Welcome to the capital of CycladesSyros, the name comes from the Phoenician word Oswras which means happy
An island, a city, an open museum
The key role of Syros was that which contributed to the emergence of the island as one of the most important ports of the eastern Mediterranean in the 19th century, being the commercial, administrative and cultural center of the Cyclades. Ermoupolis still resembles an open museum, a lively monument of neoclassical architecture with heirlooms and cultural treasures worth to discover. From the medieval city of Ano Syros, the ancient monuments of the Early Cycladic era in Kastri, the Syros-Ermoupolis municipality, the Apollo Theater, which is a miniature of the Scala of Milan, the Orthodox Catholic coexistence, as well as the various Asia Minor touches and Neorion Shipyards, which has been operating since 1861, Syros is a unique place of endless historical tradition and culture.
Syros, an island for all year round holidays
The privileged location of the island, its well-developed tourist infrastructure and its special character makes it an ideal destination for authentic and alternative holidays in the Cyclades. Syros is a pole of attraction all year long, as each season dresses its already majestic scenery with its own colors and aromas, with its own beauties and contrasts, always offering a unique and unforgettable experience for all visitors.
The history of Syros Island
The story of a Lady
Prehistoric finds in the areas of Halandriani, Kastri and ancient Galissos prove that Syros had already been inhabited since the 3rd millennium BC. and had a great commercial activity as evidenced by the first ship with a keel built in the prehistoric settlement of Halandriani in 3000 BC. but also the various findings that indicate the existence of smelters and the relationship of the island with Asia Minor. During the 2nd millennium, Syros is in the possession of Phoenicians, Minoan Crete and Mycenae, and during the first millennium it passes into the hands of the Ionians. From the 7th to the 3rd century BC there are traces of settlements and rural areas in various parts of the island. During the Classical and Hellenistic period Syros is part of the Athenian Alliance with its own currency and administration, while during the Hellenistic period there are exhibits of temples and caves such as that of the philosopher of antiquity Ferecydi between Rimpopo and Plati Vouni in Ano Syros. Cosmicologist Ferekidis was born and died in Syros in the 6th century BC, taught in Samos some of the greatest scholars of ancient times, such as Pythagoras, and is said to have spent most of his life in the cave. The cave is still preserved in an enchanting landscape where earth and sky become one where the view of the sea can only be described as exciting. Beyond a great philosopher, Ferekidis was also the inventor of the first solar clock, also known as Ferekidis’ Sunflower. Apparently the sunflower resembles a shaft or a well that they could use in antiquity to irrigate water. In reality, however, it is an ancient and expensive solar observatory that marks the time and the 4 seasons of Syros depending on the sun’s movement. This prehistoric sunflower is located in the village of San Mihalis. The bronze coins that have been found on the island since Roman times, as well as the cutting of silver coins during the 2nd century BC testify to commercial development but the invasion of the pirates during the Byzantine period causes the island to be abandoned. Subsequently, Syros becomes part of the Aegean theme and under the domination of the Venetians the first Catholic settlement of Ano Syros is created. At the beginning of the 13th century Syros was conquered by the Latins and is now subordinated to the Duchy of Naxos, whose head was the Venetian Marcos Sanoudos. During the Latin period, Ano Syros begins to pulse, the Catholic doctrine becomes accepted and the island passes into a peculiar feudal regime. In the 15th century, the Duchy of the Aegean is now a protectorate of Venice, and in 1537 it passes into the hands of Barbarossa and the Ottoman Empire. During the Ottoman period, Syros is aware of a new era characterized by tax cuts, freedom of religion and the establishment of both Capuchin monks and Jesuits who left their own seal on the island. In 1728 the island was attacked by the plague, which fell back in January 1729 on the eve of Saint Sebastian’s memory, leaving hundreds dead. However, slowly, until the 19th century, economic prosperity is spreading and goes into the development of self-government and the assembly of the public. The population of the island doubles to 4000, while there is great growth in trade and shipping. During the Greek Revolution of 1821 the refugees from Smyrna and Ayvalik, as well as from the surrounding islands, mainly Chios and Psara, find shelter on the island where they build the first houses and the first orthodox temple and so Ermoupolis slowly becomes a city-jewel, with intense lifestyles and architectural grandeur, while commercial activity is growing. With 22,000 inhabitants in 1889, Ermoupoli becomes a superpower city that develops crafts, shipping, building activity, tannery, crops and spiritual freedom by establishing schools, clubs and theaters. The Apollo Theater, the neoclassical buildings, the squares and the churches of the island are beginning to reflect the cultural boom of the growing island. Syros begins to recognize for its great anniversaries, for the first opera, the first commercial court of Greece founded on the island in 1826, the first gymnasium of 1833 founded by Eleftherios Venizelos, the first court of first instance in 1834, the first Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the first shipping company founded in 1857 and the first motorized industries such as textiles and tanneries. However, the cultural boom of the island is slowly beginning to fade. The 20th century begins ugly for the island, as the power that Athens and Piraeus acquire, the opening of the Corinth Canal, the development of steamship and the occupation by the Germans in 1941 gradually bring about complete destruction. The spiritual tradition of the island attracts tourist interest as well as visitors of high educational and social standards. Both impressive mansions and the particular architecture of public buildings give Ermoupolis the feeling of an open museum.
On the fifteenth of August in Kini village, all families decorate the exterior of their homes with fires that have lit up in small tin tins while the children undertake to decorate in the same way the beach and the surrounding terraces.
According to the custom of Clendon on June 24th, all residents in Hroussa gather in a village school, burn fire and burn the early-morning wreaths.
Also known in other parts of the country, the coulouma in Galissas are about the celebration of the Clean Monday, during which the participants participate in the contest for the fly of the kite and continue their day with traditional dance, song and local dishes.
A custom that has been revived since ancient times and involves raising pigs and cutting them to celebrate Christmas. Based on the tradition, no part of the pig was left untapped, but turned into sausages, louis, gilna and sour for the cold winter nights. The choirs, of course, are accompanied by dancing, singing and local dishes.
The Carnival of Syros
The two-day carnival of Syros is one of the most famous carnivals in Greece. A large parade with chariots is held every year, both in Ano Syros and Ermoupolis, and the mood remains elevated throughout the carnival with music, dancing and traditional delicacies.
The devotional atmosphere of the island combined with Orthodox and Catholic coexistence make Easter in Syros a truly unrivaled experience with the passing of the epitaphs by Orthodox people who used to hold hands, dice, sponges and tunics in the hands of Christ, symbolizing the passions of Christ and the crucifixion of the statue of Jesus immediately after the Resurrection by the Catholics.