According to mythology, Kea was called “Hydrousa” for its waters and dense vegetation. The myth say that the Nymphs who lived in the forests of the island abandoned the island and since then Sirius, the brightest star of the heavenly dome, has not only destroyed Hydrousa but all the Cyclades. The scourge of drought forced residents to seek the help of Aristotle of Thessaly, the son of Apollo and Nymph Kyrenia. The gods were redeemed with the sacrifices offered by Aristotle and the drought diminished. Since then and every year, northern winds (“meltemia”) have been blowing for 40 days at the time when the constellation of Grand Cannes, which belongs to Sirius, shines.
The island was named Kea later, in honor of the hero Keo, the son of Apollo and the nymph Rodesis, whose presence is on the island at the beginning of the 11th century BC. Century. As evidenced by the findings of the excavations at Kefala, Kea was inhabited since the Neolithic Age. Traces of habitation from the Prehistoric Age are found on the peninsula of Agia Irini as well as in the village of Vourkari.
From the Bronze Ages to the end of the Mycenaean times, the settlement of Agia Irini placed its seal on the history and early civilization of the Aegean Sea. In the 16th century, when the settlement became a hub of communication between the Minoan and the Mycenaean world, Agia Irini became an important commercial and cultural center.
With the arrival of the Ionians, during the Archaic years, the cities of Ioulis, Karthaia, Korissos and Poiessa were founded, which are also economic and cultural centers. Kea was renowned for her political system, which was occupied by the great philosopher Aristotle, whose book “Keys State” refers to the exemplary social organization of Kea.
Aristeidis, one of seven great wise men of antiquity, came from Kea and was famous throughout Greece for the rigorous and model laws he had adopted. One of these laws was “Kieon the Legitim”, according to which the citizen had to die from the moment his spiritual and physical forces were not beneficial to the state. Thus, those who were over 70 years of age “self-excited”, that is, they autographed drinking hemlock from the Madraga plant. This custom ceased to exist in the 3rd century BC. with the prevalence of Christianity.
Since the founding of the Byzantine Empire, Kea was included in the province of Greece and was under the sovereignty of the Eastern Roman State. During the Roman conquest, theautonomous operation of the four cities of the island stops and Ioulida becomes the only political center of the island.
On Venetian rule the castle of the island was built at the site of the citadel of ancient Ioulida. On the dynasty of the Justinians and the Venetians (1207-1566), Kea was conquered by several Latino dynasties.
The name “Tzia” is of Latin origin and the island acquired it during the Venetian domination, which was succeeded by the Ottoman domination. In 1537 the Turks conquered Kea. The island suffered major disasters during the Russian-Turkish war.
In the revolution of 1821, Kea took an active part in the liberation struggle and was incorporated in Greece in 1830.
Kea or Tzia, the westernmost island of the Cyclades, has a perimeter of about 85 km and a total area of 131 square kilometers. The port is just 40 miles from Piraeus and 16 miles from Lavrio, which makes it the closest island in Attica. The ships for Kea leave the port of Lavrio daily and the journey takes about 1 hour. It is also connected by ferry to Syros and Kythnos.
Kea stands out from the other Aegean islands for its rich flora. The visitor of the island can admire the wonderful forests of the Royal Oak, from the few that have been left in the Aegean. The oak grows throughout central and eastern Kea.
The island hosts 16 of the 1300 species of plants that grow only in Greece. Of the 16 endemic plants of Kea, the 5 have been characterized rarely. The southeastern part of Kea is part of the Natura 2000 network.
The unique wild orchids, medicinal herbs, aromatic shrubs, rare mushrooms, multicolored lichens, perennial chestnuts, maple trees, Juniperusphoenicea, Pistaciaterebinthus, (Cercissiliquastrum), the yolks, the irises, the bells, the anemones, the wild flowers, the greens, the wild gladioli, the asphodel and the sprat are a unique color composition that with their intoxicating aroma enchants the natural inhabitants and visitors island.
The coastline forms small bays, capes, and sea caves. The large bay of Agios Nikolaos, one of the largest natural harbors in the Mediterranean, is located to the northwest and a little further east is the Otzias bay open to the north. In the southwest there is the Koundouros bay, the bays of Polis and Spathi in the East and Poisses in the west. The seabed of the island is adorned with large vegetation (Posidonia).