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Editorial

The Cycladic Islands – Iconic for a Reason

It is no secret that Greece is a country that is endowed with stunning natural beauty. The main driver of the economy is tourism for good reasons – between its ancient history and today’s pristine beaches and beautiful mountain ranges and everything in between, Greece is poised this summer to have yet another record-breaking summer tourism season.

If you ask somebody who has never been to Greece what are some of the images that pop into their head without having seen them in person, in the past the answer might have been the Parthenon, but now in the digital age where one can browse Google Images or Instagram, perhaps an equally likely answer might be the Cyclades Islands.

The Cyclades are located directly south of Athens and have played an important role in Greek and southeastern Mediterranean society throughout antiquity and still do so today. In ancient times, the Cyclades functioned as the linchpin of the Delian league which was an important security agreement between islands and the city of Athens when the common enemy, the Persians with their powerful fleet and army, were knocking on Greece’s door.

In more recent times, the islands were losing population until the mid-20th century when tourism gradually took the place of the more traditional economic driver, shipping.

There is no mystery as to why tourism became such a critical lifeline for the beautiful islands – they are in close proximity to Athens, possess picturesque harbors, have wonderful food, produce excellent wine – the white in particular – and have breezes that offer relief during the hottest summer months.

The tourism boom began when the wealthy in the mid-20th century wanted to purchase summer homes on islands but did not want to travel far away from Athens. They beat a path to islands such as Mykonos, Santorini, Naxos, and Paros, along with the others. They have become international tourism phenomena, boasting high-end dining experience, top-tier hotels, and gorgeous sunsets – all while never losing Greek authenticity.

The Cyclades, with their now-iconic cubist homes painted white with blue window shutters  and the blue domes of neighboring churches will only increase their popularity with visitors thanks to initiatives by the national and local authorities aimed at providing the local populations with improved infrastructure and services that also translate into a tourism season that is safer and more enjoyable for all visitors.

Thank you for allowing The National Herald to be your gateway to the majestic and iconic Cycladic Islands.

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