Focus Areas

The culture encountered in the archaeological sites and the historic structures, the unique biodiversity expressed in the local flora and fauna, the rich heritage infiltrating everyday life, all represent values prioritized by the Cycladic Identity initiative.

CULTURE

The Cyclades stand between Europe and Asia, a position that ultimately defined their natural evolution. The islands hosted civilizations and monuments of all eras, acting as a precious anchorage for every period. In this plain and at times barren landscape, one of the greatest prehistoric civilizations developed in the 3rd millennium BC, the Cycladic Civilization. In the Byzantine and post- Byzantine periods, the Cyclades experienced a significant boom with the construction of important monuments. Prehistoric settlements, monuments of historical times, castles, forts and walls of all eras, Byzantine and post-Byzantine churches and monastic complexes, neoclassical buildings, windmills, fountains and dovecotes are some of the elements that make the Cyclades a unique treasure in the heart of the Aegean Sea.

BIODIVERSITY

The Cyclades are a living evolution laboratory. They are home to an impressive array of biotopes, including Natura 2.000 areas. These biotopes range from sandy beaches and rocky shores, grasslands, marshes, lagoons, olive groves and vineyards, to Poseidonia meadows and coral reefs. They are habitats to a large number of species of flora and fauna, many of which are endemic- i.e. species that survived the adverse conditions of the area, developing special adaptations and prevailing in their ecosystems. In the relatively small area of ​​land covered by the Cyclades, there are today more than 2.000 species of plants, of which at least 200 are endemic, rare bird species, thousands of marine organisms, including some of the rarest mammals of the Mediterranean.

INTANGIBLE HERITAGE

Customs, social rituals, traditional practices and arts of the Cyclades are a valuable part of their history and culture and have shaped, over time, their unique identity. The intangible heritage of the Cyclades includes a variety of elements that are either pervasive in the life of the place, or mark the calendar as occasions for festive gatherings. Agri-food traditions, local products, distinctive crops, special architectural types, traditional musical instruments, constructions and crafts, festivals and much more, form the connective tissue of local societies and create a sense of common identity, whose preservation, revelation and bequeath to the next generations is of utmost importance.