The Island of the Winds, as we know it, is one of the most beautiful and popular tourist destinations in the world, but did you know that it was a popular pirate hideout back in the day? It’s home to many legends and secrets, and Mykonos pirates are just one of them. So here’s what you need to know before your dream vacation on this mysterious island.
The Island of the Winds in Greece Has a Rich History: The Now Party Island Was Once a Pirate Legend Hideout
The most common association people have with Mykonos is that it’s just a flashy party island filled with fancy nightclubs. However, there is so much more to Mykonos than its vivid nightlife. What is now an exclusive summer destination for partying was once one of the most important waterways in Greece, connecting the Greek land, Turkey, and Crete. No matter whether it was part of the Venetian empire or under Ottoman rule, the island was constantly welcoming pirates and sailors.
The gorgeous, almost maze-like streets of the Old Town that are now home to some of the most expensive designer shops were once pirate hideouts. The streets were made in such a way that would leave the Venetian pirate invaders wandering around in circles for hours, completely lost, allowing locals to attack them and defend themselves.
Once the Turks took over, The Island of the Winds became a hideout for Greek pirates who fought for independence, ultimately winning by attacking ships from their Mykonian base. Mykonos was never scared or weak, with the proof that even the houses were built practically right on the sea, taunting pirates who dared to come.
There Are Countless Stories and Articles Written About Mykonos Pirates and How to Get Into Pirate Legend Hideout
Everybody’s heard of the Pirates of the Caribbean, but Greek stories are better. When you think about Greek legends, the first thought that comes to mind is probably Greek mythology. However, many Greek islands were not only home to the most powerful Greek gods, but they’re also the origin place of countless pirate tales.
These stories have been passed on from generation to generation in hopes of keeping the memory of the legend alive. If you ask any local on The Island of the Winds if they know who the “Robin of the Seas” is, pull up a chair, get some cold ouzo and figs, and get ready for one of the best Greek legends.
Who Was the Legendary “Robin of the Seas”?
The Robin of the Seas was a legendary pirate named Manolis Mermelechas who lived in Mykonos, Greece, during the pre-revolutionary period. When you hear about this story from older locals, you will notice a certain sense of pride when telling the tale. That’s because Manolis Meemelechas was a helper of people.
He was known as a terrifying pirate in the Aegean Sea but a gift to the locals at the time. During those hard years, Greece was under the invasion of the Ottoman Turks, and Manolis was brave enough to steal the Turkish taxes from neighboring islands and bring them back to Mykonos, handing the money to locals, specifically orphans. He quickly became a local hero, earning respect and admiration of people. So much so that when a Turkish Pasha ordered the locals to surrender him, or they would all be killed, they wouldn’t give him up.
The Robin of the Seas, having heard that, surrendered himself to the Pasha, only to be set free due to his courage. Manolis Mermelechas spent the remainder of his life as a simple baker, supplying and helping sailors, before dying of cholera in 1854. The legend says that his remains are to this day buried on the island.
Where Are the Remains of Manolis Mermelechas Located Today?
Mykonos is known for its small churches that are scattered all over the island. Religion is extremely important in Greece, which you will notice simply by taking a walk through the streets of Mykonos – you can find an Orthodox church on almost every corner. It is said that there are over a thousand churches on this small island, some of them dating back to the 17th or 18th century.
Many of them have been marked as historical monuments, and they were built in classic Cycladic architecture – they are small, whitewashed chapels with single aisles, but they are some of the most beautiful Orthodox churches you will ever see. If you were wondering why there are so many on an island that is relatively small in its size, the reason is quite simple – these churches were built as shrines, with the Greek custom of burying the remains of people into the actual walls or foundation of the church.
However, a lot of these churches were also built as a tribute to sailors and pirates as well. Manolis Mermelechas was so respected that locals buried his remains in the floor of the church of Agia Sotira. This beautiful chapel is located in the heart of the Old Town, very close to the Panagia Paraportiani church, and even today, it’s a very popular tourist attraction because of its interesting story. Agia Sotira is, to this day, one of the most respected hidden gems Mykonos has to offer.
If You Want to Experience This Little Piece of History for Yourself – Contact The Ace VIP and Book a Luxury Mykonos Villa Rental
Greece is a country well-known for its fascinating history and incredible legends. Once you visit Mykonos, you will understand why it’s one of the most important historical sites this sunny country has to offer. So, to spend your vacation days soaking in the rich history, contact The Ace VIP and get one of the Mykonos luxury villas that best suit your needs.
All of our private villas in Mykonos come with a Mykonos concierge and at least one private pool, and your concierge will be available to you 24/7 to help you on your quest for pirate stories. You can rent a car in order to explore the entire island much easier and faster, and if you want to sail across the Aegean Sea like a modern-day pirate, just on a much better boat – get a Mykonos yacht rental and experience the sea life from another perspective.