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memories from Syros island

Syros (Greek: Σύρος), 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 (32 sq mi) and it has 32,000 inhabitants today.

The largest towns are Ermoupoli, Ano Syros, and Vari. Ermoupoli 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. The largest villages are Galissas, Finikas, Vari, Mana, Kini and Poseidonia.


Ermoupolis City Hall, designed by Ernst Ziller, with the statue of Andreas Miaoulis (work of Georgios Bonanos).


Ermoupoli, stands on a naturally amphitheatrical site, with neo-classical buildings, old mansions and white houses cascading down to the harbour. The City Hall, where Miaoulis Square lies ringed with cafes and with seating areas under palm trees, has a grandeur[peacock term] all of its own. The "City of Hermes" has numerous churches, the most interesting[peacock term] of which are Metamorphosis, Koimisis, St. Demetrius, Three Hierarchs, Anastasis, Evangelistria and St. Nicolas. The Archaeological Museum has a collection of notable[peacock term] finds and the Municipal Library contains numerous interesting[peacock term] and rare[peacock term] editions. The quarter of the town known as Vaporia, where the sea captains lived, is of special interest[peacock term]. Along its narrow streets, stand numerous neo-classical mansions.


Ano Syros is the second town of Syros and was built by the Venetians at the beginning of the 13th century on the hill of San Giorgio, north-west of Hermoupolis. Ano Syros maintains a medieval atmosphere. Innumerable steps between narrow streets and houses with coloured doors lead to the top of the town. The medieval settlement of Ano Syros is accessible by car; the town is served mostly by marble steps. The distance from the harbour up to the main entry point of the town is approximately 1000 metres. The Catholic basilica of San Giorgio[disambiguation needed] dominates Ano Syros. The church was constructed during the 13th century. From the church of San Giorgio visitors enjoy[peacock term] a panoramic view of the neighbouring islands of Tinos, Delos, Mykonos, Paros, Andros and Naxos.


It was first called Syra, then Syros or Siros, and appears in ancient times to have been inhabited by the Phoenicians. In the Odyssey, Syros was the country of the swineherd Eumaeus who described it at length (Odyssey, XV, 403 sq.). The island was also the home of the philosopher Pherecydes, the teacher of Pythagoras. It possessed two leading cities, Syros (now the modern Ermoupoli) and another city on the western coast where stands to-day Galissas.

The island did not play an important role during antiquity nor the early Christian years[citation needed], it was not even a diocese at a time when even the smallest island possessed its bishop. During Roman times the capital of Syros was situated in the area of contemporary Ermoupoli.


At the end of ancient times, the barbarian raids and piracy, which had surged the Aegean for many centuries, led Syros to decline. The island, along with the other Cyclades, was devastated several times during the Middle Ages by raiders from different directions including Sicilians, Arabs, Turks, and Venetians.

In the Byzantine years Syros constituted part of the Aegean Dominion, along with the rest of the Cycladic islands. After the overthrow of the Byzantium in the Fourth Crusade by the Venetians and Franks in 1204, was definitively conquered by the Venetians under the leadership of Marco Sanudo and would remain under Venetian rule until 1522. It was included in the Ducat of the Aegean.

It was at this time that Ano Syros was founded. During the Latin period, the majority of the local community were Roman Catholics, but maintained the Greek language. During the reign of almost three and a half centuries of the Ducat of the Aegean, Syros had a singular feudal regime.

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Additional Photos by Costantino Topas (COSTANTINO) Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 4495 W: 20 N: 6814] (51974)
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