The oldest Mesolithic settlement yet discovered in the Cyclades was found on Kythnos north of the port of Loutra. It dated from about 7,000 BC.
Much later the Minoan's had a trading center here during the Mycenaean period. The semi-mythical tribe called Dryopes, fleeing Heracles on the mainland, occupied the island and are responsible for its present name as well as the name of the old capital Driopida. Kythnos played an active part in the Persian wars and joined the Athenian league and was later subject to the Macedonians, Romans and the Byzantines.
In 1337 Kythnos was taken by Marco Sanudo and came under the domination of the Venetian Cozzadini family who held on to power even after the attack of the Turkish pirate Barbarossa in 1537. The Cozzadini paid taxes both to the Turks and to Venice for 200 years. The Turks finally overwhelmed the island in 1617. During King Otto of Greece's reign it was a place of exile.
In the 17th century Kythnos was a center of icon painting whose most talented were the Skordilis family of painters whose works can still be seen.
Walkers enjoy the dramatic and rugged interior of Kythnos. Unless you're packing a sleeping bag and plan to sleep on the beach, make sure you keep track of the bus schedule and don't miss the last bus back to Merihas in the afternoon. See more photos of Kythnos.