Zeus and the Titans battle in this Greek Island-A A +A
By Luci Lizares
Saturday, May 3, 2014
IT’S summertime and everyone is heading out to a desired summer destination. Here’s one that is most favored by many and we’re talking about Mykonos in Greece. Mykonos is set within the lapis lazule blue of the Aegean Sea. Since the cruise ship, Royal Princess, could not dock in the island itself, we had to take a tender.
In Greek mythology, the island is said to have been the location of the battles between Zeus and the Titans. Hercules, in one of these great battles, lured the Giants from Mt. Olympus, killed them and threw them into the sea where they were petrified and turned into huge rocks forming the island of Mykonos.
Mykonos town is stunningly picturesque with its Cycladic architecture, which has remained intact due to the strict building regulations. It is one of the most cosmopolitan and crowded towns in the Aegean. It is a popular destination for cruise ships.
The information we got from our tour guide was that it was in the 1960s that Mykonos was discovered by Europe’s jet set when Jackie Onassis took a liking to the island. It became an Athenian status symbol. Asking her about Aristotle Onassis, she says that he was much loved by the Greeks. In any of the isles, the Greeks would open their homes for him to stay. Jackie, however, was not as loved. She preferred to stay in a plush hotel behind the windmills (I will write about this in the next article).
It was a beautiful summer’s day in European climate so we took a walking tour of the island, taking us through a maze of narrow, winding corridors, chapels, homes, art galleries, high-end boutiques, stylish bars, restaurants and cafés and most with flowering bougainvilleas.
Still going through the labyrinth of small streets, aside from the commercial district, our tour guide brought us to the residential area as well. Clothes are hanged out to dry right on the street. It is quite surprising that they don’t get stolen. We also saw some elegant homes.
The Greeks revere their goddesses like Athena and Artemis. But as we traversed farther through the town, we saw a bust in the square dedicated to Manto Mavrogenous. She was a Greek heroine in the Greek War of Independence. A rich woman, she spent all her fortune for the Hellenic cause. Under her encouragement, her European friends contributed money and guns to the revolution. Greece has honored this heroine by naming several streets after her as well as several commemorative coins in her honor. How interesting to discover the honor Greeks bestow their women and it is not limited to their goddesses.
The Mykonian landscape is the plethora of votive chapels. The locals continue the tradition of building chapels as an act of devotion to the Virgin Mary or their favorite saint. Usually there is a chapel built by each family. Chapels play a vital role in the spiritual and social life of Mykonians. In Mykonos town alone, it is said that there are about 80 churches. The domes of the chapels are usually painted red if not blue.
Of all the churches in the town, the most impressive and famous is Panagia Paraportianí. A white-washed church dating back to 1425, completed in the 17th century, it is the most photographed of the 1,000 churches on the whole island of Mykonos. It is made up of four chapels at ground level with another one above. The church is located in the Kastro district, the oldest section of Mykonos Town.
There is one Catholic Church in Mykonos and is dedicated to the Virgin of St. Rosary since 1668. The icon above the altar is the Blessed Virgin and the Child Jesus between St. Dominic and St. Catherine of Sienna. It was transported to Mykonos from Venice in 1715. During the winter months, and especially during the periods of Christmas, Epiphany and Lent, liturgies take place periodically for the permanent Catholic residents of Mykonos. For Easter there is one special program in line with the celebration of the Western Calendar, for the benefit of foreign tourists. So if you’re a Catholic and in Mykonos, you can catch this.
More next week…
Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on May 03, 2014.