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Kimolos – the island of minerals

Kimolos is a Greek island in the Aegean Sea. It lies on the southwest of the island group of Cyclades near the bigger island of Milos. Kimolos is the administrative center of the municipality of Kimolos, which also includes the uninhabited islands of Polyaigos, Agios Efstathios and Agios Georgios. The island has a land area of 36 square kilometres, while the municipality’s land area is 53.251 square kilometres and it reported a population of 910 inhabitants in the 2011 census.

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Kimolos lies to the northwest of larger Milos island, separated from it by a 1 km wide channel. It is round-shaped, approximately 7 km in radius. The island has a total area of 36 square kilometres. The highest point is mount Paleokastro, at 364 metres. The only town is Chorio, located on a hill on the west of the island. There are also smaller settlements of Psathi port, Goupa, Kara, Prasa, Aliki, Bonatsa and Dekas.

To the east of Kimolos lies the island of Polyaigos, half its size. Polyaigos is the largest uninhabited island of Aegean. It is also part of the municipality of Kimolos.

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Kimolos, Milos and the smaller islands that surround them belong to the Aegean volcanic arc and consist mainly of acidic volcanic rocks. In some places, the pre-volcanic bedrock can be observed. Large areas of Kimolos are covered by tuffs and the volcanic activity can be obvious from the hot springs, existence of a notable geothermal field, the characteristic landscape and strange landforms. The island is also rich in minerals of the silica group and in significant industrial minerals.

One of the most famous geologic formations on Kimolos is Skiadi. Skiadi is a huge mushroom-shaped stone that dominates the middle of a small valley in the interior of the island. It is created by a process called ablation, in which the dust carried by the wind continuously scratches the rock, eroding the softer layers at the bottom much more than the harder layers at the top. Through centuries, the stone has been shaped into a characteristic, unique form.

According to the last censuses, the population of Kimolos is decreasing, and no more than 600 residents (mostly elderly) remain during winter. The underage population is no more than 100, according to the school records. Most of the working population is involved with the tourist industry of the island (hotels, restaurants) in combination with agriculture activities, mainly during winter.

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On the island all vehicles are permitted, but during the summer months, the lack of parking space is the most important problem in populated areas, such as Chorio Kimolou and Psathi. Common kinds of fuels are available at the local fuel station. There are also public means of transport, such as bus and taxi, performing routes to popular beaches.

Kimolos is an island with rich history records. According to tradition, it is named after Kimolos, the very first resident of the island. Since the ancient era, it was a battlefield between Ancient Athens, the ruler of the island, and Sparta, the ruler of Milos. In the Middle Ages it was known as Argentiera, because of the silver-colored rocky lands of its southern coast. Since those times, these rocky lands provided Kimolia Gi-Kimolian Earth, a valuable trade good, which made the island a major trade hub. Along with the rest of Greece, it was ruled by the Ottoman Empire until 1829, when it was annexed by the Greek state along with the rest of the Cyclades.

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