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The island of Milos, an entirely volcanic island, is located 86 nautical miles from the port of Piraeus, in the southwestern part of the Cyclades island group, in the Aegean Sea.


The island of Milos belongs to the Cycladic island complex in the Aegean and is located 86 nautical miles (138,40 km) south of Piraeus, almost in the middle of the distance between Piraeus and Crete. It is the fifth largest island among the twenty four islands that make up the Cyclades. It has endless beaches and the total length of its coasts is 120 km.


The gulf of Milos in the shape of a “horseshoe” is the largest Mediterranean natural port with southwest orientation. It counts as one of the safest ports where small as well as big ships can moor.

Milos covers an area of 151 square km and the 2001 census population was 4.744 inhabitants.


Latitude: between 36 46´ 27´´ and 36 38´ 37´´

Longitude: between 24 19´ 01´´ and 24 32´ 47´´


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At the time when the so called “Fist-Cycladic Civilization” developed in the central Aegean (3300-2000 B.C.), the islands of Naxos, Paros and Milos were considered as its significant centers. It seems like there have been sites of civilization throughout the island of Milos, even in Phylakopi. The first town of Phylakopi was built around 2200 B.C., whereas the second one was built in 2000 B.C. and it was fortified. This second town of Phylakopi was populous and organized in quarters; it had small houses, streets, a sewage system and graves outside the town walls.


It is estimated that the town was destroyed by an earthquake, and the walls, which were larger this time, were rebuilt around 1550 B.C. A little later, the town was destroyed again by an earthquake; it was rebuilt again and in 1400 B.C. it was destroyed for the third time. In this last period, there is much evidence attesting to the intense presence of the Minoans. After 1400 B.C., when the Aegean was dominated by the Mycenaeans, the “Mycenaean palace” and the “Mycenaean sanctuary” were built in Phylakopi. From 1250 B.C. onwards, Phylakopi was gradually being abandoned. In the 11th century, the last inhabitants abandoned the town.


After the Dorians¢ descent, a new town was built in Milos, in the region of Klima. The originally small settlement extended in the surrounding area, forming thus a town, which flourished until the end of the antiquity. The Geometric vases, which are housed in the Milos Archaeological Museum, bear evidence of the development of the pottery on the island throughout the Geometric age (10th-8th century). In the 8th century and especially in the 7th century, the miniature art and the goldsmithery art developed.


It is estimated, that the Ancient Theatre of Milos was built in the Hellenistic period, probably in the third century B.C., while a second building phase is dated back to the Roman age. Several, important marble statues dated to the Hellenistic period have been found in Milos, like the the statue of Poseidon, which is housed in the Archaeological Museum and the famous statue of “Aphrodite of Milos” (Venus of Milos), which is housed today in the Louvre Museum.



Milos is the largest island of a complex that includes Kimolos, Polyaigis, Antimilos, Akradies as well as some islets and reefs. Milos and the neighbour islands were formed by the intense volcanic activity that was prevalent in the region during the last 3.5 million years.


The last significant volcanic explosion on Milos took place 90.000 years ago; still the island should be considered even today as a potentially active volcano.


Milos together with the neighbour islands constitute a very important open air geological museum due to the incredible variety of volcanic rocks, including multicolour pigments, other useful minerals (perlites, millstones etc.), neogene sediments and metamorphic formations from ultramarine and green schist.


The rich explosive activity from various volcanic vents resulted in a large number of volcanic structures and formations, some of which are very rare or even unique.


The intense hydrothermal activity created an incredible variety of useful minerals: bentonite, baryte, kaolin, halunite, silica, sulphur, manganese, anhydrite (gypsum), silver and epithermal gold. Galena and other sulphur-mixed metallic minerals are also present on the island.


Mineral wealth

Milos¢ underground is rich in minerals, due to repeated volcanic activity that was prevalent in the past.

The once valuable obsidian, the black volcanic glass which is almost unique in the Aegean, was produced at the quarries of the island and was exported to the whole Eastern Mediterranean since the Neolithic age. Valued for its sharpness and durability, obsidian was suitable for the construction of tools and weapons..

In ancient times, big amounts of sulfur, kaolin, pumice, tracheite, halunite etc. were extracted and exported to various regions of eastern Mediterranean.


The mining activity was continued and flourished first during the Roman Period and later during the Byzantine Period. During the years of Turkish rule only a few quarries were in operation in Greece. The mining activity in Milos was restricted to certain minerals.


In 1862, the first mine concession took place in Milos, for the exploitation of sulphur. This signaled the beginning of the island¢s modern mining history. Many companies settled in the island dealing with the extraction and trade mainly of industrial minerals (sulphur, kaolin, baryte, bentonite, perlite, pozzoline, silica) as well as manganese and lead.

Milos is today the biggest bentonite and perlite producer within the European Union. Further industrial minerals that are produced in the island are: pozzoline, silica and small quantities of kaolin.


Geothermal Energy

Milos -due to the favorable geological conditions (volcanism, tectonics, shallow magmas), which create among other an unbelievable geothermal gradient, 20 times higher than the earth¢s average level- constitutes the most interesting geothermal field of Greece and one of the most important geothermal fields worldwide.


Courtesy: Milos Guidebook 2010, Print & Web Guidebooks Ltd/Heliotopos


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