History

Syros (or Siros or Syra) is a Greek island in the Cyclades, in the Aegean Sea. It is located 78 nautical miles (144 km) south-east of Athens. The area of the island is 83.6 km2 and it has 21,507 inhabitants. The largest towns are Hermoupolis and Ano Syros. Hermoupolis is the capital of the island and of the Cyclades. It has always been a significant port town, and during the 19th century it was even more significant than Piraeus.

Ano Syros was founded in 1200 by the Venetians and continued to be 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.

Home of the philosopher Pherecydes, Ano Syros was and remains a city with distinct character and identity, a city telling a story through its monuments and historic buildings, through the Historical Archive of Ano Syros, the Exhibition of Traditional Professions and other points of interest such as the bust of the national hero, Don Ioanni Dalezio and the spring of Agios Athanasios. A city with a catholic identity unfolding through the Jesuits and Capuchins monasteries, the Church of Virgin Mary of Karmilou and other Catholic churches.

By 2010 Ano Syros was the capital of the municipality while today constitutes the island’s historic base offering a plethora of tourist facilities, restaurants, taverns, cultural landmarks and attractions including the old Castle gate leading to the old town, the bust of the great traditional singer Markos Vamvakaris and the Town Hall. Ano Syros is just 3.5 km away from the port of Ermoupolis, a distance worth covering on foot.

 

Highlights

  • Historical Archive of Ano Syros
  • The Exhibition of Traditional Professions
  • The Museum of Markos Vamvakaris
  • The Piazza
  • The Catholic Church Saint George
  • The monasteries of Jesuits and Capuchins
  • The Church of Viring Mary of Karmilou
  • The Spring of Agios Athanasios.