The Cyclades – the victory of the form

The Cyclades are not similar to Greece we know from textbooks on the history of architecture. Nothing similar: no temples, no columns… At least it seemed like this at first side to me and Olena Ilnytska when we travelled there in 2008.

The Cyclades are an island group that consists of more than 200 islands. It is located in the south of the Aegean Sea, being a desirable holiday destination in Greece. The name of the archipelago comes from the Greek word “circle”: its numerous islands form a chain that encircles Delos – a peninsula dedicated to Apollo in ancient times.

The most visited resorts are designed accordingly to local traditions. White houses, azure sea and blue sky – this is what you fall in love with on the islands and what immediately tempt you to come back again and again…

This is a place where simple, or, one can say, primitive form dominates. Small buildings suddenly heap into the anthills on the steep hillsides, resembling the fabulous villages, where life seems too idealistic to be true. But how strongly beckons this idyll!

If you look at the city islands from the hill, you can see that sometimes they look like fantastic settings to “Star Wars”, possibly due to the active sun or to hundreds shades of white. The real cities of the future!

Approaching the house, we can see that a vault dominates a plane. The details are always in the background, although they have the very active colour.

On the Cyclades the general always dominates components. I haven’t seen anywhere else so many different reflections. The reflected light is everywhere, especially at night. This simple beauty of the landscape enchants not only travellers, but also the Greeks. The physical size of the buildings and, particularly, their form breed curiosity. For the most part, we saw either white cylinders of the mills, or sides of the church cylinders, or multiple vaults of residential houses that resemble pieces of white sugar at a distance.

Perhaps, there is no better place to study basic architectural forms and the inverted world than at the Cyclades. Here dogs sleep on the roofs; opening the gates you immediately face the horizon. And when you come into the house through the roof, you feel like a real Santa. All this is complemented by numerous stairs that embrace buildings and sew them together with the surroundings.

A distinctive feature of life on the islands is a mutual farewell to the sun: the intelligent Greeks turned the sunset into a wonderful attraction. Every night it brings together hundreds of travellers.

The Cyclades embody the greatest dreams of harmony with the environment. Perfect shape, endless beaches, crystal clear waters of the Aegean Sea, the sun that is always shining – Greek luxury is available for anyone who comes there to be embraced by its snow-white arms.

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