(Greek: White Island), island, one of the smaller of the eastern Cyclades (q.v.) group of Greek islands in the Aegean Sea. According to legend it is the piece of rock thrown by Heracles to destroy the Giants. It is a rugged granite mass, about 33 sq mi (85 sq km) in area, lying next to Dhilos (Delos) and between Tinos to the northwest and Naxos and Paros to the south. Mikonos has several beaches and on the north coast the Gulf of Panormos forms a deep indentation. The Ionians, who worshipped Dionysus, were the first to settle on the island; in 426 BC the Athenians transferred the remains of the dead buried at the shrine on Delos to Rheneia, near Mikonos. During the Frankish period around AD 1253 the island passed to the dukes of Naxos, and later it was attached to Venice. During the Greek War of Independence at the beginning of the 19th century, the people of the island, led by Manto Maroghenious, repulsed a Turkish attack. The Rococo church of Paraportiani, near the seashore, is the main church on the island. It consists of four chapels with curved vaults and coloured cupolas. There are also about 360 churches built by sailors and their families, honouring vows made during Aegean storms. Architectural attractions of the island include the Tria Pighadia (Square of the Three Wells); Venetia, a line of old houses with wooden balconies; and the hill of windmills. Mikonos has poor soil and is ill-supplied with water; it thus has little agriculture, the major crops being barley, grapes, and figs. Manganese is mined, but tourism is the chief economic activity. The island is the point of departure for the shrines of the sacred island of Delos, and so has air service from Athens, as well as boat connections to other islands of the Cyclades. Local specialties known throughout Greece include almond cookies called amygdalato, and colourful hand-woven garments, napkins, and rugs. A branch of the school of Fine Arts at Athens is located at Mikonos and enrolls students from around the world. The folkloric emblem of Mikonos is the pelican, nicknamed Petros. Pop. (1981) 5,503.
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