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A Halfday Walking Tour of Hora


A Halfday Walking Tour of Hora: Everything I Love About Hora in One Fell Swoop


Any day but Monday, after breakfast at your hotel—and if it’s not, like the Semeli, Belvedere or Elysium, right in or above the town—drive into Hora and park adjacent to the yacht basin on the main port. Our starting point is the Archaeological Museum (Tel: 22890 22325; open Tuesday through Sunday, 8:30 a.m. till 3:00 p.m.; closed Monday and holidays), located just up a flight of steps from the yacht basin.

The building itself dates from 1901-2, and the museum exists due to the Hora, the main harbordiscovery by Greek archaeologists, in 1898-1900, of a rich “purification pit” on the island of Rheneia. The finds themselves date from 426/5 BC, and earlier, and it was in that year specifically that the Athenians, responding to a prophecy, carried out their major “purification” of Delos, removing the remains of the dead, and the grave offerings entombed with them, to nearby Rheneia.

As a result, most of the holdings in the Mykonos Museum are funerary offerings, but the collection also includes vases covering the entire Archaic period, Cycladic pottery dating from the Geometric period through the 6th century BC, and a Roman copy of a 5th-century-BC marble statue of Hercules, club and lion-skin in hand. Do not miss the immense 7th-century-BC “pithos” depicting, in relief, scenes from the capture of Troy. This artifact hails from the island of Tinos, created in one of that island’s renowned ceramic workshops, but was found in 1961 in Hora (by Mykonian friends of mine, who were digging a well), where it had been used for an ancient burial. Study it closely: on the neck you will see the wily Odysseus’s great wooden horse, used by the Greeks to gain entrance to the besieged city. Little Greek heads, peeking out from “windows” in the horse’s body, underscore the age-old caution to “Beware Greeks bearing gifts.”

Adjacent to the museum are the tiny, primitive Chapel of Rodou tou Amarandou, and the red-domed Chapel of Saint George, established in 1888 in memory of the family of Petros Gryparis.

Proceed down the steps to your right, towards the water, past Babula’s Taverna, and walk along the quay, past the Leto Hotel. Little Aghia Anna Beach (one of several by that name on the island) will be on your right. Proceed down N. Polikandrioti Street, and you will see the Ilias Lalaounis jewelry store, just one of some 15 stores owned by Greece’s “Ambassador of Gold.” George and Theo Stamoulis carry on a family tradition here as Lalounis’s representatives. Stop in Efthimios Efthimiou Confectionerand say hello. There is no better introduction to the delights of Greek jewelry than Lalaounis’s gorgeous designs in 22-karat-gold (14 N. Polikandrioti Street, Hora, Mykonos 84 600; Tel: 22890 22444; Fax: 22890 24409; open 9:30 a.m. till very late, April through October; www.lalaounismykonos.com; email: lalaounis@myk.forthnet.gr).

Now, continue to the foot of N. Polikandrioti Street to Mando Mavroyenis Square, which is also the location of Hora’s main taxi rank. Proceed straight across the square, passing the marble bust of the Greek War of Independence heroine, Mando Mavroyenis, and head up Florou Zouganeli Street.

A few feet—about 20—uphill, your nose should tell you you’ve found Efthimios Efthimiou’s sweet shop (Tel: 22890 22281) here since 1950. Ah, God, I wish I were right there with you now, as I’ve been sampling Mr. Efthimiou’s wares all my life, and my mouth is watering as I write. His pastries are pricey, but worth it. Sample his kalathakia (“little baskets” of almond cake), amygdalota (sugar-powdered almond biscuits), loukoumi (Turkish Delight), macaroons, nougat, pastelli (the Greek “power bar” made of sesame seeds and honey), soumatha (a sweet almond syrup you mix with water to make a cool drink), masticha and vanilia (two typically Greek “spoon sweets”), and almonds in honey. Aaaaaahhhhh!

