John Athineos is a unique personality of Andros covered by mystery. He was born in the village of Lamyra in Andros around 1870. In young age he moved to Alexandria where he studied to become a baker. Soon after he opened his store “Patisserie Athineos” that become one of the most famous stores of its kind in Alexandria. He was a savvy businessman, who expanded in other trade activities and eventually became a very wealthy man. His student, Galanos, introduced first in Andros the European style bakery Athineos was known for. This style prevails since then in Andros bakery tradition.
As most wealthy families of Alexandria, Athineos probably spent his summer away from the heat of Egypt, one of the reasons we assume he decided to renovate and expand the family house in the village of Strapouries in Andros. Not much is known about who design the renovation but it seems it was completed around 1910. Eventually the house was a mansion of 800 sqm that included the original family house in the center and European additions around it. The mansion was set at the end of 5 hectares of agricultural land. It was the first privately owned building that had electricity and many other amenities unknown at the time in the island. There are numerous anecdotal stories about his arrival to the island, most related to the fact that several mules and African maids were waiting at the harbor to transport the master’s suitcases to the mansion.
Athineos died suddenly in 1937 in Alexandria. Although his family visited frequently the house in Andros none of them had offsprings. Today the estate belongs to the public sector and has deteriorated significantly.
Photos: N. Vasilopoulos