Andros is one of the closest Greek islands to Athens and a popular weekend destination for the Athenians. The main port is at Gavrio, which can be reached in two hours with regular ferries from Rafina, while the ports of Batsi, Chora and Korthi can facilitate fishing and touristic boats. An attractive island with rich history, Andros distinguishes for the elegant architecture of Chora, the green landscape of the inland and the fabulous beaches.
The island has a long and varied history. Archeological excavations prove the existence of developed settlements, dating back to Mycenaean times or even earlier. The island becomes historically known during the Geometric period (9th-7th century B.C.). The prosperity during that period is shown by the big production of coins. Relevant findings together with Hermes of Andros statue are exhibited in the Archeological Museum. The island consecutively fell under Roman, Frank and Ottoman occupation. Dating back to 11th century, Byzantine style churches and monasteries are found around the island.
Architecture in the island of Andros does not follow the strict rules of the traditional Cycladic patterns. Typical Aegean-type houses co-exist with neoclassical buildings, Venetian tower-houses and stone-houses. Many stone bridges, made of schist, simple and in harmony with the landscape, served as part of the old transport network. In the beginning of the 20th century there were approximately 150 water-mills functioning in the island. Today a few dozen of them are preserved in "Dipotamata" valley declared a protected area.
Andros has several traditional settlements worth visiting and several beautiful beaches.
Andros or Chora, is the capital of the island and the nicest town. The mid-ages style houses, the neo-classical and island-type ones, in addition to the narrow alleys, the museums and the beaches, are the main attractions. Half-way to Chora lies Paleopolis, the ancient capital of Andros, with many important ancient findings, Close to Chora is Messaria, the medieval center of the island, with Taxiarchis Michail, an important Byzantine church built in 1158. Stenies is one of the most beautiful villages with lovely mansions. Gavrio. and Batsi are in the north, the first hosts the port, while both have the main tourist facilities of the island. The southern part of the island is dominated by Ormos a quiet picturesque village.
In Chora area there is the organized beach at Niborio and the marvelous isolated beach at Achla. In Paleopolis swim at the nice beach of the bay, In Batsi there is the large organized "Golden Beach" and exceptional beaches nearby, like Stivari, Agia Marina and Agios Kyprianos. In Gavrio area and further north there is a big choice, isolated or bustling ones. Fellos, Zorkos, Vitali and Ateni. In the south, in Korthi area, Kantouni the large beach of the town, the nearby Vintzi and Agia Ekaterini and the more isolated Kalamonari, Bouros, Kremydes. "Grias Pidima" is an impressive beach very close to Ormos.
The events making up the identity of the island could characterize Andros as the cultural capital of the Cycladic islands. Vasilis and Eliza Goulandris Foundation organizes every summer at the Museum of Modern Art exhibitions of international importance. Petros and Marika Kydonieos Foundation organize art and music events named "Ploes". Kairios Library makes a big contribution in studying and preserving the cultural tradition of the island and its people. The two archeological museums of the island (Andros/Chora and Paleopoli), as well as the Naval Museum, play an important role in presenting its long and rich history.
Andros is the birthplace of several Greek shipowners, the best known names are Goulandris and Embeirikos. They account for more ships flying the Greek flag than anywhere else except Piraeus. All of them have contributed to preserve the character of the island and make it what it is.
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