The Cyclades, an island complex in the Aegean sea between Attiki and Crete, has been since ancient times a gateway for the growth of trade and the spread of civilization.
The islands of the Cyclades owe their peculiar shapes and land texture to earthquakes and volcanic eruptions (most notably the eruption of the Santorini volcano (17-16 century BC) that happened almost thirty five million years ago and caused the Aegeida geological disruptions, between submergence of large areas of land.
The name Cyclades derives from the word “cyclos” (meaning cycle), describing the general shape of the island complex, a circular arrangement around an imaginary centre and also defining the meaning of its central location. In symbolic terms, since ancient times, the importance of the center is highlighted by the existence of Delos, the sacred island, in the geographic center of the group of islands.
In the topography and architecture of the Cyclades strong individual differences are evident, but also summarized are the common archetypal characteristics. The traditional architecture of the Cyclades became standard reference for the modern architectural movement. The traditional buildings in the Cyclades, perfectly integrated into the natural environment, following the principle of minimum intervention, adapt to the earth, avoiding unfavorable positioning and at the same time serve their purpose, tending to the needs of their inhabitants.
In that way they project a genuine primary Functionalism in conjunction with the principles of minimal architecture.
Every island has its own architectural peculiarities: cave houses, towers, villages with tiled roofs, fortified settlements in castle formations, neoclassical mansions and traditional Cycladic houses.