is the representation of the setting on fire of the Ottoman fleet flagship and the burning of fireworks during the last day, which attracts many visitors to the island.
Like elsewhere in Greece, Easter chocolate eggs are very popular.
You can find them in any size and all sorts of decorations (from cartoons, flowers to football team colors).
It's a popular present for young children and a nice decoration for Easter meal. Most of these eggs in many cases hide a small toy, so children are eager to break them (and eat them afterwards) and find out what they hide inside...
Also on Saturday night when in Orthodox church we celebrate Ressurection of Christ, just before the event all lights go off and people light candles. Many of these candles are beautifully decorated even with toys and as usual children compete for the best decoration. Nowadays most are readily bought from a lot of shops (like here in Hydra from Anemoni confisserie, see additonal pic
After the fireworks there is a concert held at the centre of the harbor and the municipality lays on food and refreshments for anyone who wants to have some while they watch the musicians and dancers.
On Sunday morning at around 10:00, there are processions and parades in full costume and uniforms, wreaths are laid at the statue of Miaoulis by local authorities
As darkeness comes and after the welcome speech from the Mayor (which can last long…), a small band of local men in traditional dress, board a small boat. Then all the lights of the town and harbour are switched off as they make their way to the Ottoman ship replica under loudly played music. Their task is to blow it up as noisily as possible but to make a quick getaway so they don't get blown up at the same time . There are already firewoks inside the ship so the explosion is noisy but attractive. The cannons round the port roar out as the ship explodes and this is the signal for the fireworks to begin (which can last for some time)
The Saturday night around 24-26th of June (exact dates each year is adviced to know well before) is without doubt one of the best events hosted by Hydra: Miaoulia festival’s highlight: the burning of the Ottoman flagship. From late afternoon onwards, tables at cafes with prime viewing space are reserved. By the time the celebration starts (at around 9pm) there isn't a square meter of space left along either side of the harbour. Many people choose (wisely thinking) to get into boats and watch the whole event from off shore. The whole point of the evening is the re-enactment of the destruction of the Ottoman flagship (as it happened during the war of Indepedence). Of course nowadays apart from honouring Admiral Miaoulis it’s the finest occasion to get hordes of tourists on the island.
Miaoulia is a week long festival, dedicated to Admiral Miaoulis's military action during the Greek War of Independence (1821-1827). It takes place every year towards the end of June and it is a part of the Nautical Week celebrations.
Admiral Miaoulis is a favourite hero of Hydra: he was born in Hydra in 1769. He was 16 years old when he took in command the Ship his father owned and during the Napoleon War he broke many times the blockade of the English and earned many money from the sea commerce.In 1822 he stopped the replenishment of the Ottoman Turks in the place Nauplio and he managed to break the Turkish blockage and give food and water to the people in the place Mesologi. In 1823 he won the turks in the place Artemisio and in 1824 in Geronta. In 1825 he stopped the replenishment of Imbraim in Peloponnesus and damaged the Egyptian fleet in the place Methoni. He died in Athens in 1835.
Boat races, swimming contents, road races, torch-hold races and folk dances are part of the Miaoulia Festival that reaches its climax with the re-construction of the destruction of the Ottoman flagship (see additional pics)
EVERY YEAR , IN THE END OF JUNE AND SPECIFICALLY IN THE LAST WEEKEND OF JUNE TAKES PLACE AN EXTRAODINARY CUSTOM IN HYDRA. IT'S CALLED MIAOULIA FESTIVAL AND IT IS THE HONOUR OF A GREAT WORRIOR OF THE GREEK REVOLUTION IN 1821. THE PEAK OF THE FESTIVAL TAKES PLACE IN THE PORT OF HYDRA ON SATURDAY NIGHT , WHEN ALL LIGHTS ARE GONE AND YOU CAN ONLY SEE A SMALL BOAT (MIAOULIS WAS THE CAPTAIN) THAT ATTACKS A TURKISH SHIP WITH FIRE... THE ATMOSPHERE IS REALLY GREAT ! IN COMBINATION WITH THE APPROPRIATE MUSIC AND FIREWORKS IS A SPECTACLE THAT YOU CAN NOT MISS ! ABSOLUTELY FABULOUS...