Although many, myself included, extol the virtues of Hydra as being a pristine step back in time, I can't help but feel the phrase and its implication does a disservice to the creativity inspired by the atmosphere of this small rocky island, as over centuries, Hydra has not only looked forward but has led the way both artistically and politically on an international level.
In the 16th century, the island began to be settled by refugees from the warfare between the Ottomans and Venetians. Its naval and commercial development began in the 17th century, and its first school for mariners was established in 1645. Many refugee families were originally from the Peloponnese mainland and Athens, they brought with them an entrepreneurial spirit. Hydriot ship owners provided transport in the region and later when they started in commerce they amassed huge fortunes. At this point they had disposable income to spend on higher education for their families and to 'import' artisans, craftsmen and artists to decorate their 'status symbol' homes.
By 1750 the wealthy Hydriots were vying with each other to build the magnificent stone 'archontika' mansion houses that make the architecture of today so distinctive. The families imported Venetian artists to adorn their homes with lavish decoration, portrait paintings and state of the art interior design. They also invited writers and philosophers from far afield to stay with them as guests. The principle of sponsoring the creative arts was well established in Hydra nearly 300 years ago.
The Hydra Cinema Club organises the summer season cinema programme. For more information see their Facebook Page. The Club also organises evening trips to the mainland to visit the Ancient Theatre of Epidaurus. The Club President is Mr Lakis Christidis and you can call in at his shop, '21st Century' on the harbour front to speak with him in person. Also click this link to see the theatre programme Ancient Epidaurus Theatre and if you wish to go, Lakis is happy to help you organise it for whichever performance you like. Contact details for Lakis are:
Tel: 22980 53105
Mobile: +(30) 6973 756 428