Syros is an island in the Cyclades group in the Aegean Sea. The largest towns of the island are Vari, Ao Syros, and Ermoupoli. Ermoupoli is the capital of the island as well as the capital of the Cyclades.
Kastri was one of the earliest settlements on the island of Syros. It dates back to 2800 – 2300 BC. The settlement was protected stone walls with bastions. Located south of Kastri is Chalandriani, an early Bronze Age cemetery, which is dated to the Early Cycladic II period. Chalandriani was first excavated in 1898. It is thought the fortified town was home to approximately 300 people.
The island of Syros did not play any major role during antiquity or the early Christian years. The island was home to philosopher Pherecydes, who was the teacher of Pythagoras. The island had two leading cities during antiquity: Syros (which is now called Ermoupoli) and Galessus, an ancient city.
During the Middle Ages, Ano Syros was founded. During the Latin period, the majority of the community was Roman Catholic, but the Greek language would be maintained. In 1522, the cosair Barbarossa took possession of the island. The island would become known as “Sire” during the Ottoman rule. Negotiations between local authorities and the Ottomans would result in special privileges for the Cyclades including religious freedom and reduced taxes.
In 1827, the island of Syros become part of the newly established First Hellenic Republic and then in 1834, the Greek Kingdom. Buildings would begin to be built in 1822 and the first Orthodox Church was constructed in 1824. The island would have a commercial court of law, a post office, a library, a social club, and a museum. In 1854, cholera and other epidemics would create the need for orphanages, poor houses, and a mental hospital.
Administrative Region for Syros Island, Greece
Area of Syros Island, Greece
101.9 km2 (39.3 sq mi)
Population of Syros Island, Greece
Top Attractions in Syros Island, Greece
Church of Resurrection – Located in Ermoupolis. This church was built in 1870. On Vrodado Hill, so you will have a great view of Tinos and Mykonos.
Apollo Theatre – Located on Miaouli Square in Ermoupolis. Theatre was constructed in 1864. Hosts performances, exhibitions, and lectures regularly.
Capuchin Monastery – Founded in 1525 to help the poor. This monastery is located near the cathedral of Agios Georgios. It now houses icons, ancient inscriptions, objects of worship, and a library of 6,000 manuscripts and old books.
Galissas Beach – 9 km southwest of Ermoupolis. A family friendly beach with a sandy shore and shallow water. Beach is partly organized with water sports and beach bars lining the coast.
Finikas Beach – 11 km southwest of Ermoupolis. This is the second largest beach on the island. It is partly organized and family friendly.
Vamvakaris Museum – Located in Ano Syros. Museum is dedicated to Markos Vamvakaris a famous rembetiko musician born there. Personal items and photographs are displayed.
Industrial Museum – Located in Ermoupolis. This museum is housed in three old factories. Features are old machinery and tools as well as maps and ship models.
Church of Agios Nikolaos – Located in Ermoupolis. This church is located close to the port. The church was built in the 19th century and features two tall bell towers.
Azolimnos Beach – 5 km southeast of Ermoupolis. A family friendly and partly organized beach. Close by are fish taverns, beach bars, and hotels.
Ermoupolis City Hall – A neoclassical building designed by Ernst Ziller. Construction was completed in 1898. The central part of the building is made of marble and features a marble ladder that leads to the first floor.