Ancient poets called Andros by the names
of Hydroussa, which indicates its abundance of running
water (Gk. hydor) or of Lasia, which refers to its thick
vegetation (Gk. lasios = (lit.) "hairy"). Its
numerous streams flow their way down to the sea, with
plane-trees growing a few meters off the seaside. All
this water was once used to put watermills into motion,
quite unlike other Cyclades islands, where windmills have
prevailed. Andros' spring water contains minerals and
has healing properties. The most famous is the Sariza
spring at Apikia, where the homonumous mineral water is
In Zagora, south of Paleopolis, archaeologists have unearthed
a most important Geometric settlement.. All mobile findings,
as well as a scale representation of the archaelogical
site, are on display at the sumptuous Archaelogical Museum,
donated by the Goulandris family. At the Museum, you will
also have the opportunity to see findings from Andros'
ancient capital, which was situated at the site of modern-day
Paleopolis, including a statue of the god Hermes which
was hit upon a villager.
Homeland to nautical
captains and shipowners, Andros has the longest nautical tradition
amongst all the Cyclades islands. Alredy in the first years of
Greek national independence the inhabitants became seafarers,
thereby promoting drastically Andrian seamanship. At the church
of Panayia i Thalassini (Our Lady of the Sea) prayers were made
for the seafarers, but a great number thereof perished at sea.
It is to them that the Statue of the Unknown Seaman at the capital
(Chora) is dedicated. Nowadays, the port of Andros is second only
to that of Piraeus in ship registrations. Seamanship has been
a source of great wealth to the island. Some of the wonderful
traditional buildings that embellish several parts of the island,
such as the Museum for Modern Art, the Archaelogical Museum, the
Kydonieus Foundation, the Kairis Library, have been erected thanks
to donations by affluent Andrian patriots.
The island features wonderful beaches, perfect for swimming, but
the most beautiful of all is the difficult of access beach of
Achia. After trekking on a quite rough road, you will reach a
sandy beach, or rather a small paradise on earth. The water that
flows down from the mountain into the sea irrigates the watermelon
fields that lie behind the shore.
Map of Cyclades Islands
Map of Andros
The Chora (capital)
of Andros is quite enchanting. It has managed to keep itself clear
from all tourist developments, thereby maintaining its authenticity
and nobility - its wonderful neoclassical villas standing next
to whitewashed Cyclades houses, its narrow paved streets set against
the blue background of the sea, which peers through almost everywhere.
A stroll around the old city will take you to Embirikos St., through
the Platanos Sq. where the Archaelogical Museum is situated. and
then to the Monument of the Unknown Seaman and the Nautical Museum,
up till the bow-shaped bridge leading to the ruins of the Venetian
Castle. The famous Tourlitis lighthouse, situated at the port's
entrance, is an exact replica of the old original.
Between Sineti and Exo Vouni the Dipotamati valley situated, a
natural habitat for many protected species and an area of rare
natural beauty. The old cobbled road proceeds through rich greenery,
which shelters an abundance of the impressive Panaxia butterflies.
Once, there were twenty-three watermills in operation here, many
of which are still there today. With the restoration of cobbled
paths and traditional watermills, which is now under way, this
area will soon turn into a natural open-air museum.
A prominent position in the island's culinary tradition is reserved
to Andrian sausages (andriotika loukanika). When fried in fat
with eggs and potatoes, these sausages provide the basis for the
tasty dish of frutalia. Another traditional dish is cock in a
wine sauce (kokoras krasatos), served with spaghetti dressed with
sizzling local butter. Local groceries also store the tasty Andros
cheeses: spicy kopanisti, once fermented in goatskin, thereby
acquiring a characteristic smell; chloro, a fresh unsaltedcheese;
petroti, which is similar to feta cheese; and volaki, which is
hard and salty. Moreover, pastry on Andros still preserves its
nobility and idiosyncracy. It is only here that a sweet made of
lemon flowers, while freshly baked almond cookies (amygdalota)
and kaltsounia sell like hot bread among both locals and visitors.