A Walk Through the Culture and Art of Andros Island 

Photo by Eurokinissi/Lydia Siori)

Andros is the most northern and greenest island of the Cyclades and the second largest after Naxos.  It’s mainly a mountainous island, with lots of valleys, small waterfalls, streams, and little rivers.

Andros also has numerus top quality beaches that suit the taste of any visitor – beaches that are sandy or rocky, easily accessible or isolated and with cold or warmer waters.

With such natural beauty and two hours away from Rafina by ferry, Andros has become a very big tourist destination.

Andros is characterized as an island of Culture and Art, since many who excelled in letters and arts were from Andros. Anyone who visits Andros, apart from enjoying the natural beauty, can visit and enjoy a number of museums.

Kypri beach on Andros island. (Photo by Eurokinissi/Lydia Siori)

We start from Palaiopolis, which was the capital of Andros for twelve centuries. In 1956 they started excavations in the area and in 2003 they opened the Archaeological Museum of Palaiopolis in a building that was sponsored by the Basil and Elise Goulandris Foundation.  It’s organized in three thematic units: sculpture, inscriptions, and miscellaneous finds. The most significant objects in the Museum are the tombstone of a marble lion in life size that was found in the cemetery of Palaiopolis dated in the 4th century BC, the marble sculpture of the mythical winged horse Pegasus that is dated in the 6th-5th century BC, a marble statue of Artemis dated in the 3rd century BC, and an inscribed marble slab that preserves 178 verses of a hymn to the goddess Isis, who was a major goddess in ancient Egyptian religion and was also revered in the Greek world.

We continue with the Archaeological museum in the capital of the island, Chora. It was built in 1981 and it was donated by the Basil and Elise Foundation. The museum hosts objects from the geometric settlement at Zagora, sculptures dating from the Archaic to the Roman period, and a collection of inscriptions and sculptures dating to the Proto-Byzantine and Byzantine periods. The most remarkable find in this museum is the statue of Hermes, known as Hermes of Andros, that was found in Palaiopolis and is a copy of the homonymous statue of Praxiteles.

In Chora we will also find the most famous museum of the island and the leader in the Cycladic art world, the Museum of Contemporary Art. Chora was the birthplace of Basil Goulandris and in 1979 the Museum of Contemporary Art was founded by the Basil and Elise Goulandris Foundation.

Photo by Eurokinissi/Lydia Siori)

Originally the museum was created to exhibit sculptures by Andros native sculptor, Michael Tombros. Later, the museum was enriched by part of the personal collection of the Goulandris couple. From 1983 to 1985 exhibitions of Greek ainters were hosted with major interest on behalf of the public. Thus, the need for expansion was created and on July 20th, 1986 a new building, situated opposite the existing building, was opened to the crowd. The first part of the museum is now the Old Wing and the expansion is the New Wing.

The Old Wing hosts sculptures  of Tombros, Zoggolopoulos, Chryssa, Nikolaidis and many more. The New Wing has a library, a projection room, a room for international exhibitions and a museum shop. From June to September, in collaboration with museums, galleries, institutes and private collections of Europe and America, significant modern artists are exhibited. The museum has hosted works by, among others, Picasso, Matisse, Klee, Chagall, Rodin, Miró, Kandinsky and many more.