Manolis Rousounelos

Just before the Church of Aghia Kyriaki, at Pierro’s Bar (which I pray is still here in some sort of fashion: there were plans afoot last year to close this mecca ofgay Mediterranean tourism), turn right for a little detour to Minas (Tel: 22890 27320; Fax: 22890 27321; www.minastudio.com; Email: getintouch@minastudio.com), a jeweler located just behind Aghia Kyriaki and beside the tiny Chapel of Aghios Nikolaos (well, goldsmiths are cheek-by-jowl with churches in Hora, left, right and center). Minas and his wife, Gina (Sorry, Tzina: the English spelling doesn’t do your name justice), may be in: if not, come back by in the evening. The work of this internationally renowned designer is startlingly original,

and this is one of the few places—outside the Athens workshop—where you can see such a large selection of his pieces. I tend to think this man’s an artist on a par with Calder, but then that’s just me: do take a look at his website, though.

Catercorner from Minas's jewelry shop is The Newsstand/Foreign Press, open24/7, year round, and now owned by energetic newcomer, Konstantinos Pergantis. Come here for foreign-language newspapers and books, and PLEASE ask Konstantinos to carry my memoir, "Greek Unorthodox: Bande a Part & A Farewell To Ikaros," AND my Greek coffee-table photo book, "Vanishing Greece."

To the left and right, about two Horan “blocks” from the church of Aghia Kyriaki, is the Photo Express Mykonos (Tel: 22890 26350; www.photoexpressmykonos.gr; photoexpress@hol.gr), the place to have your memory cards transferred, 1-hr prints made, cameras examined, etc., etc. Say hello to manager Andriani for me!

At Aghia Kyriaki begins Mykonos’s premier shopping street, Mattheou Mandronikou Street, on the signs or, popularly, Matoyianni Street. About halfway up this narrow, cobbled thoroughfare is Ioannis P. Theoharis’s wonderful pharmacy (31 Matoyianni Street; Tel/Fax: 22890 23770), which is a great place if you need anything for sunburn or an upset stomach.

Just opposite on Matoyianni Street is a branch of the worldwide cosmetic giant, Sephora (Tel: 22890 27509), where helpful staff will attend to your make-up and perfume needs. For a recent photo shoot, Despina did my make-up at Sephora, I ended up purchasing every wonderful product she used, and even have some hope of duplicating her skillful work.

Almost directly opposite is Theodore Rousounelos Jewelry (32 Matoyianni Street; PO Box 66, Mykonos, Greece 84600; Tel: 22890 22797-8; Fax: 22890 27055; Email: j-w@mykonos-rousounelos.com; www.mykonos-rousounelos.com), the exclusive Mykonos representative for Cartier, Vacheron Constantin, Breitling, Rolex (two people in my family bought theirs here), Patek Philippe and Audemars Piguet. Now, a word. Ted, whose store this is, is a born-and-bred Mykonian, and also, with his son Manolis, the owner of the Princess of Mykonos Hotel at San Stephanos. He’s an old friend, a character of the first water, and as true an example of the inimitable Mykonian soul as you will find on the island. He numbers among his best friends world-renowned composers, and local fishermen, and he has built a sort of business empire on Mykonos from very humble beginnings. When I first knew him, when we were teenagers, Ted was Dorlies Schapitza and friendselling flokatis (those fuzzy, white, Greek carpets), driving a three-wheeled-cart, and spear-fishing every chance he got. Well, he’s still spear-fishing, but you won’t find a flokati amongst the Cartiers he and Manolis sell these days. By all means, meet this man if you have the opportunity, and tell him Elizabeth said, “Hello.” (By the way, the called-by-some-still “King of Greece,” Constantine, recently came in and bought a watch from Ted and Manolis, a model he couldn’t easily find elsewhere. This really is a great place to buy a fine watch.)

