The second largest (380 sq. km.) and the northernmost island of the Cyclades is 89 nautical miles from Piraeus. To the southest lies Tinos and to the west-southest lies Gyaros, while 26 miles to the west is Kea (Tzia). The area of the island is 400 Km x Km and the population is 10,500. The capital city is Andros or Chora, as it is called by the local people.
Andros is an exception among the islands of the Cyclades. Successive ranges of mountains with steep sides, separated by gorges, riverbeds and three large valleys planted with olive trees, figs, oranges, lemons and vines through which run numerous streams go to make this a landscape which often goes beyond what we think of as typically ``Cycladic''. The mountains end as rocky cliffs or steep promontories, while at the mouths of the valleys are sandy beaches.
Andros is home to many of Greece`s seamen, and interesting cultural events take place there all the year round.
According to mythology, Andros
was named after the grandchild of Apollo, Andros.
Until then the island was called, Gavros or Lasia.
The first inhabitants of Andros were the Carians, followed by the Phoenicians and later by the Minoans and Pelasgians. Around 1000 BC Ionian settlers arrived. The island flourished, and as early as 654 BC there are records of colonists in Macedonia, Thrace and Asia Minor.
In the times of Macedon and Rome Andros had the same fate as the other islands of the Cyclades. In 109 BC it was taken by Rome. The Romans compelled the islanders to emigrate to Delio (today called Dilesi) on the coast of Boeotia with only the clothes they stood up in.
Under Byzantium Andros was an intellectual center of note. The neoplatonist Proclus taught there in the 5th century AD and in the 9th century AD a philosophical academy was founded. Michael Psellus the Elder was among the teachers there. Despite frequent Saracen attacks Andros continued to flourish, particularly in the 11th and 12th centuries, thanks largerly to the silk-making business. In 1207 it was taken by Marco Dandolo, nephew of the Doge of Venice, and it remained in Venetian hands until the mid-16th century. Barbarossa took Andros from Turks in 1537. Under Turkish rule Andros retained many of its privileges and considerable numbers of Turks settled there.
On May 5 1821 the flag of freedom was raised by the local philosopher Theofilos Kairis, and during the War of Independence many of the islanders fought the Turks on land and at sea. In the last century Andros has developed into one of the country's most important maritime island, and its ship registry contains more vessels than any other Greek port except Piraeus.