Syros, or Syra as it used to be called, is the capital of Cyclades. A noble presence, a gem of the Aegean, a town fanning out towards the seashore and climbing up two hills forming two white pyramids. Syros is the first island-city of modern Greece, which, according to scholars, saw an unprecedented flourish in commerce, industry, seafaring, arts and literature. It became known all around Europe as the commercial capital of Greece.
The first image, two hills, two worlds shaped in different periods, two different classes and cultures and two different religious denominations. On the one side, Ano Syra (Upper Syros), the first town, the medieval, catholic town that still today preserves its centuries-long tradition. On the other side, Ermoupolis, the orthodox, neoclassical city that competed in grandeur with big European capitals. Each one has its own charm that beckons you to discover. The Syros of the bourgeois and the nobles of the 19th century and the Ano Syra of the traditional folk neighborhood and birthplace of Frank-Syriot musician of the rebetico music, the legendary Marcos Vamvakaris. Two towns that work as a magnet, enticing you to exploring, recreation and reverie. And the exciting journey in time unfolds.
1822, the birth of a new town, Ermoupolis, in which the mansion Vaporetto is situated, a capital of elegance and nobility. The renowned architecture of Ermoupolis represents the perfect architectural blend of the East and the West. Bavarian, Italian and Greek architects have created masterpieces, representative works of the Neoclassicism and romanticism of the West, fairytale-like monumental pieces of architecture. Vaporetto, an adornment for the town, undeniably witnesses to that golden age.
‘In Syros Greece was reborn’, said Eleftherios Venizelos (7 times Prime Minister of Greece, 1864-1936) at the beginning of the 20th century. This phrase encapsulates it all. Syros may be an “outdoor museum”, nevertheless it has many beautiful beaches to please every taste. Cosmopolitan and organized, secluded spots accessible only by boat or on foot, family-oriented beaches, for younger crowds, with windsurfing facilities, sheltered beaches. Asteria, Agathopes, Megas Gialos, Vari, Finikas, Varvarousa, Kini, Galissas, Komito just to name a few, and many more with crystal-clear turquoise waters.
Syros is the ideal destination for the traveler who desires to have a unique multicultural experience. Wandering about the historical Ermoupoli centre, visitors may choose among classical concerts, opera, theatrical plays, visual arts events, and various festivals. Their steps may lead them to the narrow alleys of the medieval settlement of Ano Syros, where they’ll have the chance to enjoy a unique rebetico music night and conclude their evening in one of the island’s villages where they can dance to traditional and island rhythms and experience some of the local customs.
Discover Syros not only in summertime but also during the catanyctic Holy Week of Easter, which in Syros has distinctive beauty since it is celebrated at the same time from Orthodox and Catholics alike. The Carnival of Syros is also worth visiting as everyone on the island, locals and participants from all around Greece, revel in this great festival of fun.
The list to unique experiences on Syros is endless. It’s a destination enticing you to visit it again and again.