Pass the Alpha Bank on your left (which has a convenient ATM). On the next corner is Gofas Jewelry (Tel: 22890 24521; www.gofas.gr). Ask to see the beautiful work of Athenian jeweler Fanourakis here. Near the “top” of Matoyianni Street, on the right, is Mr. Dimitris Roussounellos’s shop/gallery, Scala (48 Matoyianni Street; Tel: 22890 23407, 26992; Fax: 22890 26993; Email: scala@otenet.gr; www.scalagallery.gr). Dimitris, whose essay “Mykonos: a Place of Robust Flavors,” you will read further on, is a food writer extraordinaire, but his gallery features the work of Greek artists from hither and yon, in various media, notably the work of Yiorgos Kypris of Santorini, but also many, many others. There are also some wonderful publications available here, including Dimitris’s own books about Mykonian food and culture.

At the top of Matoyianni Street, in front of the Kessaris jewelry store, on summer evenings you may find naïf painter Carolina Wells (though she’s often down on the harbor when it’s not windy). Her paintings, which have got international acclaim of late, but have been dear to locals for decades, sell like hotcakes for around 100 Euros apiece. Please give her my greetings: she knows me by my childhood nickname, “Bebe” (alas).

Turn right now down Enoplon Dynameon Street, and then up the first alleyway to the left to find painters Luis Orozco and Dorlies Schapitz’s Orama Gallery on your Painter Carolina Wells & daughterleft (Tel: 22890 26339, 24016; Fax 22890 24016; open 11:00 till 1:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. till 11:00 p.m., in summer; www.mykonosoramapainters.com; Email: orozcoschapitz@hotmail.com). You’ll read Luis Orozco’s essay, “Mykonos on Canvas,” soon, but please access the website of these wonderful painters even before you reach the island. I’ve lived with Luis’s paintings—two or three or four in every room of my family’s various homes—all my life, so they have always colored my life and my dreams, and the way I perceive Mykonos and Greece, and have influenced me as much as, say, the works of Jane Austen or Bela Bartok. Luis and Dorlies paint the same island using a similar palette, but I see their work as radically different, each painter’s canvases expressing a unique, if complementary and compatible soul. I’m not good at this, describing art, nor do I really want to be. This is work you need to see up close—so do.

Back on Enoplon Dynameon Street, on your right, make note of two wonderful museums, side by side. On the right is The House of Lena (Open 6:00 p.m. till 9:00 p.m. daily; 7:00 p.m. till 9:00 p.m. Sunday), a lovingly preserved and furnished house representative of all domestic architecture on 19th-century Mykonos; and, on the left, The Aegean Maritime Museum (Tel: 22890 22700; open daily in high season 10:30 a.m. till 1:00 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. till 9:00 p.m.), a stunning, tiny museum which “condenses” Greece’s vast history as a nation of mariners into just a few, beautifully organized rooms. (The Maritime Museum sells a superb book and catalogue titled “Aegean Maritime Museum,” by Mykonian George M. Dracopoulos. I’d pick up this book for further study, and come back to this collection for a good, long look.)

Keep straight on on Enoplon Dynameon, and you will almost immediately enterSeed-pearl earrings from Myconos Gold the Three Wells (Tria Pigadia) district of Hora.The wells here were once the town’s only source of water, and I remember clearly, as late as the 1960s, watching women in black carrying heavy emptied-out-olive-oil-tins of water up and down the blazing white alleys, from well to home.

The churches you see here are Aghia Varvara (St. Barbara) and Aghios Fanourios. There are also several popular bars ringing the tiny square: the Aigli, and the Astra, which features the work of jeweler Minas.

Walk north from the wells, continuing to the end of Enoplon Dynameon (a complex little intersection of streets), and on the corner you’ll find the tiny “Myconos Gold” shop of Mrs. Ioannis Michaelides, Anna, and her sons, Stellios and Artemis (Tel: 22890 22649), here since 1959. The Michaelides’s work, in gold filigree and seed-pearls, has been featured in texts on traditional Greek jewelry, and it is especially this work that you should ask Anna to show you. The earrings, dramatic semaphores of hand-worked gold filigree, supporting spiraling seed-pearls like tiny constellations, are gorgeous and wearable—and perfect for brides. Anna is a friend of four decades: I’ve known her so long that it was she who pierced my ears, way back when (painlessly). This is strictly a family-run business, and what you see was made by the hands you see . . . .

