Politismos eMagazine | Touring Syros

Touring Syros, A Cosmopolitan Queen of the Aegean 

Syros and its picturesque port, Ermoupolis combine the dynamic character and the cosmopolitan grace of a queen. The capital of the Cycladic complex, lies in the heart of the Aegean Sea. With a history of more than 5000 years, it bears traits from both its ancient roots and Western European influence.

From the impressive Town Hall in Miaoulis Square, inspired by Ernest Chiller, and the Apollon Theater – a miniature version of La Scala of Milan – the town of Ermoupolis is almost like an open-air museum. Visitors traveling the narrow streets of picturesque neighborhoods will discover images and experiences of a bygone era.

“Back in the 1821, Ermoupolis, which was free from Ottoman oppression, became the refuge of people from Asia Minor, Chios, Psara, Kasos and Crete. All these people with different backgrounds, built the neoclassic city that we all admire today”, says Syros Deputy Mayor, Alexis Athanasiou.

Why Syros?

Syros is incredibly different from the rest of the Cycladic islands. Just a few hours away from Piraeus, it has a general hospital, scrumptious food, organized infrastructure, stunningly beautiful beaches and magical natural scenery.

Kini. Galissas. Phoenix. Dellagrazia. Megalos Gialos. Azolimnos. These are the most popular beaches well visited by tourists. But there are also “virgin” undiscovered beaches in the northwest part of the island, which can be accessed either by boat or trails.

What to visit

Deputy Mayor Athanasiou recommends, “First, you must visit Ermoupolis’ town hall. Built by Ernesto Chiller, it is considered the ‘Parthenon’ of municipality buildings from all over Greece. Be sure to see St. Nicholas Church, the Catholic church of Saint George and the Apollon Theater, which was the eleventh opera house in Europe at the time it was built.”

Visitors will want to see the striking neoclassical buildings scattered in the city, the unique Industrial Museum, and the Markos Vamvakaris Museum.

What to taste

San Michali cheese Loukoumia and halvadopitasSun-dried tomatoes Capers Thyme, anise and aromatic herbs and jams made of local fruit

Cradle of Culture

Syros invites you to a unique culture trip. It is also island that has brought forth many great personalities in Greek history and culture. From antiquity, Pherekcydes, who was a teacher of Pythagoras. And from modern times, Emmanuel Roides, Giorgos Suris, Manos Eleftheriou and Markos Vamvakaris. This year, the Municipality of Syros – Ermoupolis cultural program is dedicated to the great Greek poet and author, Manos Eleftheriou.

Thomais Mendrinou, deputy mayor of cultural affairs, shared with us that “this year’s program includes great music-dance performances, concerts, plays, major exhibitions of great artists, like renowned Greek sculptor Costas Varotsos, important cultural events and more than 10 important festivals, including Animasyros – the International Animation Festival. It includes animated film presentations, educational workshops for all ages, speeches, and opera!”

Syros also hosts the Argentinian Tango Festival, the Guitar Festival, which is the island’s oldest festival and is now in its 24th year.

Worth mentioning is the International Festival of the Aegean, a celebration of opera with performances by leading artists. Greek-American conductor Peter Tiboris founded the annual Festival in 2005. Now entering its 12th season, the Festival attracts world-class musicians, dancers, and actors from dozens of countries, turning Syros into a summer destination for art lovers from around the world.

“It would be an omission not to mention the Rempetiko Festival, entitled The Syrah of Markos Vamvakaris. Last year’s successful inaugural event dictated its establishment in the island’s cultural affairs. The festival is a commemoration of the life and work of the great and pioneering folk composer Markos Vamvakaris, a native of Syros, while also highlighting our musical tradition both in Greece and abroad”, according to Mendrinou.

In autumn, the island hosts a jazz festival at the Apollon Theater, an effort to extend the island’s tourist season. There are also many athletic events in Syros each June, including the Syros triathlon with over 2500 athletes visiting this island! Syros Run, Hellas Cup, a synchronized swimming and basketball, and the LG Aegean Ball Festival championship are also held on the island.

Mendrinou invites tourist to “Join us for a unique cultural excursion, an exceptional multicultural experience! From the medieval Ano Syros with picturesque alleys to the neoclassical Ermoupolis and villages of Cycladic tradition!”

Syros festivals

See the full cultural program here. 

How to get to Syros

Ermoupolis is connected daily with the port of Piraeus.

You can also fly to Mykonos and take the boat to Syros.

15 Jul 2017, by Nektaria Karakosta in Travelx