The Cyclades are the most touted island cluster of the Aegean and includes some of the most beautiful Mediterranean islands! The spellbinding co-existence of white and blue in Cycladic architecture; the traditional way of life; the island songs; the warm hospitality; the stark landscape embroidered with deserted country churches; the stunning coasts; and the gorgeous beaches, all make a trip to the Cyclades a unique and unforget experience. The islands' total surface comes to 2,528 square kilometers. Of the 2,200 islands, small islands and islets of the cluster only 25 are inhabited today. The capital of the Cyclades is Ermoupolis on the island of Syros. The name of the cluster, 'Cyclades', means 'the islands' and refers to the circle the islands form around the sacred island of Delos. Greek mythology has it that the Cyclades were created by the God Poseidon, who turned the Cyclades nymphs into islands after the nymphs had provoked the god's wrath. The Cyclades have been inhabited since prehistoric times, while the Cycladic civilization flourished from 3200 BC to 1000 BC (early Cycladic, middle Cycladic, and late Cycladic periods) when the island cluster, due to its geographical position, became the hub of commerce and culture. In the 16th c. BC the eruption of the Thera volcano put an end to the area's growth. A few centuries later, the Dorians settled on the island. During the Byzantine period, the Cyclades belonged to the Aegean Theme, a Byzantine administrative division, and later were ruled successively by the Venetians and the Franks. For many centuries the Cyclades were the focus of fierce pirate raids. The ravages the pirate raids caused were such that, during the Turkish Occupation, the islands were given permission to build their own ships so that they may face the pirates on equal terms. After the 1830 Treaty of London, the Cyclades were joined with the Greek State. Today, the Cyclades (Santorini, Mykonos, Delos, Paros, Antiparos, Naxos, Ios, Syros, Tinos, Milos, Kea, Amorgos, Sifnos, Serifos, Andros, Kythnos, Kimolos, Anafi, Folegandros, Sikinos, and Koufonisia) are visited by millions of Greek and foreign visitors who, in the radiant light and blue, crystal-clear sea waters of the Cyclades, are each looking for their own 'enchanted holiday'.