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Milos Island, Greece

also known as Melos

Milos or Melos (/ˈmɛlɒsˌ -oʊsˌ ˈmiːlɒs, -loʊs/; Modern Greek: Μήλος [ˈmilos]; Ancient Greek: Μῆλος Melos) is a magical island of volcanic nature, located in the southwestern Cyclades. One comes across many wonderful finds upon visiting it, but it is most celebrated for the statue of Venus of Milo (Aphrodite), an elegant piece of Greek Ancient Art, that was discovered on Milos and resides in the Louvre Museum, Paris. Furthermore, statues of the Greek god Asclepius - currently housed in the British Museum - Poseidon and an archaic Apollo in Athens were also discovered on the island.

Due to its volcanic origin, Milos is a rarity among Cycladic islands, with marvelous rock formations, splendid beaches, traditional white houses and vibrant cliffs. The island is blessed with a remarkable gulf, providing a natural harbor, which is considered to be the largest in the Mediterranean, welcoming high numbers of boats year-round.

As myth tells us, the stunning Greek island took its name from Milos, the first emigrant who was sent by goddess Venus to the islet. The strategic position of Milos, between mainland Greece and Crete, and its ample supplies of obsidian, made it an important center of early Aegean civilization. Regrettably, the island lost its arms-making importance when bronze became the preferred material for the manufacture of weapons, but found other ways in which to bloom.

Established in 1800, Plaka is the current capital of Milos and an important village of the island. With traditional whitewashed houses and enchanting flora, balconies full of greenery, narrow streets and colorful windows and doors, it spreads on the sides of a hill, uniting the villages of Plakes, Triovassalos, Pera Triovassalos and Tripiti. Providing marvelous views of the Gulf of Milos, the village received its name due to the construction on flat land (plaka meaning flat stone). It is home of solemn places of worship, a folk museum as well as an archaeological one, due to the many excavations in the area and is undoubtedly worth the inclusion in your trip itinerary.

One of the most astounding archeological findings of Milos is the famous catacombs. Founded in 1844 and estimated to have been built towards the end of the 1st century, they were used as Christian cemeteries during Roman times. Found underground, the catacombs are three in total and interconnected through 200 hallways that decrease in height as you reach the death chamber. Unfortunately, the inscriptions found on this marvelous discovery would have contained more information, if humidity had not eroded them. Furthermore, the constant looting over time by pirates, locals, travelers and conquerors is another sad fact from their history. That being said, they remain and always will be a unique archaeological find waiting to dazzle you, upon visiting the small island of Milos.

Not far from the catacombs, on a rocky hill, stands the ancient theatre of Milos, built by the Romans during the Hellenistic period. Primarily used to host theatre festivals, it exists to this day despite being mostly ruined and having lost its glorious shape from hundreds of years past. The theatre is still used by the current inhabitants of the island to host various cultural events. Its volcanic characteristic makes Milos beaches particularly unique, due to the stunning colors and interesting rock formations surrounding the shorelines, reaching the deep blue and turquoise waters. Sarakiniko, a moonscape place with abrupt white rocks, is the most photographed spot on the island due to the impressive landscape of long horizontal rocks bent over the sea, an unforgettable experience.

Tsigrado, a small cozy beach surrounded by huge cliffs, found 14 km south east of Plaka is blessed with a sandy coast and enchanting waters. Firiplaka, 15 km south east of Plaka is a small beach with soft sand, surrounded by huge rocks. Paleochori, Agia Kyriaki, Provatas and Adamas beach are equally breathtaking shorelines and will surely satisfy your much need of tranquility and leisure.

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