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Prefecture: Attica
Location: 37° 20′ 50″ N, 23° 27′ 53″ E
Population: (1991)
 - Total
 - Density¹
 - Rank



sea level
22 m(centre)
590 m
Postal code: 180 40
Area/distance code: 11-30-22980 (030-22980)-5
Municipal code: 4018
3-letter abbreviation: YDR
Name of inhabitants: Hydriot sing., -s pl.
Website: www.hydra.gr (in Greek)

Hydra (Greek: Υδρα, pronounced "EE-dhra") is one of the Saronic Islands of Greece, located in the Aegean Sea between the Saronic Gulf and the Argolic Gulf. It is separated from the Peloponnese by the narrow Hydra Gulf. Hydra is also a municipality and one of the few provinces in Greece to have two municipalities -- which includes the uninhabited island of Dokos -- yet fewer than five communes. In ancient times, the island was known as Hydrea (Υδρεα), which was a reference to the springs on the island.

An island dependent upon tourism, well-to-do Athenians comprise a sizeable segment of Hydra's visitors. Ferries arrive regularly from Piraeus (the port city adjacent to Athens), as well as from the port in Nafplion, which is on the nearby Peloponnese coast. Besides garbage trucks, motor vehicles are not permitted on the island; which leaves the bulk of public transportation up to donkeys and water taxis. The inhabited area, however, is so compact that most people walk everywhere.

There is one main town, known simply as "Hydra port." It consists of a crescent-shaped harbor, around which is centered a strand of commercial establishments (restaurants, shops, markets, and galleries), all of which cater to tourists and locals (Hydriots). Steep stone streets lead up and outwards from the harbor area. Most of the local residences, as well as the hostelries on the island are located on these streets.

Although the island takes its name from ancient springs, it is now dry. While Hydra previously had wells, these were closed by seismic activity around the mid-20th century. Today, the island's water is imported by boat from the Greek mainland. The dominant geographic feature of Hydra is its rocky hillsides, which are empty save for the occasional farmhouse and one or two very isolated Greek Orthodox monasteries.


Known as Hydrea in ancient times, Hydra is mentioned as "Sydra", "Sidera" or "Sidero" is Medieval documents.

In the 15th Century Albanian speaking people arrived in Hydra. They were followed by others, mostly people forced to flee after the ill-fated Orlov Revolt in 1770.

By 1821 when the Greek War of Independence broke out, Hydra had 186 ships, a naval academy and a population of 28,000. The people of Hydra greatly contributed to the war effort but that did not prevent Governor Ioannis Kapodistrias from revoking many privileges the island enjoyed after Greece became independent.


Historical population

Year Municipal population Change Municipal/Island population
1981 2,732 - -
1991 2,279 -453/-16.58% 2,387

There are no municipal boundaries on the island and its smaller islands.

See also:

External references