Nikos Douvoyiannis in his workshopUp a flight of stairs across from Myconos Gold, you’ll find Nikos Douvoyiannis’s shop, Tsirikaua (Tel: 22890 25677; www.tsirikaua.gr). Just follow the line of hanging, handmade belts up the steep whitewashed steps to Nikos’s atelier-of-leather. Nikos says he just makes whatever comes into his head, and his shoes, belts, bags and jewelry bear this out. The moment he is “discovered” (by a major New York or Paris design house), I fear his accessories, now so reasonably priced in the 50 to 250-Euro range, will become internationally hot and sell for thousands. As it is, though, order a custom belt from some 180 designs, and try on some of Nikos’s stunning, open-work silver rings. My husband, Dean, a starving musician, even commissioned Nikos to design a “pocket trumpet” case for his little Callichio, and it’s been eyed enviously by many other horn players in Manhattan: a real, and practical, work of art.

Now, turn right down Mitropoleos Street (named for the island’s cathedral). On your right, look in at Panorea Galata’s Photo Gallery for lovely work in black & white (Tel: 22890 22186; www.galatagallery.com; she’s a fine portraitist, too). On your left, soon, you will pass the back of the Cathedral of Mykonos, The Virgin of the Everlasting Spring. Beside it are the little chapels of The Pantanassa and Aghio ton Aghio. (In front of these latter two structures is the island’s Roman Catholic Church and the Chapel of Saint Nikolaos).

Salty Fare at Alefkandras Sea Satin Market

The entire area here is called Alefkandra. Walk towards the sea and you will see Mykonos’s famous line of windmills: once this island was a great producer of wheat and bread. From the little beach here, you can see the town’s (perhaps the Aegean’s) most-photographed piece of waterfront, the rear balconies of the houses, now bars and shops, comprising Little Venice (Mikri Venetia). Come back to the Veranda Cocktail Bar (Tel: 22890 26262) here later for drinks on the terrace.

If you’re interested in scale-model, hand-made replicas of Greek vernacular sailing craft, and have somewhat deep pockets, ask at one of the Alefkandra restaurants for Mr. Dimitrios I. Veronis’s workshop (Tel: 22890 23600). Mr. Veronis, an elegant gentleman of a certain age, is still hard at work on these beautiful little ships, and can send them all over the world for you.

Dimitrios I. Veronis

Wend your way uphill to the top of Aghion Anargyron Street to the ParaportianiDimitra Voulgari, Y. Voulgaris Gallery church complex. This stunning sphinx-in-white dates from the 15th to 17th centuries, and is one of the most remarkably beautiful structures on the planet.

Directly opposite the church on Oikou Ghyzi Street is weaver Ioanna Zouganeli at her loom (Tel: 22890 22150). Her beautiful shawls, at c. 50 Euros, are the embodiment of an authentic Mykonian tradition which is fast-dying. Also in the church square is the Mykonos Folklore Museum (Tel: 22890 22591; open daily in summer 5:30 p.m. till 8:30 p.m.), which, by the way, has several annexes in Hora. Housed in the 18th-century home of Captain Nikolaos Maloukos, the collection includes a cornucopia of items—weavings, looms, furnishings, costumes, musical instruments, etc.—which document the lives of 18th- and 19th-century Mykonians. It’s worth coming back to see. Head down to the sea now, towards the main fishing harbor, passing the Church of Constantine and Helen on your right and the little Chapel of Agh’ Nikolaki on the quay, the fishermen’s chapel and the only blue-domed church in Hora.

Almost directly opposite is Y. Voulgaris’s gallery of jewelry and small artwork (PO Box 37, Mykonos, Greece 84 600; Tel: 22890 22513, 23205, 23712; Fax: 22890 25969; voulgari@otenet.gr). Say Hi to Dimitra or Yorgis, whoever is in residence today, and have a look at the work of Cretan jeweler Sotiria Togia, Thessaloniki jeweler Mary Margonis and silver pieces by the owner.

Hora's skyline