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History of Andros

During the Neolithic period 6-3 Millennium BC, Andros was inhabited by the Carrians, Phoenicians and Cretans.  Traces of Neolithic settlements of the 6th Millennium BC were discovered recently at Strofolia on the west coast of Andros.  Later traces from this era were also discovered on the north coast at Microgiali. In the area of Plaka, traces of a small settlement were also found dating from the Middle Bronze Age.

During the C16-13th BC, the indigenous inhabitants of the island were driven out by the Ionians that invaded from the mainland.  Traces of the first Ionian settlement were found in the area of Paliopolis. In the Geometric period, C10-9th BC, the island experienced the first period of colonisation with settlements in Sagora and Ipsili. At the same time, the Temple of Ipsili was built.  The C8th BC saw the beginning of the second period of colonization, the Andrians, together with the people of Halkida, created cities in Halkidiki, amongst these the famous Stagira, the birthplace of Aristotle.

Throughout the period C7th to 480 BC the city known today as Paliopopolis began to flourish.  Andros was conquered by the Persians during the Persian Wars and the Athenians failed to recapture the island under the leadership of Themistocles. In 477 C Andros joined the first Athens Alliance and took part in the Sicilian offensive of 415-413 BC.  In the year 408 BC the island was under siege by the Athenians due to the fact that Andros had withdrawn from the alliance the previous year.  During the Hellenistic era, 320-30 BC, Andros fell under the Macedonian rule.  At this time, Paleopolis was fortified by strong walls and the city was developed to include an agora, bath houses, theatre and temples.  In 133 BC the island came under the rule of the Romans.

During the first Byzantine period C4-6th AD, the great churches of Paleopolis were built and for the first time, a small settlement in Hora appeared. By the end of the C6th, Paleopolis began to decline.  In the main Byzantine period, C7-12th AD, Andros was a province of the Byzantine Empire.  In the C9th, Andros developed an Academy of Philosophy where Leon the Wise, Emperor of Constantinople, studied.  From the period, C9-11th AD, Andros suffered from Saracen raids which forced the population to migrate to the inland areas of the island.

The C12th AD saw Andros flourishing in commercial businesses and production of silkworms. In the early C13th until the middle of the C16th, Andros fell under the rule of the Venetians.  It was during this time that the two fortified cities of Mesa Kastro and Pano Kastro in Hora were built. Also the Tower of Makro Tandolos and the Monasteries of Agios Nicolas and Zodoch Pygis were built.  In 1566, Andros was conquered by the Ottomans.  The Tower of Bisti Mouvela was constructed in theC17th and in the C18th the first Greek Schools were created, the most important of these being The School of the Holy Trinity in Korthi.

On the 10th May 1821, Theophillos Kairis declared the participation of Andros in the Greek Revolution and from this time, right up until the 1940s, Andros became a flourishing maritime centre.  Evidence of this can be seen today in Andros from the many beautiful neo-classical houses and mansions, especially in and around Hora, that were owned by the captains and ship-owners during this time, in particular the families of Goulandris and Empirikos. They also donated buildings and land to be used for cultural reasons that would benefit the island such as museums.

Today there are few sailors and ever fewer farmers left in Andros.  Tourism has slowly but steadily began to develop and take precedence as a main form of employment.  However this has been carried out in a sympathetic way that maintains the beauty of the island and makes Andros one of the most beautiful islands to visit in the Cyclades.


Andros ile Andros Andros in Greek