During my recent journey in the Cyclades, I was looking for a local lifestyle, rather skeptical that only about 30 islands in the Aegean Sea would nurture a specific way of life.
The Cyclades have a long history of geographical isolation compounded with a role of intercultural platform.They are widely viewed as the cradle of western modern civilisation, fusing the legacies of many sea-oriented antique cultures – e.g. Phoenicians, Minoan Cretans, Ionians, Dorians. Cycladic culture flourished during the Bronze Age (c. 3200–1000 BC). It was related to, but distinct from, the Helladic and Minoan civilisations in respectively mainland Greece and Crete.
All right, but what remains visible nowadays in the Cyclades of this prestigious breeding ground? Nor much for people hopping Aegean islands at fast pace. More patient and attentive visitors can better decipher picturesque villages, small fishing ports, stunning land- and sea-scapes to enjoy a charming Cycladic art of living.
Cycladic islands have arguably even an individual character of their own, fueling different vibes ranging from authenticity, serenity and elegance to superficial, frantic and hipster styles.
My camera was keen to hunt for Cyclades’ little corners where one can pause and rest, observe and admire, live and enjoy. I met with the old and the new, the rustic and the refined, the worn and the glittering, the colourful and the white.
Visually, the Cyclades are overweeningly white and blue – whitewashed walls hanging between sea and sky. Earth and fire colours have their say too, owing to the volcanic history of the area.
Not a newcomer to the Aegean Sea, I remain thrilled by the stunning architecture of the Cyclades. Carved in the soft volcanic stone, troglodyte houses illustrate ancient and primitive housing. Many modern structures reinterpret creatively and beautifully the Cycladic architectural tradition. I love also Cycladic food, with green and olives all around, sweetened with honey-mapped yogurt and watered with delicious wines.
Cycladic nature, architecture and food are as attractive to me as they are simple in essence. Less is more.