According to archaeological findings, the Cyclades were first inhabited in prehistoric times. Its greatest economic and cultural development occurs in the Ancient Times, during which they developed the famed Cycladic Civilization. In Historical and Classical times they were allies of the Athenians. In the middle of the 2nd century BC. they came under Roman rule and fell into decline. Byzantine times belonged to the Aegean theme and were tested by many pirate raids. In the 12th century they were conquered by the Venetians and experienced a particular boom.
In the 16th century. they fell into the hands of the Turks, from whom they were liberated and united with the Greek state in 1830.
In the myths Cyclades are closely connected with Neptune, who is attributed with their creation. It is said that they took their name from the nymphs Cyclades, who the god of sea transformed to islands, when they caused his rage. However there are other traditions saying that the origin of the name is from the Greek word kyklos (circle), or because they are extended around Dilos in a conceivable circle or because of the strong winds that made the boats to swirl.
The foundation of each island is also attributed in mythical figures, while a series of traditions reflect their history. Cyclades, because of their geographic position between the Greek mainland, Asia and Africa, were throughout all of their history the bridge for the growth of streets of trade and the spread of culture.
An island complex located in the south and up to the central Aegean, between Crete - Peloponnese - Euboea and the counties of Samos and Dodecanese. The islands are surrounded by the Aegean, the Myrtoos and the Cretan Sea. The main islands of the Cyclades are Naxos, Andros, Tinos, Paros, Kea, Milos, Amorgos, Ios, Syros, Kythnos, Mykonos, Sifnos, Serifos, Thira (or Santorini) ), Sikinos, Kimolos, Folegandros, Anafi, Antiparos, Gyaros, Heraklia, Makronissos, Polyaigos, Rhineia, Donoussa, Keros, Thirasia, Despotiko and Delos.
The Cyclades Prefecture has an area of 2.572 Km2 and a population of 100.083 inhabitants. The capital of the prefecture is Ermoupolis of Syros. It is administratively divided into eight provinces: Andros with the capital of Andros, Thira with the capital of Thira, Kea with the capital of Kea, Milos with the capital of Milos, Naxos with the capital of Naxos, Paros with the capital of Paros, Syros with the capital of Ermoupolis and Tinos with the capital of Tinos.
The Cycladic islands are mountainous, consisting of mountain peaks of a submerged land. The height of the mountains is small. Naxos extends the Zia Mountains (1.004 m), Andros Mountains Agii Saranda (714 m), Petalos (1,003 m) and Kouvaras (975 m), in Tinos Tsiknias (713 m), in Paros Prophet Elias (750 m), Kea the Prophet Elias (568 m), Milos the Prophet Elias (751 m) and Chondrovouno (620 m), in Amorgos the Krikellos (826 m), in Ios Pyrgos (737 m), in Syros the Pyrgos (442 m), in Kythnos the Petra (333 m), Mykonos the Anomeritis (364 m), Sifnos the Agios Elias (695 m), in Thira the Prophet Elias (565 m), in Sikinos the Troullos (600 m) and in Anafi the Vigla (484 m).
The territory of the Cyclades is mountainous, so there are no lowlands but only small valleys and plains. In the Cyclades there are many healing springs. The most important are Sariza of Andros, whose waters are bottled and Thermia of Kythnos, two sources known since antiquity.
The weather conditions of the Cyclades (dry and temperate climate), allow the visitor to get acquainted with nature and its beauties throughout the whole year - with the well known calmness of winters and the freshness that the annual winds offer in periods with high temperatures.
It rains seldom in the Cyclades, with the exception of the mountainous parts of Tinos, Naxos, Kea and Andros where the more frequent rainfall provides rich vegetation and many natural springs. The mountains of these islands are often covered by dense snow for several days in the winter.
The remaining islands are covered by bushy vegetation, with an enormous wealth and variety of endemic aromatic plants and herbs with rare pharmaceutical attributes, due to the soft temperatures and lack of rainfall.
The Cyclades possess the characteristics of a temperate marine climate: soft dry winters and pleasant summers. Another characteristic of the climate is the large amount of sunlight, which can exceed 3.000 hours annually.
The average annual temperature ranges between 14 and 19ο C degrees and very often sudden changes occur due to the unstable conditions. The clouds are relatively infrequent and the humidity ranges between 65 and 72,5%.
The Cyclades are barren islands and so the arable land is limited. The soil and climate of the prefecture are suitable for horticulture, mainly olive cultivation. The farming of small animals (sheep and goats) is also developed in the prefecture, because there are no meadows for big animals.
There are several mines in the Cyclades, as almost all the islands are rich in ores and minerals. The most famous are the marbles of Naxos, Paros and Tinos and the emerald of Naxos.
Fishing is another major economic factor for islands in the sea where fine fish are caught.
Tourism also plays an important role in the economy of the prefecture, both because the islands are beautiful and for their antiquities.