The big bronze statue “Afanis Naftis” (Missing Sailor) made by the local sculptor Michalis Tompros.
People of Andros are connected with the sea from the early years. The rich families were ship owners and many others had sailed away as seamen. So, the statue stands there, staring at the sea as a dedication for all those people that died in the sea.
It is situated in front of the navy museum in a square called “Afanis Naftis” too.
Before WWII on the spot of the square there were Empireika of Kamaras, the mansions of Nikolaos Linardos Empeirikos family. The Nazis bombed the Italian garrison of Chora (September 23, 1943) destroying totally the mansions but the family donated the area to Andros municipality. The square was ready in 1958 and the unveiling of the monument took place the next year with the presence of the king!
I love to walk around the narrow cobble stoned streets of the old town, talking to locals and watching around daily life, we were there off high season so things were calm down in normal human scale.
The meeting point of the locals is the central square where they chat, have their coffee etc
If you take the main road you will notice that splits the town in two. Walk there and pass by all the stores, right to the central square. Then the narrow street will lead you at the Afanis Naftis square.
Hora situated on a headland between two beaches, Neimporio and Paraporti.
I found the beaches in other parts of Andros island better and less windy but if you stay here and don’t want to travel around they are good choices because they are in walkable distance.
Both of them are sandy beaches and have clear waters.
Paraporti lies south of Chora, walk down from Kairi square or drive through Livadia. It’s nice but so windy that we preferred to skip it.
Neimporio north of Chora, walk down or drive along the main road to Stenies. More popular among families because there are many stores and taverns around. It’s also the marina for the fisherboats and yachts.
This lonely chapel stands along the road between the Hora and Messaria. It is a pity it was not possible to visit it as it looks old and have a very elaborate plan : basically figuring a cross but with small inner chapels added on the sides and another dome in the backyard.
Pigeon houses from neighboring island of Tinos are well known but Andros has many of these delicate pieces of architecture too. They all use stones to make the opening for the birds and draw each time a pattern of its own and finally, each of them is different. This one is right on the seashore in the Chora.
However, we did not want to stay in the Chora but were looking for a quiet place to spend the night. After following several dirt tracks that lead to nothing, we were happy to find a dead end between a dry stone wall and a row of oleander. We spent a very quiet night in this place !
Andros, is the hora (capital) of the island and replaced Messaria, 4 km inland in the second part of the XIXth. This was when families of ship-owners, becoming wealthier than land owners took power. Though the Hora is home to several families of great ship owners such as the famous Goulandris family or the Embirikos family, it has not a real harbor. The reason is that the bay is unprotected from the very strong northerly winds that blow often on the island.
Both photos show that even on a calm day, water in the bay is not that smooth!
The road from Gavrio to Andros is the main communication axis of the island. It was constructed between 1929 and 1932. It first follows southwards the west coast until Stratopeda and Zaganiaris. In Zaganiaris, it divides in two parts. One turns eastwards across the island to Messaria and a little further, to Andros, the chora. The other leg continues south-eastwards to Korthio.
Along the way, the road is lined with bushes in full bloom in august. The most abundant are :
Vitex Agnus-castus, a deciduous shrub named in English hemp tree, chaste tree or monk. On the photo it is on the left. It belongs to the Verbenaceae Family (same family as the verbena)
Nerium oleander, an evergreen shrub named in English oleander. It is native from around the Mediterranean. Wild oleander has pink reddish flowers but along the road, varieties of various colors have been planted and grow as well as the wild ones. The flowers are white, red, pink, salmon and light yellow. It belongs to the Apocynacea family together with several toxic tropical plants of medical interest. Oleander itself is a powerful cardiotoxic toxic and some of its components are used in medicine.
At the end of the headland, in front of the statue “Afanis Naftis” are two tiny islands, the first linked (to the mainland by a brick bridge) a ruined Venetian castle and the second a lighthouse. You can walk over the bridge but watch out for the waves. The rocks down there won’t be comfortable if you fell. Back in medieval times the castle was connected to the peninsula by a removable bridge.
Every summer, between the end of June and the end of September, there's a special art exhibition at the Modern Art Museum in the Hora. Last year ('03) it was Georges Braque - a fabulous exhibition! This year ('04) it was a wonderful Picasso exhibition, focusing on the influences of ancient Greek art upon his work.