No connection here between the island’s name and the mythological goddess, but rather, deriving from the Greek word Ύδρα meaning “water.” Historically living up to its name, it used to be a site for plentiful fresh-water springs which would later facilitate naval glory, Hydra’s golden age began in the 15th century, when the population of the neighbouring Peloponnese began fleeing the islands from the advancing Turkish invasion. The rocky local terrain was difficult for growing crops, so the inhabitants were forced to turn to the sea. Gradually, the talented fisherman began distinguishing themselves as outstanding mariners and the island wound up giving Greece dozens of admirals and fleet commanders.
But Hydra’s cultural life was not to be outdone. Despite its relatively small size, the island counts roughly 300 churches, six ancient monasteries, numerous captains’ houses turned museums, and a handful of monuments to prominent local figures and milestone events. The Greeks decided that the locally shot film, Boy on a Dolphin (1957), was one such milestone event. It dramatically enhanced the locality’s tourist attraction, making Hydra a high-end resort for international celebrities. The monument to the film was erected on the island in 2006.