If you draw a line from Crete to Heraklion, Crete to Athens, the island of Milos would be right at the halfway point. Its location and its rich bounty of rocks and minerals put the island in a central position for trading since the stone age.
Like Lipari in the Aeolian Islands, Milos was a site of good quality obsidian, a glassy volcanic rock that was used for early tools. Milos obsidian was widely traded, and has been found in many Aegean historic sites.
As a center for trading, Milos was likely pivotal for thousands of years – with the settlement at Fylakopi (not much to see there today – the site was somewhat destroyed in WWII) dating from 3000-1100 BC.
This is the island where Venus de Milo was found stuffed in a cave. She’s in the Louvre in Paris now, but they have a reproduction in the local museum. (Her story is pretty interesting – but apparently they thought she was older than the inscription on the pedestal, so somehow the ‘pedestal’ and one of her arms was lost.
We went to Milos because it is a volcanic island. There isn’t an active vent, but there are lots of ‘hot spots’ and the rocks have been eroded into fascinating landforms. My favorites are in the photos below.
Milos has some tourist infrastructure – boat tours, restaurants, hotels, museums, cheap car rentals and a great bus system – but it is so laid back and uncrowded that it feels more real than Crete and Santorini. It’s high up there on my list of favorite places we’ve visited so far! I had such a great time there – I couldn’t find time to blog.