Colors of Mykonos: White, Blue and Beyond

The colors of Mykonos are famous throughout the world.  Here, bright whitewashed buildings are complemented by blue, red or green doors and window shutters. Here’s why.

Why White: Colors of Mykonos

The one-of-a-kind cubist buildings of Mykonos take on the brilliant whitewashed look found throughout Greece’s Cycladic islands.  Flat topped homes and buildings with smooth rounded corners gleam white in the Mediterranean sun here.  There’s a good reason for it.

A Good Mix

The aesthetic whitewashed walls of Mykonos that everyone loves to photograph isn’t paint.  It is a layer of traditional plaster mix typically made from calcium carbonate or limestone.   Mykonos was once a poor island.  This kind of paint-like mix was not only easy to make but affordable.  Whenever a homeowner wanted to refresh the home with a new coat, another layer of the mix was simply smoothed on top of the old layer.

Many houses are whitewashed up to three times a year to maintain a clean and beautiful finish. Throughout the Cycladic islands, homes are whitewashed right before Easter.

White Keeps it Cool

Why white?  White keeps Mykonian homes and buildings quite cool because white reflects sunlight. A simple whitewash on a home would always prove to keep temperatures down for more comfortable living.   Remember, these were the days before there was such a thing as air conditioning.

Safe for Goats

Another reason white was chosen was because it was safe for goats. The Cycladic islands were once very rural and even to this day, goats are a part of life.  This plaster mix proved harmless to the local goats should they eat it.

Colors of Mykonos and the Cycladic Islands

Brilliant pops of color completes and complements the overall white scheme of the Cycladic islands.  The blue domes on the Greek churches are not only beautiful but they are said to represent the sea and the sky.   Another popular reason blue is popular is because white and blue are the colors of the Greek flag.

Blue isn’t the only dominant color you’ll notice as you explore and photograph Mykonos.  You will find doors and shutters painted green or red.  This tradition dates back to when islanders would paint the doors and shutters on their homes according to their profession.  For example, blue was used for sailor’s home and green was used for a farmer’s home. Locals created such colors by adding iron oxide or other mineral colors to the simple mix. Today, local laws respect these traditions and only allow the doors and shutters on any building to be blue, green or red.

We love the traditional colors and whitewashed look of the Cycladic islands. What do you think of the colors of Mykonos?

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