"The Cyclades...have a dazzling whiteness that is convincingly underlined by the glaucoma of the innumerable laughter of the waves; it is a sonata in white major." as the ancient tragic poet Aeschylus stated. Syros Island stands in the center of the Cyclades, amongst the winter winds, the surge of the sea and the summer breeze of Aegean…It is the capital and the heart of the Cyclades but it looks so different from its neighboring islands maybe because it has a fatal past and many contrasts…Syros is one of the most impressive islands of the Cyclades, with a rich history and unique sightseeing. It stands out for its cosmopolitan atmosphere, its stunning architecture and its beautiful beaches.
It was at the beginning of the 19th century, when Ermoupolis, the largest city and the capital of the Cycladic islands, was born. It is a colorful, glamorous city, with a special nobility and great tradition, amphitheatrically built tumbling down the hill of Dili to the sea front. It is a town that climbs two hills and marks two towns, two worlds and two societies. Ano Syra is the medieval town, a town without noises and exhaust fumes, lying on the higher hill and crowned with the 13th century Catholic cathedral of St. George. The second hilltop is crowned with a church that is Greek Orthodox. The narrow streets and the countless stairs serve just its people, people whose hearts are still warm as they have learned to live closely to one another. Ermoupolis did not exist before the Greek liberation from the Othomanic Empire; it was created by refuges, a swarm of hunted but ambitious people who were able to house their dreams and transform the town into a main trading center of the eastern Mediterranean and into one of the most important intellectual centers of modern Greece with its port being one of the largest in the Aegean.
Syros though is not just the two towns Ano Syra and Ermoupolis. It is the country side, the small sea side villages that extend to the few plains, the steep rocks, striped by the action of the wind and the saltiness of the sea, the beautiful beaches, the old stoned walls at the side of the steep mountains made by the island people with a lot of effort to hold the soil to cultivate their land and make a living for their families. It is also the small white churches catholic or orthodox on every hill, in every cavity of the rocks, and light, never-ending light, blinding and clear underlining the color of the “uncounted laughter of the waves”…The most popular beaches in Syros are located on the southern side of the island and accessible by car. Some of them are sandy and others are pebbled, but they all have crystal blue waters. The most organized Syros beaches are Vari, Galissas, Foinikas, Megas Gialos, Kini and Poseidonia, lined up with family hotels, seaside taverns and beach bars. Syros beaches can be accessed by bus or by taxi from Ermoupolis. We must also mention the gastronomic treasures of the island, the local delicacies and the traditional products of Syros, such as Syrian loukoumia and halva pies, macaroons and handmade pastel, thyme honey, capers, crushed olives with fennel, marmalades made with fresh seasonal fruits, handmade Italian ice cream, pasta, but also cheeses, such as the famous San Michalis cheese.
There are many monuments and sightseeing in the island that you should definitely visit:
- Archaeological Museum of Ermoupolis
- Ermoupolis Industrial Museum
- Markos Vamvakaris Museum: Photographs and personal items of this great rebetis illuminate lesser-known aspects of his life and art.
- Kastri Archaeological Site
- Apollo Theater: Designed by an Italian architect on the model of La Scala in Milan, it is a building of incomparable beauty. It was built in 1864 and is a true architectural gem of Ermoupolis.
- Miaouli Square: The majestic square in the heart of Ermoupolis will take you to other times with the wonderful architecture of its buildings.
- Ermoupolis City Hall: A building of the 19th century, one of the largest town halls in Greece, will impress you with its majestic staircase at the entrance and its imposing and special architecture, which is inspired by three different rhythms.
- The aristocratic neighborhood of Vaporia (with the graphic mansions of the ship-owners)
Cycladic minimalism, medieval grandeur, orthodox and catholic elements, rocky hills and small fishing villages; this is the multidimensional Syros, an island for all seasons, an exuberant destination of the Aegean with a unique blend of contrasts fitting to all tastes! It is worth visiting!
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