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Dry Stone walls Andros – Cyclades Islands

Categories/Tags: Utilization of water and wind power; Drystone terracing in agriculture.

Historical context: The tradition of constructing dry stone walls on Andros Island dates back centuries, reflecting the islanders’ deep-rooted connection to the land and their innovative approach to land management. Passed down through generations, this ancient practice continues to shape the island’s cultural identity and environmental sustainability efforts.

Form – main architectural features: Crafted without the use of mortar, Dry Stone walls are meticulously built by stacking stones with precision and care. These walls are not only structurally robust but also visually striking, showcasing the skilled craftsmanship of the island’s inhabitants. Their strategic placement and sturdy design contribute to their effectiveness in land division and erosion control.

Function: Dry Stone walls serve multiple functions, including land division, erosion control, and environmental conservation. Acting as boundaries, these walls delineate different parcels of land, promoting efficient land management practices and minimizing disputes over ownership. Furthermore, they play a vital role in preventing soil erosion, particularly on hilly terrain, by creating terraces and retaining walls that slow down water flow and preserve soil fertility.

Lessons for sustainability: The construction and maintenance of Dry Stone walls offer valuable lessons in sustainability. By utilizing locally sourced materials and traditional building techniques, these walls minimize environmental impact and reduce the carbon footprint associated with importing materials. Their durability and minimal maintenance requirements contribute to long-term environmental conservation efforts and cultural preservation.

Cultural heritage and tourism: As symbols of Greek cultural heritage, Dry Stone walls attract tourists seeking to explore the island’s history and natural beauty. Guided tours and educational programs offer visitors insights into the significance of these ancient structures and their role in shaping the island’s landscape. Through tourism and appreciation, Dry Stone walls continue to play a vital role in promoting cultural awareness and sustainable tourism practices in Andros island.

  • A dried holme bush barrier on a schist wall. (n.d.). Paul Donnelly.

Location: Andros Island, Greece


One Foot Forward Team (2019). Dry Stone walls Andros Cyclades Greek Islands. Retrieved March 3rd, 2024, from

Zagora Archaeological Project. Traditional schist field walls of Andros. Retrieved March 3rd, 2024, from