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TOP 9 THINGS TO DO IN SYROS, GREECE
Syros is a beautiful island, a gem in the Aegean Sea, a beautiful blend of a historical past and a vibrant present. Either in the summertime or in the winter, visitors are lured by the clear blue waters, the beautiful sandy beaches, the culture and the extreme scenery and they share unforgettable experiences throughout the year!
1. The Town Hall, Hermoupolis - The Town Hall of Ermoupolis on Miaouli square is one of the largest and most impressive Town Halls in Greece. Built in 1876 under the supervision of Ernst Ziller, this unique building is inspired by 3 different architectural styles. The Tuscan style featured on the 1st floor with the imposing staircase of 15.5 meters width, the Ionic style found on the 2nd floor and the Corinthian that can be observed in the towers. The Town Hall also features a marble pediment dedicated to D. Bafiadakis. Other noteworthy elements of the Town Hall are the hanging ladder at the entrance, the bust of D. Bafiadakis, the boardroom and the portraits of former mayors. The Town Hall now houses the courts, the land registry, the Archaeological Museum and various other public bodies and municipal services.
2. Historic Theatre Apollon – It constitutes an emblem of the island’s cultural heritage. Created in 1864 by the Italian architect Pietro Sampo who was inspired by 4 stunning Italian standards including the Scala di Milano, the theater Apollon adorns the heart of the capital to this day. It hosts some of the most important cultural events, operas and amazing theatrical works from local and international theatrical troupes. The Apollon Theater also houses the Theater Museum known as “the memory place” which was founded in 2002 and hosts findings from local and other artists who played an important role in the history of this monumental theater, a theater being the ultimate alternative for entertainment and unrivaled amusement on the island.
3. Saint Nicholas Cathedral - The Orthodox Cathedral of St. Nicholas is a magnificent Byzantine Church near Miaouli square that began to be constructed in 1848 according to the designs of G. Metaxas and the consent of King Otto. The church was finally completed in 1870. Saint Nicholas, patron saint of Hermoupolis, stands out for its lavish interiors and impressive architectural structure, the icon of St. Nicholas that was silver-plated in Moscow, the despotic marble throne, the pulpit and the marble iconostasis that was designed by George Vitali. This is a two-storied monumental temple with marble bell towers, an imposing marble staircase and marble propylaeums, ionic columns, archaic motifs, arcades, sculptured decorations, grey-blue slates and a unique iconostasis definitely worth seeing. The church’s icons were created by some of the best hagiographers of the time while many Greeks from abroad as well as ship-owners helped for the construction of the temple.
4. Vaporia neighborhood, Hermoupolis – The upper class families of the past built in this neighborhood some unique high-ceiling mansions by the sea, with striking paintings, woodcut doors, marble balconies, wooden floors and unparalleled details. Since the 19th century the district’s been named after this incredible boat-habitats known as Vaporia that seem to hover above the rocks and continues to be renowned as the most prestigious district in the eastern part of Syros. This is a beautiful and picturesque area with a small beach called “stars” suitable for swimming and relaxation in the summertime.
5. Ano Syros - Founded in 1200 by the Venetians, Ano Syros is still inhabited throughout the course of history while maintaining its Catholic and medieval character. A city characterized by countless steps that pass by the white houses and arches at the edge of the hill leading to the top of the village where the Catholic Cathedral of Saint George is situated.
The town was created gradually, amphitheatrically on the rocks like a natural fortress so as to keep its residents safe from several attacks while the exterior walls of all houses formed a natural fort protecting the locals from the raids. The narrow cobblestone streets gave residents the opportunity to hide from the various pirate attacks while the wooden doors in the entrances of Portara, Epano & Kato Terma, Skalakia and Sabastias completely sealed the city from any invasion.
Today it constitutes the island’s historic base offering a plethora of tourist facilities, restaurants, taverns, cultural landmarks and attractions.
6. The Assumption of the Virgin, Orthodox Church - The assumption is the second oldest church on the island and was built behind the harbor in 1828. It is a three-aisled Basilica with impressive architecture and decoration. The Interior is adorned with elements from wood and marble while the domes create a wooden frame that looks like an overturned boat. What stands out is the authentic icon of the assumption from 1562 painted by Dominikos Theotokopoulos (El Greco), making the Church one of the most important sights on the island.
