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Andros island news and views

The Greek holiday island of Andros is located in the central Cyclades group. Andros is large island and a popular choice for weekending Greek mainlanders. The the main tourist beach resort is at Batsi with the island capital of Chora popular with visitors. A network of old footpaths makes Andros a walkers' heaven but Andros beaches are both scarce and mediocre, given the island's size.

andros dovecote
The dovecotes of Andros

Triangle motif found everywhere on Andros. Anyone on holiday in Andros cannot help but be impressed by the intricately designed dovecotes that are dotted in fields and villages all over the island. Although the dovecotes on neighbouring Tinos are more numerous and more inventive, the dovecotes of Andros still have their own special quality that sets them apart. The large stone-built dovecotes are a legacy of the Venetians who held sway here in the 13th century and who kept doves for both sport and for the table. But these are no ordinary birdhouses. Many are extremely large; some are nearly as big as the house of their owners. Most are two-storey affairs with the upper storey housing the doves and the lower used as a storeroom. The ground floor or 'katoi' was actually once used as the living quarters of Greek peasants who looked after the birds while the upper floor, the 'anoi', was for the pigeon nests. The most remarkable feature of the Andros dovecotes is not their size but the intricate designs constructed out of the local slate. The entrances for the doves are triangular arrangements of the slate-like schist that can be found all over Andros. The thin pieces of slate are laid out in innovative triangles, squares and diamonds to decorate the buildings. This triangle motif is found everywhere on the island of Andros island is a special decorative feature of many houses and garden walls. The motifs are never identical but always are similar and come in three main styles - the sun-wheel, the lozenge and the cypress tree. Most of the dovecotes of Andros are located in the south, in the Korthi region of the island. The most beautiful dovecotes are to be found at Aidonia and Kaparia. More attention was lavished on these dovecote designs than on even the family home as the dove was a symbol of peace and love. The dovecotes reflect the Andros islanders' traditional love of the arts which also finds expression in the many art exhibitions, folklore festivals, religious and other festivities that are staged on this Greek island every year.

Andros art exhibition Byzantine
Andros art

Art exhibition inspired by Byzantium. Visitors on holiday in Andros this summer can enjoy a modern take on traditional Byzantine art. The Museum of Contemporary Art on the island of Andros is to host an exhibition of modern art that takes its inspiration from the Byzantine tradition. The exhibition traces the recent works of distinguished painters whose work is based on religious themes and has contributed to the modern revival of interest in Byzantine art. The exhibition which runs throughout July, August and September, has more than 130 works on display and is accompanied by an authoritative catalogue with scholarly text comments. The Museum of Contemporary Art in located in Hora, the capital town of Andros, and was founded in 1979 by the Goulandris family. The museum, which has a floor area of 200 square metres and built to exhibit works by Andriot sculptor, Michael Tombros, which he bequeathed to his native island. The museum art collection has been added to over the years with works from the collection of the Basil and Elise Goulandris Foundation. The museum's permanent collection includes more that 300 works by both Greek and international artists with works exhibited in rotation throughout most of the year. Rising numbers of visitors led to the expansion of the Andros museum to a new wing opposite the original buildings, which opened in 1986. The gardens and the architectural integration of the building with its surroundings netted the museum a distinction from the 'The International Garden and Greenery Exposition' in Osaka, Japan in 1990. Every summer since 1986, the museum has put on temporary exhibitions by leading modern artists. Each exhibition also features art discussion groups illustrated catalogues, posters and postcards, film screenings on the life and work of artists and guided tours and art workshops. The main aim of the museum is to promote Greek and international modern and contemporary art and a visit to the museum will make a pleasant diversion for anyone with an interest in art on holiday in Andros.

