Kea (island)

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Kea
Κέα
Kea Island
Kea Island
Location
Kea is located in Greece
Kea
Kea
Coordinates 37°37′N 24°20′E / 37.617°N 24.333°E / 37.617; 24.333Coordinates: 37°37′N 24°20′E / 37.617°N 24.333°E / 37.617; 24.333
Government
Country: Greece
Administrative region: South Aegean
Regional unit: Kea-Kythnos
Population statistics (as of 2011)[1]
Municipality
 - Population: 2,455
 - Area: 128.9 km2 (50 sq mi)
 - Density: 19 /km2 (49 /sq mi)
Other
Time zone: EET/EEST (UTC+2/3)
Elevation (min-max): 0–560 m ­(0–1837 ft)
Postal code: 840 02
Telephone: 22880
Auto: ΕΜ
Website
www.kea.gr

Kea (Greek: Κέα), also known as Gia or Tzia (Greek: Τζια), Zea, and, in antiquity, Keos (Greek: Κέως, Latin: Ceos), is a Greek island in the Cyclades archipelago in the Aegean Sea. Kea is part of the Kea-Kythnos regional unit. Its capital, Ioulis, is inland at a high altitude (like most ancient Cycladic settlements, for fear of pirates) and is considered quite picturesque. Other major villages of Kea are the port of Korissia and the fishing village of Vourkari. After suffering depopulation for many decades, Kea has been recently rediscovered by Athens as a convenient destination for weekends and yachting trips. The population in 2011 was 2,455.

Geography[edit]

It is the island of the Cyclades complex that is closest to Attica (about 1 hour by ferry from Lavrio) and is also 20 km (12 mi) from Cape Sounio as well as 60 km (37 mi) SE of Athens. Its climate is arid, and its terrain is hilly. Kea is 19 km (12 mi) long from north to south and 9 km (6 mi) wide from west to east. The area is 129 km2 (50 sq mi) with the highest point being 560 m (1,837 ft) above sea level

The municipality Kea includes the island of Makronisos to the northwest.

History[edit]

Coin from ancient Kea; with a dog and a star
Temple of Athena (Karthaia) on the island
Ioulida
A beach in Kea

Kea is the location of a bronze-aged settlement at the site now called Ayia Irini, which reached its height in the Late Minoan and Early Mycenaean eras (1600-1400 BCE).

During the classical period, Kea (Ceos) was the home of Simonides and of his nephew Bacchylides, both ancient Greek lyric poets, of the Sophist Prodicus, and of the physician Erasistratus. The inhabitants were known for offering sacrifices to the Dog Star, Sirius and to Zeus to bring cooling breezes while awaiting for the reappearance of Sirius in summer; if the star rose clear, it would portend good fortune; if it was misty or faint, then it foretold (or emanated) pestilence. Coins retrieved from the island from the 3rd century BC feature dogs or stars with emanating rays, highlighting Sirius' importance.[2]

During the Byzantine period, many churches were built and the prosperity of the island rose. Kea was Byzantine until, in 1204, it was captured by the Venetians in the wake of the Fourth Crusade. The Archbishop of Athens, Michael Choniates, came here in exile after his city fell to the Crusaders in 1205. It was recaptured by the Byzantines under Licario in 1278. In ca. 1302 during the Byzantine–Venetian War, it fell to the Venetians again, who built a castle on the ancient acropolis of Ioulis.

Kea was taken from the Venetians by the Ottoman Turks in 1537. Along with the rest of the Cyclades, Kea joined Greece following the Greek War of Independence in 1821.

HMHS Britannic, the largest ship sunk in World War I, which was the sister ship to the RMS Titanic and the RMS Olympic, sank off Kea island in 1916.

Historical population[edit]

Year Island population
1991 1,797
2001 2,417
2011 2,455

Communities[edit]

Notable people[edit]

See also[edit]

Scuba diving

The island is famous for scuba diving with excellent visibility, rich marine life, awesome wall diving. Water temperature from 20-26 degrees Celsius. The highlight for recreational divers is the wreck of steamship Patris which sank in 1868.[3] The world famous wreck of the HMHS Britannic,, sister ship of the Titanic, located 1.5 nautical mile offshore, is for Tec divers, as the depth is approx. 120 metres (394 feet). SS Burdigala is a recently discovered wreck, 800 metres (2,625 feet) from the island's harbour.[4]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Detailed census results 2011 (Greek)
  2. ^ Holberg, JB (2007). Sirius:Brightest Diamond in the Night Sky. Chichester, UK: Praxis Publishing. p. 20. ISBN 0-387-48941-X. 
  3. ^ http://www.wrecksite.eu/wreck.aspx?123766
  4. ^ http://www.wrecksite.eu/wreck.aspx?138084

External links[edit]