7. Tsiropina Mansion - Villa Tsiropina is a true artwork curated by an architect from Burgundy. A stunning Villa in Poseidonia with reception areas, lounges, dining rooms, fireplaces, bedrooms, storage rooms, kitchen areas and unique frescoes. The Villa is embraced by fragrant gardens and some auxiliary buildings that were mostly used for the parking of wagons at the time.
Today, Villa Tsiropina is a cultural multi-space that houses several municipal services of Syros-Ermoupolis while occasionally is hosting exhibitions, theatre performances, lectures, conferences and other cultural events.
8. Industrial Museum - Founded in 2000 by the Center of Technical Culture, it is housed in 4 industrial buildings of the 19th century, the Kornilaki Tannery , the Skagiopoieio Anairoysi, the Velissaropoulou weaving mill, the Katsimanti paint factory opposite to the General Hospital of Syros. The Museum hosts a collection of tools, equipment and machinery from the Golden industrial era from loukoumi workshops, to textile, tanning, printing, machinist’s craftsmanship and glass workshops as well as a digital audio and visual archives with testimonies from former workers, maps and plans, a three-dimensional representation of industrial buildings and artifacts from the wreck of the Patrice steamship. Among the exhibits one can also see the first legendary electric car Enfield 8000 constructed in Greece.
9. Saint Stefanos Chapel - A beautiful and picturesque chapel in the area of Galissas, built among the rocks. The chapel was built by a fisherman who was saved from the tentacles of a large Octopus after praying to the Saint to help him. It is situated 15 minutes from the main beach, from where a small path leads to the chapel. The chapel can also be reached by boat. Saint Stefanos is celebrated twice a year, on 19 August and on 26 December. Hordes of people visit the chapel to attend the liturgy. Following the liturgy all pilgrims are offered “loukoumi” the sweet local delights as well as mastic from Chios.
In addition to the historical, cultural and nautical heritage that Syros is well known for it is also an island of great archaeological wealth worth discovering.
The ancient city of Galissos is an important archaeological site located near the homonymous beach. On the hill of Agia Pakous a prehistoric fortified settlement has been discovered from which some remains of buildings, a tower of the 4thcentury, a cemetery and a sanctuary survive to the day. Based on the excavations it seems that this ancient settlement was first inhabited in the 8th-7th century BC and today it has become one of the most favorite tourist destinations.
Grammata. At this point, sailors used to moor their vessels when the weather did not allow them to continue their journey. During such moments they prayed to the gods either to thank them for being rescued from the bad weather, or to plead to them to safely continue their travels. They used to smoothly carve their prayers on the cliffs of the coast while waiting for the right weather conditions that would allow them to take off once again. For this reason the cove was named “Grammata” meaning letters. According to archaeologists the inscriptions date back all the way from the classical antiquity and up to the middle ages.
Chalandriani is located 9.5 kilometers away from Ermoupolis, on the northeast side of the island and it is one of the most important archaeological sites within the Cyclades as a prehistoric acropolis dating back to the 3rd millennium BC has been discovered in the area after excavations conducted by Christos Tsountas in the late 19th century.
Kastri. At a distance of about 45 minutes from Chalandriani a prehistoric settlement from the later years of the Early Cycladic period II has been discovered covering an area of 3.5 to 5 acres. In this area the excavations brought to light a graveyard with about 600 tombs as well as ruins of inestimable value that indicate that ceramic, stone and metalwork has been developed in the area. The two archaeological sites Chalandriani & Kastri are linked with a long and rough path that is definitely worth the while as it leads into the depths of history.
On the road to Ano Syros and shortly after the rural settlement of Kyperoussa one can find the cave of Pherecydes. To reach the cave he must follow a small dirt road that slowly begins to go downhill leading visitors to a magnificent land nuzzled between the earth, the sky and the blue horizon. That’s where the cave where the poet and philosopher Pherecydes used to reside during the cold winter months in the 6th century BC.
