The hidden treasure in the Cyclades
Andros’ ecosystems form several zones. The river mouths generate valuable habitats for amphibians and special birds. Andros wetlands, rocky beaches and surrounding small islands offer shelter to a great number of rare bird species. The birdlife, with more than 200 bird species, is very important. More about Andros’ protected species can be found at www.androslife.gr
Due to its sharp relief, there are also several local microclimates, playing an important role in the vegetation, the agricultural development and the fauna of the island.
Andros maintains remarkable flora. 19 endemic to the Cyclades and many endemic to Greece. in Andros at least 18 species of orchids appear in spring such as Orchis saccata, Orchis anatolica and plenty of herbs can be observed throughout the year such as oregano, sage, thyme, chamomile, peppermint and so on, used for culinary and medicinal purposes.
Its fauna include badgers, hares, snakes, partridges and weasels
Generally, Andros’ climate is mild Mediterranean, the same as in the rest of the Cyclades.
Another striking feature of Andros is its special and varied architecture. Typical small Aegean houses coexist with wealthy neoclassical buildings, Venetian tower-houses and forts, stone residences, watermills, dovecotes and springs, yielding historic significance and prestige to every corner of the island. Other interesting buildings with special elements are "konakia", "makrynari", small farm houses, springs with characteristic "bousounari" or with a roof. Characteristic elements of andriotic architecture are the visible slate stonework, "sardeloma" (outer plaster), "kanalos" (gutter), "stimata" (vertical slates) in stone-walls, etc.
The special rural architecture completes the unique character of Andros. “Xerolithies” (dry stone-walls) are an integral element of Andros’ cultural heritage. “Xerolithia” is a masonry wall construction technique, where each stone is placed next to or on top of the other, using wedges as connecting material. They are admirable not only for their wild beauty but also for the man’s ability to battle the forces of nature and transform the wild mountain slopes into arable lands through a natural use of the surrounding environment. Keeping nature’s harmony in mind and using the local stone as tool, Andros’ builders created “emasies” or “pezoules” (lit. terraced plots).
Beyond its varried landscape, Andros is also famous for its rich cultural heritage and maritime tradition. A few words about Andros’ culture can be found at http://andros.gr/gr/politismos.html