Print this page

In Hora, On Foot

AndrosIn Hora, On Foot

In Hora proper, is a newly-restored neo-classical-mansion-turned-hotel called the Archontiko Eleni Hotel (Tel 22820 23471, 22270; Fax 22820 22294; ), run by Ioannis and Eleni Koutsoukou. Originally built by Alexandros L. Embiricos in the 19th century, this lovely structure has metamorphosed over time, its most recent incarnation being the town’s Lyceum. There are eight rooms, all furnished with antiques and all with double beds. Here, you have the benefit of being right on Hora’s main, downtown street, in the busy middle of things.

Archontiko Eleni Hotel, Hora

Arched Bridge and Kato Kastro

In Hora, on foot—leave your car outside the town—you have two days of sights and sites ahead of you. Here are the ruins of the Venetian fortress-palace, called Kato Kastro, the Maritime Museum and, adjacent it, Michael Tombros’s monumental but bland statue in honor of the Unknown Mariner. The maze of streets that comprise the Kato Kastro district of Hora, the medieval city and the 18th- and 19th-century mansions of the Riva district, are all situated on a narrow, rocky peninsula between the twin anchorages of Paraporti and Nimborio bays, with their sandy, if exposed, beaches. In Hora, too, is the exquisitely organized Archaeological Museum of Andros (Tel 22820 23664; 8:30 till 3; closed Monday; Entrance 3 euros). There are models and dioramas of the settlement and sanctuary of Zagora which give you some idea of life on Iron Age Andros. There is also, here, the Statue of Hermes, found in Paleopolis in 1833 , a 1st-century-AD Roman copy of a late-4th-century-BC original by Praxiteles. Another beautiful Roman copy of a 2ndcentury-BC Greek original is the Torso of Artemis. I also find the 9th-10th-century Byzantine lion and 18th-century eagle charming, if cruder, examples of Andriot sculpture.

The Unknown Mariner, Hora

Torso of Artemis

Nearby is another fabulous museum, where I saw the exhibition “Picasso and Greece” in 2004. The Basil and Elise Goulandris Foundation’s Museum of “Synchronis Technis,” Modern Art (22820 22444; Fax 22820 22490; hours change seasonally) is split between two locations on a quiet Hora sidestreet. The permanent collection comprises works by important Greek artists of the 20th century; several rooms are devoted to the sculpture of Michael Tombros (1889-1976), whose powerful work should not be missed. The new wing is home to magnificent traveling exhibitions, open late June till September (check ahead for exact dates). Exhibitions I have seen in the past here have featured the work of Matisse, Giacometti, Henry Moore and Picasso, and it is very hard to believe that exhibitions of such stature are mounted, if only for a few months, on a small island of some 10,000 souls.

Picasso and Greece Exhibition

Private, patrician Andros