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Six: Hydra Revisited

Hydra shares many characteristics with the majority of islands in the Aegean archipelago, but is set apart both by its absence from the long list of islands whose history has been documented since early antiquity and by its proximity to the mainland. Apparently, settlement on the island did not begin before comparatively recent times, but its proximity to the Peloponnesos helps to explain the development of the present town after the sixteenth century. (Page 261)

Hydra?s great economic boom occurred during the forty-one-year period between 1774, when the treaty of Kuchuk-Kainardji was signed, and 1815, the year Napoleonic wars ended. The prosperity of these years essentially produced the town?s present perceptible form. (Page 275)

Since the early 1960s, new and powerful intrusions into Hydra?s vernacular manners and forms have occurred as the result of national and international tourism and related economic development. The result has been dramatic social change on the island, as elsewhere in Greece. Hydra?s status has become international, a transformation paralleled in other areas of life, including patterns of employment, gender relationships, and education. While the island?s year-round population has remained steady at about twenty-five hundred, seasonal waves of temporary visitors bring it to many times that number. Ironically, during this period of great change, Hydra has been recognized as an architectural treasure and has come under a strict national preservation law. (Page 295)

Table of Contents from The Aegean Crucible

The Aegean Crucible
The Aegean Crucible
Tracing Vernacular Architecture in
Post-Byzantine Centuries
Constantine E. Michaelides, FAIA
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