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Administrative Region : North Aegean
Regional unit : Kea-Kythnos

Kea (Greek: Κέα), also known as Gia or Tzia (Greek: Τζια), Zea, and, in Antiquity, Keos (Greek: Κέως, Latin: Ceos), is an island of the Cyclades archipelago, in the Aegean Sea, in Greece. Kea is part of the Kea-Kythnos peripheral unit. Its capital, Ioulis, is inland at a high altitude (like most ancient Cycladic settlements, for the fear of pirates) and is considered quite picturesque. Other major villages of Kea are Korissia (the port) and Vourkari (a fishing village). After suffering depopulation for many decades, Kea has been recently rediscovered by Athens as a convenient destination for weekends and yachting trips. The population in 2001 was 2,417.


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It is the island of the Cyclades complex that is closest to Attica (about 1 hour by ferry from Lavrio) and is also 20 km from Cape Sounio as well as 60 km SE of Athens. Its climate is arid and its terrain is hilly. Kea is 19 km long from north to south and 9 km wide from west to east. The area is 129 km² with the highest point being 560m.

The municipality Kea includes the island of Makronisos to the northwest.

Kea 1717


Kea is the location of a Bronze Age settlement at the site now called Ayia Irini, which reached its height in the Late Minoan and Early Mycenaean eras (1600-1400 BCE).
Coin from ancient Kea; with a dog and a star.

In the classical period Kea (Ceos) was the home of Simonides and of his nephew Bacchylides, both ancient Greek lyric poets, and the Sophist Prodicus, and the physician Erasistratus. The inhabitants were known for offering sacrifices to the Dog Star Sirius and Zeus to bring cooling breezes while awaiting for the reappearance of Sirius in summer; if the star rose clear, it would portend good fortune; if it was misty or faint then it foretold (or emanated) pestilence. Coins retrieved from the island from the 3rd century BC feature dogs or stars with emanating rays, highlighting Sirius' importance.[1]

During the Byzantine period many churches were built and the prosperity of the island rose. Kea was Byzantine until, in 1204, it was captured by the Venetians in the wake of the fourth crusade. It was recaptured by the Byzantines under Licario in 1278. In 1296 it fell to the Venetians again, who soon built a castle on the ancient acropolis of Ioulis.

Kea was taken from the Venetians by the Ottoman Turks in 1527. It joined Greece following the Greek War of Independence in 1821, along with the rest of the Cyclades.

HMHS Britannic, the largest ship sunk in World War I and sister ship to the RMS Titanic, was sunk off Kea in 1916.

Historical population
Year Island population
1991 1,797
2001 2,417


Ellinika Kea
Kato Meria
Koundouros, Greece

Notable people

Aristo (3rd century BC) Peripatetic philosopher
Prodicus (5th century BC) sophist
Simonides lyric poet (c. 556 BC-468 BC)
Bacchylides ( 5th century BC) lyric poet

Municipality Kea

(Seat: Ιουλίδα Κέας, η)
6301 2.455
Municipal Community Ioulida 63010001 1.406
Agia Marina (Αγία Μαρίνα Κέας, η) 6301000102 3
Agia Mavra (Αγία Μαύρα Κέας, η) 6301000103 44
Agios Theodoros (Άγιος Θεόδωρος Κέας, ο) 6301000104 33
Agios Nikolaos (Άγιος Νικόλαος Κέας, ο) 6301000105 19
Agios Symeon (Άγιος Συμεών Κέας, ο) 6301000106 44
Astras (Αστράς Κέας, ο) 6301000107 21
Ellinika (Ελληνικά Κέας, τα) 6301000108 33
Zoodochos Pigi (Ζωοδόχος Πηγή Κέας, η) 6301000109 29
Ioulida (Ιουλίδα Κέας, η) 6301000101 633
Kampi (Καμπί Κέας, το) 6301000110 9
Kastanies (Καστανιές Κέας, οι) 6301000111 41
Kastriani (Καστριανή Κέας, η) 6301000112 18
Kato Meria (Κάτω Μεριά Κέας, η) 6301000113 92
Kokkinada (Κοκκινάδα Κέας, η) 6301000114 11
Koundouros (Κούνδουρος Κέας, ο) 6301000115 17
Ligia (Λιγιά Κέας, η) 6301000116 2
Myloi (Μύλοι Κέας, οι) 6301000117 48
Orkos (Όρκος Κέας, ο) 6301000118 13
Pera Meria (Πέρα Μεριά Κέας, η) 6301000119 47
Pisses (Πήσσαι Κέας, αι) 6301000120 157
Plagia (Πλαγιά Κέας, η) 6301000121 12
Rontakado (Ροντακάδο Κέας, το) 6301000122 2
Spathi (Σπαθί Κέας, το) 6301000123 9
Stavroudaki (Σταυρουδάκι Κέας, το) 6301000124 22
Chavouna (Χαβουνά Κέας, τα) 6301000125 47
Community Korissia 63010002 1.049
Vourkari (Βουρκάρι Κέας, το) 6301000202 121
Kalamos (Κάλαμος Κέας, ο) 6301000203 6
Korissia (Κορησσία Κέας, η) 6301000201 711
Koukouvagia (Κουκουβαγιά Κέας, η) 6301000204 32
Makronisos (Μακρόνησος Κέας, η (νησίδα)) 6301000205 9
Marades (Μαράδες Κέας, οι) 6301000206 8
Mavro (Μαύρο Κέας, το) 6301000207 35
Melissaki (Μελισσάκι Κέας, το) 6301000208 0
Mylopotamos (Μυλοπόταμος Κέας, ο) 6301000209 28
Xyla (Ξύλα Κέας, τα) 6301000210 1
Otzias (Οτζιάς Κέας, ο) 6301000211 87
Fotimari (Φωτημάρι Κέας, το) 6301000212 11


^ Holberg, JB (2007). Sirius:Brightest Diamond in the Night Sky. Chichester, UK: Praxis Publishing. p. 20. ISBN 0-387-48941-X.

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