LONG BEFORE IT WAS IDENTIFIED TO BE THE BIRTHPLACE OF THE TWIN DEITY APOLLO AND ARTEMIS, DELOS WAS A HOLY SANCTUARY. THE ISLE WAS ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT IN THE CYCLADES AND IN 425 BC IT WAS DECIDED UNDER ATHENIAN RULE THAT DELOS WAS SO SACRED NO ONE WAS ALLOWED TO BE BORN OR DIE HERE. BUT BY THE END OF THE 4TH CENTURY BC THE MACEDONIANS HAD TAKEN OVER THE SET OF POWER IN THIS AREA AND FOUND DELOS GEOGRAPHICAL LOCATION TOO IMPORTANT TO NOT USE. AS THUS SLOWLY THE ISLAND BECAME AN IMPORTANT TRADE AND COMMERCIAL CENTER. WHEN THE ROMANS FOLLOWED DELOS REACHED ITS COMMERCIAL PEAK, UNTIL IN THE FIRST CENTURY BC, WHEN THE ROMAN EMPIRE CONCENTRATED ON THE EAST AND TURNED ITS ATTENTION TO RHODES. DURING THE REIGN OF THE OTTOMAN EMPIRE, DELOS WAS CRUSHED AND DESTROYED, LEFT IN THE FAMOUS RUINS WE KNOW TODAY.
On the left hand side from Delos lies Mykonos. Though much larger for millennia it basked in the shadow of the divinity of Delos, but with the decline of the sacred isle, Mykonos, so far only used as a supply island, slowly immerged in the Mediterranean paradise it is today. Recent discoveries have uncovered remnants of the Neolithic Kares tribe, dating back as far as 3000BC and Greek mythology teaches us it was on this island that Hercules and Poseidon joined forces to destroy some of the Giants that opposed Zeus. But that all happened before the isle received its name, which was given in honor of Apollo’s grandson Mykons. Starting as early as ancient times the Cycladic islands were a natural breeding ground for piracy. Mykonos had its fair share, giving shelter to raiders of the sea until the beginning of the 19th century.
Tourism flourished on Mykonos with ups and downs, but really started to blossom in the 1950’s. Due to the isle’s isolated character, Mykonos first became a haven for the rich and famous, but with the increase of public transportation, soon the island became accessible for everyone else as well. Today Mykonos enjoys a success unparalleled in its history by having become one of the worlds most famous vacation islands. The reasons are not hard to find.
Mykonos has less than 10,000 inhabitants but yearly about 1 million tourists visit the island. True, it is expensive, commercial and crowded, but it is also stunningly beautiful. You can loose yourself scrolling through the narrow streets in Mykonos Town, also known as Chora, admiring the white washed buildings with their often blue painted stairs and balconies that so perfectly harmonize with the grey green olive trees and generous pink bougainvillea. True also that people tend to dress up, many of them arriving on luxurious cruise ships, but no one will think lesser of you when you, dressed in shorts and flip flops, take a rest against the ancient walls of the Church of Panagia Paraportiani, feeling the strong ghostly wind so famous for Mykonos in your face. No where else can you enjoy evenings as in Little Venice, drinking a glass of wine on one of the many balconies overhanging the steep cliffs while the mighty waves break on the granite rocks just meters underneath you. The beaches are white, the sea is blue. Mykonos is a true paradise.
Mykonos is a renowned gay destination. People are friendly and the island offers enough entertainment. In fact, your days can become pretty busy if you wish them to be. Elia Beach is the beach to be during the day. It is the most famous gay beach on the island and, even though the crowd is mixed, scores high on the list of gay beaches in the world. Don’t stay too long though. You do not want to miss a fresh dive in the pool of one of the excellent hotels, such as Rochari Hotel which offers not only a very friendly and welcoming atmosphere, but also one of the isle’s most splendid views. Which comes in handy because the aperitif against a backdrop of Mykonos’ famous sunset is one of the days most magical moments. A quick visit to the uptempo pre-evening in Elysium hotel is always fun, but might get a bit boring after having to queue up for a good 20 minutes to place your drinks order. Downtown Mykonos offers plenty of wining and dining opportunities, whether you are alone, with your lover or with a group of friends. And when the night falls, you definitely want to visit one of Mykonos acclaimed bars and clubs, such as Lola, Jackie O and Babylon. And whatever you do at night, do not forget a visit to the celebrated Porta bar, a stone’s throw away from Nico’s Taverna. Literally. And for the hard core clubbers under you, Mykonos now also knows its own annual circuit festival XLSior.
When returning to your gay friendly accommodation such as Rochari Hotel, you might be lucky finding some of the sexy guys you saw earlier that night casually cruising around the pool or in the semi open air corridors. And if after a full night of excitement you don’t feel like beach the next day, you can choose in chilling at the poolside or going cultural. Why not take a ferry and visit the ancient sacred grounds of Delos, now abandoned but still silently watching out over its bigger neighbor Mykonos. It took several millennia for Mykonos to mature, but the island has proudly grown into a vacation Eden. There can’t be any doubt that this was what the gods had in mind when they threw the isle in the Big Green. –BM-
For more information on Rochari Hotel: Rochari Hotel Mykonos, A Divine Destination.
MYKONOS | BEAUTIFULMAG
ROCHARI HOTEL | BEAUTIFULMAG