You are standing at the end of the peninsula where the heliport of the island is located. Chora spreads out in front of you and all of its secrets are revealed from this point. Tourlitis lighthouse has been standing tall at the entrance of the port since 1887. You will see Paraportiani and Nimporio right after it. At the edge of a densely built up strip of land full of large captains’ and shipping magnates’ houses, you will make out the Kastro fortress opposite Rivas Square, where a statue dedicated to the Unknown Sailor is located. The Kastro was blown up in 1943. Thus, only some ruins from its towers, battlements and Venetian coats of arms are still preserved. However, the view of this maritime town stretching right in front of you as you cross the stone bridge to the other side remains etched in memory.
Take a stroll around Chora starting from Georgiou Embirikou Street, the market street that is full of shops, cafés, pastry shops and restaurants. The famous Andrian Club, which began to operate as a meeting place in 1925 and is the oldest one in Greece, is located at the beginning of the pedestrian street.
As you walk on the marble-paved street, you will see a column dedicated to the Fallen Heroes of Andros at the Girokomeiou (or Vasili Goulandri) Square on your right. The impressive retirement home building (1894) stands tall in the background. Then, you will pass by the cross-in-square church of the Assumption of Mary before you reach the heart of the settlement, where Kairi Square with the marble wall fountain of Kambanis (1818) and the bust of Theofilos Kairis (1912) is located. The coffee shops and ouzerias under the plane trees and the restaurants, as well as the Archaeological Museum and the Goulandris Museum of Contemporary Art attract many visitors.
The so-called “Porta” is a gate to Chora’s past, to the old part of the town that is of particular architectural interest. The steps on the right side of Kairi Square lead to Paraportiani with its long beach. Paraporti (which means side door) was named after the small door next to the Porta that sealed the exit towards it. You will find the house where Theofilos Kairis lived, the Cathedral of Agios Georgios (17th century) and the church of Panagia Theoskepasti in this neighborhood.
Climb down the steps next to the Archaeological Museum, pass by the Goulandris Museum of Contemporary Art and head towards Plakoura, where the docks and the small church of Agia Thalassini are located. From there you can continue towards Nimporio (or Neimporio). The pier of the famous Yacht Club stands out. Its construction was financed by shipping magnates and sailors who wanted to offer the young men of Andros the chance to learn how to sail and row. The club opened in 1957.
The Kidonieos Foundation is also worth mentioning.
TO THE UNKNOWN SAILOR
Set off from Kairi Square and walk through the Porta. Then, take a stroll through the old neighborhoods of Chora until you reach Rivas Square, where the distinctive bronze statue of the Unknown Sailor is located. The statue was created by the sculptor Mihail Tombros. On your way there, you will pass by the church of Agia Varvara, the winter movie theatre, the Maritime Museum and dozens of mansions with neoclassical influences and well-maintained gardens.
Kamara, the arch bridge connecting the square to a Venetian castle on a barren islet, is located below the square. It was built during the Dandolo dynasty period (1207-1233). The castle was blown up in 1943 and only a few ruins still exist.