Andros is located between Evia and Tinos islands. It is the northern island of the Cyclades and the second largest after Naxos. It has an area of 374 sq. km. and the length of its shores are about 177 km. The capital of the island is Chora.
The locals call the island “rock” because of the rocky and steep shores that surround it. Andros has three ports. The main port to the east is Gavrio, which link to the port of Rafina in the mainland and a smaller, named Batsi. On the west side of the island is the port of Chora, which is mainly used for mooring private and fishing boats.
All photos have been taken by me in August 2013
A brief history of Andros
The history of Andros is rich and go back to prehistoric times. The island was inhabited during the Late Neolithic Period (4.500 – 3.200 BC). The most important settlement of this period was at Cape Strophilas. Later, during the Geometric Period (900 – 700 BC), the settlement of Zagora was founded, which is today one of the best preservable settlements in Greece. Andros established three colonies in Chalkidiki. Akanthos, Sani and Stageira. The capital of the island during the classical era was Palaiopoli.
In the Byzantine era and especially in the 11th and 12th centuries, Andros went through great economic and spiritual prosperity. The island was part of the byzantine Island Province and a naval base to dealing with pirates and Arabs in the Aegean Sea. Silk production and trade brought a lot of revenue to the island. Many churches were founded, such as the Church of Taxiarches in Messaria and monasteries, such as the Zoodochou Pigi and Aghios Nikolaos (St. Nicholas). In 1204 Andros came under the rule of the Venetians and Enrico Dandolo, who was the 42nd Doge of Venice.
The Venetians remained there until 1566, when the island passed into the hands of the Turks. During the Turkish occupation, Andros was treated more favorably than other parts of Greece. However, the banner of the revolution was raised by Theophilos Kairis on May 10th 1821. The people of Andros actively participated in the liberation struggle and manned the ships of Hydra and Psara islands.
The years after the revolution
Andros was liberated in 1826. During the first years of the existence of the new Greek state, there was a rapid growth of shipping on the island. The population began to rise and the cities of Gavrio, Batsi and Ormos Korthiou were established. At that time, Chora became the capital of Andros. The shipowners of the 19th with their sailboats and steamships were the pioneers of Greek shipping. Their fleet expanded even more during the next century and Andros occupied one of the largest fleets in the world in the mid-20th century.
Andros set off important personalities of Greek literature, such as Theophilos Kairis and Andreas Empeirikos. Theophilos Kairis was a scholar, priest and philosopher. He was born on October 19th 1784 and died in January 1853 in Syros. He met Adamantios Corais in Paris and was influenced by the principles of the French Enlightenment. He was initiated into the Friendly Society and actively participated in the Greek revolution. He contributed to the drafting of the Greek constitution of 1828 and addressed Ioannis Kapodistrias as the first Greek governor, upon his arrival in Greece. He founded the Andros Orphanage in 1835.
Andreas Empeirikos was one of the greatest Greek poets and novelists. He was born in Romania in 1901 and died on August 3rd 1975. He was also an advocate of surrealism in Greece, which he learned during his stay in Paris in the 1920s. He was also involved in psychoanalysis. His poems are erotic, while his speech is ironic and intractable.
Major Sights of Andros
Tourists can see and admire many attractions on the island of Andros
The Tower of Aghios Petros (St. Peter)
The tower of St. Peter was built during the Hellenistic era. It is 20 meters high and is made of local slate. It had five floors and a vaulted roof. Its purpose was to control the navigation around the port of Gavrio.
The Venetian Castle
The Venetian castle was located on the edge of Chora and it is built on a rock. It was built during the Venetian occupation and was connected to the mainland by an arched stone bridge (Kamara). The castle was bombed by the Germans in 1943 and destroyed completely. Today only the Kamara and the ruins of a tower survive.
Palaiopolis was the ancient capital of Andros. It was built near the sea and the ancient pier of its port still seems to be under water. The city flourished in the classical period and was abandoned in the 7th century AD. The modern city is built on the slopes of Mount Petalo and offers an impressive view of the blue waters of the Aegean.
The Statue of the Obscure Sailor
It is located on the square of Riva and is the work of the sculptor Michalis Tombros. It is the symbol of the seamanship of Andros and was placed on the pedestal in 1958. However, a strong wind in 2000 threw the statue from the pedestal and broke it. It was relocated in 2001. The square of Riva offers stunning views of the sea and beaches around the city.
For the lovers of the sea and water sports, Andros has many beaches.
Fellos beach is located northwest of the port of Gavrio. It has a long sandy beach and crystal waters. It is not an organized beach and is considered one of the best on the island.
- Aghios Petros (St. Peter)
This beach is located at the homonymous village and is organized with sunbeds and beach bar. It is the largest on the island with clear waters and sand.
- Chrissi Ammos
It is located next to the beach of Aghios Petros. It is the most popular beach of Andros. It is fully organized with sunbeds and beach bar. The beach is ideal for summer games.
This beach is located at the settlement of Batsi. It has sunbeds, sand and shallow waters. It is ideal for families. Behind the beach you can find cafeterias and taverns.
- Ormos Korthiou
The beach at Ormos Korthiou is large with clear blue waters. It is suitable for water sports due to the winds that blow there.
- Tis Grias to Pidima
It is located next to the Korthi Bay and is one of the most famous beaches on the island. It has sand and pebbles, while its waters are clear and crystal. Its trademark is the standing rock in the sea.
Achla beach is located at the eastern part of the island north of Chora. It is probably the most beautiful beach of Andros. Access only by boat or by dirt road. Its waters are blue – green with fine sand.