Syros is an island famous both for its blooming culture as well as its long history. A history unfolding from ancient times and slowly passing through the industrial heritage, the ecclesiastical Orthodox and Catholic tradition and all the way to the tunes of “rebetika”. A story that is coming alive through the exceptional exhibits in all museums found on the island.
Archaeological museum of Syros, Emmanuel Benakis, Ermoupolis, tel. +30 22810-88487. Working Hours: During Summer until 31st of October, daily from 08:00 – 20:00.
Traditional Professions’ Exhibition, Don Ioannou Stefanou in Ano Syros. Working hours: Monday – Friday 10:00-14:00 and 19:00-22:00 and Saturday – Sunday 12:30 -18:30
Ecclesiastical Museum of Ermoupolis, Offices of the Metropolis Church of Agios Nikolaos, tel. +30 22810 82582 (ext. 101)
Museum of Cycladic Art, Miaouli square, Ermoupolis, tel.+30 22813 61064. Working hours: Tuesday – Friday 10:00 15:00 and Saturday 10:00-15:00
Markos Vamvakaris Museum, Ano Syros. Working hours: Saturday – Sunday From 12:30 to 18:30
The beaches of the island are some of the nicest beaches of the Cyclades meeting the tastes and preferences of all travelers. Most of the beaches of Syros are located near the most picturesque settlements and the most popular attractions of Syros enabling travelers to combine a relaxing stroll with a refreshing swim in the clear blue waters of the Aegean Sea.
On the South side of the island travelers can locate some of the best beaches of Syros favored by most visitors. These beaches such as Vari, Azolimnos, Foinikas, Megas Gialos and Agathopes are fully organized, easily accessible and offer excellent choices of accommodation.
When heading along the western coastline towards the northern part of the island travelers can slowly make out two of the most stunning resorts of Syros on the beaches of Galissas and Kini while if heading to Apano Meria one can feel the difference at once, as the beaches of Syros in the northern part such as Grammata, Gria Spilia, Aetos, Varvarous and Lia look as if they have been enlivened from old photos.
Syros is an island with rich history, culture and civilization as well as numerous landmarks under the sea worth discovering. The underwater scenery of the island consists of intense undersea life, shipwrecks, reefs and caves that will surely impress all maritime enthusiasts. The island has three diving schools for beginners and advanced divers as well as sailing equipment thus enabling everyone to travel to the magical world of the deep blue sea.
The Syros Island Yacht Club in conjunction with the municipality and other clubs enables all guests to enjoy unique experiences trying out their skills in a variety of sports and water sports such as: Canoe-Kayak, Beach Volley, Tennis, Swimming, Windsurfing, Water Skiing, Sailing
Syros’s gastronomy has been greatly influenced by different conquerors and refugees who have left their own culinary stamp through time. With spicy flavours from Asia Minor and the Levant, with velvety notes from the Venetians and traditional aromas from Chios and other North Aegean Islands, Syros has created its own unique cuisine.
An authentic cuisine with a particular culture, consisting of excellent quality and traditional products. The development of gastronomic tourism is a key factor for the overall development of the island and in this context, Syros makes all the appropriate actions to promote its local cuisine and local products, by organizing a series of culinary events.
•The feast of Trata in Kini
•The feast of Kakavia in late August in Phinikas with plenty of wine, music and dancing.
•The Tsipourovradia in Ano Syros
•The Loykoumi Festival
The Hiking Team of Syros (http://www.hikingteam.gr) allows travelers to discover beautiful hidden secrets of the island in the most delightful way.
For exercise enthusiasts biking is an ideal choice for inland transportation. One can rent a bicycle of their own choosing from various shops and explore the beauties of the island in the most convenient and enjoyable way.
The Cyclades Equestrian Club, (http://www.cycladesridingfclub.gr) in Livadia Manna, Syros, invites travelers to the most scenic trails of the island so as to enjoy the most relaxing riding in nature.
From the port of Syros one can rent a boat and visit the nearby islets Didimi and Aspro as well as the most rugged beaches. Boats can be rented from the picturesque Kini with the aid of a travel agency, on the island.
Syros is a favorite destination for fishing enthusiasts as it offers many fishing spots with great variety of fish depending on the season.