Andros is the northern and greenest island of the Cyclades. Unlike most of the rocky and dry lands of the Cycladic islands, Andros is a mountainous island, with green valleys, small waterfalls, little rivers and streams. Known for its amazing and often secluded beaches, Andros is also famous for its ancient as well as modern history and cultural heritage.
Its history dates back to antiquity where the island was known as Gavros. It was also called Epagris, Lasia, and Hydroussa based on poetic designations referring to the island’s abundant waters and rich vegetation.
Archaeological excavations revealed remains of developed settlements that proved that the island was inhabited during the Mycenaean times and earlier.
Heliades Villas have created a list of must see museums and archaeological sites in Andros. Let’s take a look:
The Archaeological Museum of Palaiopolis (Palaiopoli)
In 1956 excavations in Palaiopolis revealed part of the ancient capital of Andros. All excavation findings are housed at the Archaeological Museum of Palaiopolis, and they are organized in three thematic units: the sculptures, the inscriptions, and miscellaneous findings.
The most significant objects in the Museum are the tombstone of a marble lion 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. The marble statue of Artemis dated back in the 3rd century BC, and an inscribed marble 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. The museum also contains ceramic and stone tools from the Geometric settlement of Zagora.
The Archaeological Museum of Andros (Chora)
The Archaeological Museum of Andros which is located in Chora contains findings from the Geometric settlement at Zagora. Sculptures dating back to the Archaic and Roman period, and also collections of inscriptions and sculptures of the Proto-byzantine and Byzantine periods.
You can walk through a number of fascinating findings such as the statue of Hermes of Andros, found in Palaeopolis, dating back to the first century BC. The museum collections range from the Mycenaean era to the Roman period and artifacts from the geometric settlement at Zagora. Sculptures dating from the Archaic to the Roman period, a collection of inscriptions and sculptures dating to the Proto-Byzantine and Byzantine periods.
The Archaeological site of Ypsili (Aprovatou)
Ypsili is one of the most important fortified settlements of the early Iron Age in the South Aegean, where a large part of the urban planning of the archaic phase of the acropolis and the fortification of the geometric era are revealed.
Discover the archaeological site of Ypsili, which belongs to the Geometric period, at Kato Aprovatou with ruins of a settlement and a fortified citadel. A temple was excavated at the centre of the citadel, dating from the Archaic period (6th century B.C.). The double altar and the discoveries imply that the temple was probably a place of double adoration, perhaps of Dimitra and Persephone. The citadel also reveals evidence from four different phases in history, i.e. from the Geometric to the Hellenistic and Roman periods. The settlement was mostly abandoned by the end of the 8th century B.C., although there was some limited activity after that.
Archaeological site of Zagora (Zagora)
The archaeological site of Zagora, on the Greek island of Andros, is a unique snapshot in time. This Early Iron Age settlement dates back almost 3000 years, from around 900–700 BCE.
Inhabitants of Zagora left their homes about 700 BCE, leaving behind a rare record. Unlike many other archaeological sites, the area was not resettled. The buildings were left as they had been lived in, eventually collapsing where they stood.
But all these millennia later, the building layout remains, along with artifacts in the rooms where they had been stored and used. This provides clear evidence of how life was lived at Zagora, which is extremely rare among central Aegean Early Iron Age sites.
In July 2019, a team of archaeologists are back at work to explore Zagora further, bringing cutting-edge 21st-century methods to this ancient town.
Learn more about the Zagora Archaeological Project on our Zagora Dig Blog
Museum of Contemporary Art
The Museum of Contemporary Art is located in Chora. The motivation for the construction of the Museum was the need to house and present the works by the Andriot sculptor Michalis Tombros. Later, the museum was enriched with works from the private collection of Basil and Elise Goulandris, while the positive reverberations from this effort and the increasing numbers of visitors and interest from audiences led the Museum to a further expansion.
The New Wing of the Museum of Contemporary Art is equipped with the most modern museum specifications in order to be able to hold internationally acclaimed exhibitions. The Museum of Contemporary Art has hosted internationally acclaimed exhibitions and over the years the museum hosted internationally commended exhibitions of works by artists who had left their mark on the 19th and 20th centuries including Matisse, Kandinsky, Balthus, Giacometti, Klee, Chagall, de Chirico, Rodin, Picasso, Braque, Mirό, Toulouse-Lautrec and others.
The old wing of the museum 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.
The Maritime Museum of Andros gives a good insight into the island’s naval history. It includes old freight agreements, insurance contracts, naval logbooks, lithography and models of ships – from old schooners to recent tankers. It was founded in 1972 for the purpose of gathering and preserving naval objects found in Andros. The most important of its exhibits are the old freight contracts, insurance contracts, various nautical diaries, where the life of the Andriots on the seas before the 1821 War of Indepedence is described, lithographs of Andriot ships and the later first stream freighters of Greece etc. There are also displayed models of ships, ranging from old schooners to huge modern tankers.
These exhibits are original and vividly present the entire history of Andros’ merchant marine, from antiquity to our day.
The objects that are exhibited are related to Andros’ naval life. There are a lot of lithography presenting everyday life, insurance policies, cutlery, uniforms, naval diaries and some ship models.
The museum consists of two rooms that are stockpiled with a variety of objects. These range from models of old and new ship vessels, naval diaries, naval costumes, and shipping documents, among other artifacts. The museum provides an explanation of the importance of the objects, and provides insight into the history of the surrounding area.