Mykonos: Portrait of a Vanished Era




There are hundreds of Greek islands. Why did Mykonos become, in just a few decades, one of the world’s top vacation spots? Part of the answer can be found in these remarkable images, which show the natural beauty and traditional island culture that initially attracted artists, writers, and celebrities like Jackie Kennedy.

These photographs, taken in 1955 and 1957–many for National Geographic–re-create a daylong visit to Mykonos in the days before cars, running water, and electricity. We disembark in the Old Harbour and wander the picturesque streets of Chora (the main town), watching the townspeople at their daily tasks. We visit St. Panteleimon Monastery on a festival day, and take a caique (a traditional wooden boat) to see the ruins on the neighbouring island of Delos.

Every photograph is reproduced as a full-page tritone of surpassing quality, and accompanied by a detailed caption. This book will fascinate modern-day visitors to Mykonos, as well as those who trace their roots to the Greek islands.

Publisher: Abbeville Press Inc.,U.S.  2018
ISBN: 9780789213303
Number of pages: 188
Dimensions: 305 x 290 mm


“My first visit to Mykonos was in the summer of 1955. From the vantage point of those days on that magical quiet island with one 12 passenger bus and a plethora of donkeys it was absolutely inconceivable what would happen over the ensuing 60 years. On the day I arrived there were some 15 visitors on the island. In 2018 on a typical summer day the island expects between 120,000 and 140,000 visitors.”

Robert McCabe


“In the 1950s you took only real ships to Mykonos, often very old ships. The sea-going high speed buses of today did not exist. You could smell the sea and feel it. You transitioned to shore not as part of a horde emerging from a dark cavernous garage but by leaping into a bobbing tender and gripping a gunwhale for dear life as the meltemi’s wild sea spray hit your face. Who could have guessed that tenders would soon be replaced by docks and docks would soon be replaced by ferry ports and that airports would be built and a huge cruise ship harbour would be constructed and that the island would become a super prime tourist and second home destination for Greece and even for the world.

What happened to the caiques, those magnificent wooden boats that flourished in Mykonos and whose roots went back millennia? You will see them in these photographs but you will not see them on the island anymore.”