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ANDROS is a full pallette of colors and contrasts.

The deep blue sea that surrounds it, the whitewashed houses with splashes of ochra, the grey masses of its hills and mountains, and the green of its cool gorges and meadows make this one of the most interesting natural environments in the Cyclades. The finishing touches are provided by the salty air and its aristocratic aura.

This cosmopolitan and aristocratic aura that spells old money is not accidental. The people of Andros have been sailing the seas of the world for the last 300 years, and have acquired the patina and the manners of the international bon viveur. Some of the top Greek shipping families based in Pireaus and London call this island their ancestral home, and have come back in later years to claim their heritage and establish summer homes here. Andros is the second largest island in the Cyclades and it is only 2 hours by boat from Rafina, which makes it a convenient weekend getaway for many Athenians and tourists. Besides spending time under the sun in one of its many beaches, the island features great Aegean architecture and a number of museums. The Goulandris Museum of Modern Art, one of the best such museums in the world, every summer organizes a retrospective exhibition that, invariably, becomes one of the country's top cultural events of the year. Talking a walk in the narrow cobblestone streets of Chora, resting in one of a number of tree-shaded springs that dot the island's landscape, and interacting with the locals, famous for their wandering spirit and love of letters and culture, are sure to leave the visitor with strong impressions. And even if nature and man prove not enough to stir your soul, you are certain to be moved by the aura that permeates this Cycladic island: the feeling of change and progress. Andros has been inhabited since the 4th millenium BC and started evolving into an important civic center during the Mycenean period. It was named after a mythological nymph, Andros, whose father was a son of Apollo and her mother a grandaughter of Dionyssus. At the end of the second millenium BC Andros founds the city of Stageira, home of Aristotle, in Halkidiki, jointly with Halkida. The island cooperated with the armies of Persia, against the other Greek city-states, during the Persian invasions of the early 5th century BC. Then, it joined the Athenian Alliance, participating in the Sicilian Campaign, during the Peloponesian War, which ended disastrously for the Athenians and led to the city's eventual demise a few years later. The following 15 centuries were a time of relatively quiet obscurity. Andros suffered from pirate raids during the Middle Ages and came under Venetian rule in 1204, after the fall of Constantinople to the hordes of the Fourth Crusade. The Venetians were replaced by the Ottoman Empire in 1565, which ruled the Cyclades until the Greek Revolution of 1821.

In modern times, Andros has established itself as one of the most important sea-faring islands in Greece. It has been the starting point for a number of shipping families that have dominated world shipping in the post-War years, like the Goulandris family of benefactors, whose contributions include the Museum of Modern Art in Andros, the Museum of Cycladic Art in Athens, and the Museum of Natural History, also in Athens.

 

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