Omilo to hold courses on Andros
Art on Andros

Dance, cook and paint on the Greek island of Andros. Imagine: sun, crystal clear waters, delicious food, top notch activities for all the family. . . and all this on a Greek island of Andros, in Cyclades. What more could you ask for from a Greek island holiday? OMILO is organizing this summer, from 29/7 up to 3/8/2012, a Greek Cultural Week full of action on the Greek island of Andros. The carefully designed activities on Andros will give you and your family the opportunity to get away from the humdrum of everyday life, to spend quality time together, to meet people from all around the world and learn new skills: Greek Cooking Lessons Traditional Greek food is considered one of the healthiest in the world. Give your family and friends the chance to adopt healthier dietary habits by learning step-by-step how to prepare delicious full Greek meals, from appetisers to desserts. During the cooking sessions on Andros, you will prepare a great variety of Greek dishes, using only the freshest and finest ingredients. When food is ready, you can enjoy it in a friendly, informal atmosphere, while tasting the local Andros wine! With the written recipes and notes in your suitcase, you can then impress your family and friends back home. 'Kali oreksi' ('Enjoy your meal' in Greek) Greek Dancing Lessons After a full Greek meal, you will need to burn some calories! Greek dances can do miracles! A great cardio exercise that will refresh your body, soul and mind. Don't worry if you cannot follow the steps with precision. That's not the point! The point is to enjoy yourself. Great fun is guaranteed. Anyone between eight and 80 is welcome to participate. OMILO teaches you various Greek dances from the Greek islands as well as the Greek mainland. You will also receive a CD with the dancing music to bring 'kefi' ('high spirits' in Greek) back home. Painting Lessons You adore painting and you have always desired to be able to paint nicely but you feel like you lack talent? It's time to reconsider. We all have a little Picasso inside of us. We just need an expert to teach us the appropriate techniques in simple comprehensible steps. That's the goal of our painting lessons on Andros. Painting outside, overlooking the Andros sea and mountains will give you all the inspiration you need. No experience is required. Classes are also recommended for children as painting helps them to explore their artistic side and develop their imagination. Greek Private Lessons If you regularly visit Greece and you either would like to communicate with the locals in everyday situations or you already speak Greek and wish to deepen your knowledge of the language, OMILO offers you the option of private lessons: learn at your own pace and study the topics that interest you the most. The price is the same either for one or two people, so share the classes with your husband, wife or friend. Whatever activity you are interested in, we promise you an unforgettable week of action, creativity and - above all - great fun - on Andros island. OMILO has been offering classes in the Greek language and culture to foreigners since 1996. For more information, visit: www.omilo.com or email us: info@omilo.com. For more information on the activities, visit Omilo on Andros. * Please note that only children aged eight and above can participate in the activities on Andros. For dancing and cooking an adult should accompany them. No babysitting services are available.

Andros dovecotes as big as houses
Andros research project

Research project for Andros holiday island. Anyone who has been on a holiday to Andros island cannot have failed to be impressed by the Greek island's architectural heritage. Along with its near neighbour Tinos, the buildings of Andros island have a special character of their own, from fortress homes to the remarkable dovecotes, for which both islands are famous. Now a special project has been set up to record the architectural heritage of Andros, a project that will eventually extend to all the islands in the Greek Cyclades group. The research project by the Cyclades Department of Social Solidarity in collaboration with the Institute of Modern Greek Studies will highlight the architectural heritage of Andros and especially the fortress-type homes known as 'tower houses'. Andros is not only a popular beach holiday island it is also a popular island for walkers, as seen in this Andros holiday guide. It has long been noted for its interesting and varied architecture, especially the Venetian tower-houses and forts, typical Cycladic architecture, that are scattered all over Andros. Also of note to researchers are many old Andros watermills and dovecotes. The dovecotes of Andros, in particular, are remarkable structures - some of them as large as houses. Andros 'tower' houses are massive, plain, three-storey structures built like fortresses both for protection against strong winds and to combat the pirate raids that once plagued the Mediterranean. One of the best examples is the tower house than survives at Agios Petros. Many of the tower houses have walls that are are incredibly thick and small windows protected by iron grilles. Gun emplacements and fortified main doors show the extreme security measures in some of the houses. Another type of Andros house are the beautiful mansions built during the late Turkish rule and mostly found in the Andros holiday resort capital town of Chora on the east coast. Other Andros holiday resort towns like Gavrio, Batsi and Korthi, dating from post Ottoman times, have square houses, with a terracotta tile roofs and large windows overlooking the sea. Walls, door and window frames are painted in various colours, giving to Andros island a unique and attractive architectural style. Most of the dovecotes of Andros are located in the Korthi region. They are built of thin pieces of slate and covered in geometric shapes decorating the building, forming triangles, squares, diamonds and circles.

Andros island illegal waste dump
Andros waste dump

Action on illegal Andros waste dump. Moves are under way to remove tons of rubbish dumped illegally on one of the most important archaeological sites in the Greek islands. The valley slopes at the archaeological site Strofila, in the Stavropedra area of central Andros, has suffered for years from illegal dumping of household waste, plastic and old cars. Heavy rains washed tons of rubbish into the sea at nearby Shinias beach. A floating barrier erected to contain the rubbish was swept away in bad weather adding to the pollution of the surrounding seas. Now agreement has been reached between municipal authorities on the holiday island of Andros and the Central Archaeological Council to bulldoze the rubbish into a nearby unused quarry. The illegal rubbish dump is less than 300m from the major 4000BC Neolithic settlement of Strofila, the site of some of the earliest rock paintings ever found in Greece.  The rock drawings of a boat and various wild animals and birds are regarded as some of Greece's most historic finds. Under the latest plan, the Strofila area will be restored and debris that fell into the sea below the Neolithic settlement, will be removed. Visiting archaeological sites is a popular outing for those on Greek Islands travel holidays. The illegal dump that has been condemned by the Council of State and authorities warned that illegal dumping cannot continue. New European Union rules allow fines of up to €30,000 per day for rubbish dumped after July 1. It is expected to take about two years to clean up the site. The dump has been described as an 'extensive ecological disaster' by ecology campaigners Archipelagos. They claimed the site poses a 'serious threat to the coastal ecosystems of Andros and the marine ecosystems of the Aegean.'