The castle of Chora
The castle of Andros Town was one of the most important castles in the Aegean sea. Today, although it remains one of the most important sights of the island, but it is largely damaged.
Location & strategic importance:
The castle was built on the eastern side of Andros, where Chora is today. The main castle was on the islet, while on the peninsula was the fortified medieval settlement, where the old town of Andros emerged after “Oksoporta”. At the edge of the peninsula there is today a large square with the statue of Afanis Nautis (unknown sailor), which was built by the sculptor Michael Tompros. The islet is separated from the Chora peninsula with a narrow strip of sea, 2-3 meters wide and communicates with the land with a stone bridge – the arch. In the beginning the castle was linked to the land with a mobile bridge. The site offered a natural fortification as it was enclosed by the sea on the three sides and only the west part connected with the land.
The name of the Castle:
The name of the castle is “Kato Kastro” which means “Lower Castle”, obviously opposed to the “Upper Castle” of Andros (or the Castle of Faneromeni). It must be clarified that “Kato Kastro” is the whole castle of Andros Country, that was on the peninsula (with the sailor’s statue) along with the section that is on the islet (and not just the castle on the islet). It is also referred to as “Mesa Castro” – Inside Castle, a name that also causes confusion, but seems to be more relevant to the “continental” part of the castle (or what is left of it).
Just after the fall of 1204, the predatory moods of the Latin conquerors turned to other parts of the collapsing Byzantine Empire. Andros was captured by the Venetians in 1207, headed by Marino Dandolo, also known as Tartalos. The Venetians built three castles in Andros: Kato Kastro, Pano Castro (or Faneromeni) and the Castle of Makrotantalos (or Oostodias) at the northern edge of the island. The most important of these is the Lower Castle of Chora. The Lower Castle was built by Marina Dandolo shortly after the arrival of the Venetians. Soon, a medieval settlement was built inside the castle, which, over time, was experiencing a commercial and economic boom. The settlement was developed in the peninsula, while on the island remained the citadel of the castle and the seat of the Venetian administration. The Venetians stayed in Andros until 1566 when they were defeated by the Ottomans. Since then, the section on the island became obsolete. The towers and barracks of the castle, as well as the coats of arms of the Venetian rulers, were well preserved until the Second World War. In 1943, after the fierce bombing of the Germans, the castle was destroyed. Today, one can only see its ruins.