Bright sky, blue sea, a sunny Greek island.
As the ship approaches Syros any assumption about small blue-and-white houses on a typical Cycladic fishing harbour vanishes; the majestic neoclassical town of Hermoupolis appears, boasting a busy port. As the administrative centre of the Cyclades island complex and 19th century crossroads for international commerce linking West and East, Syros is a fascinating blend of cultures.
The history of the island is so long the beginning of which is lost in the mists of time, with the oldest traces dating back to the late Neolithic era, between 4000 and 3000 BC. Irrefutable evidence are the archaeological site of Chalandriani and the hilltop settlement of Kastri on the north which is considered as the most important fortifying construction of the 3rd millennium BC in the Aegean, with towers and gates. The extent of the settlement, the variety in the plan views of the excavated houses, the findings such as samples of pottery, stone carving, miniature art and metalwork indicate a flourishing society that had developed relations with the coasts of Asia Minor. During the 2nd millennium B.C. the island is found under the rule of the Phoenicians, of Minoan Crete and the Mycenae, while in the beginning of the 1st millennium B.C. was occupied by the Ionians. Throughout the centuries, from Ancient Times to Hellenistic, Roman and Byzantine Times, when Syros became part of The Theme of the Aegean Sea, and the Venetian Rule, when the first Catholic settlement of Ano Syros was created, the island went through ups and downs. In the Ottoman period Syros suffered from repeated pirate invasions. Following an agreement between France and the Ottoman authorities, the island came under the protection of the French, a privilege that was maintained for centuries.
Since Syros had no active part in the Greek War of Independence from the Ottoman rule (1821-1830), the island became the perfect shelter for the Greeks who were persecuted. Therefore hundreds of refugees from Chios, Psara, Kassos, Samos, Rhodes, Hydra and Smyrna found shelter here and built Hermoupolis; a marvel of neoclassical architecture and an economic miracle. Rapidly, in only a few short years, the port of Syros became the centre of trade for Europe and Minor Asia, the first and most important one of the newly founded state of Greece with active economic and cultural life. The intense industrial growth with textile factories, ship yards and tannage was accompanied by the foundation of banks, shipping companies, printing-houses and many more.
The economic prosperity created a powerful urban class who loved the Western European lifestyle. So, they hired the most celebrated architects at the time to built a glorious capital abundant in splendid mansions, marble squares and municipal buildings all masterpieces of Romantic Classicism. The result is a neoclassical European town on an Greek island in the heart of the Aegean Sea.
Today, Syros is the place where the medieval of Ano Syros coexists with the neoclassical magnificence of Hermoupolis. The Greek Orthodox tradition with the Roman Catholic. The countryside in the unique style of Cyclades with the impressive mansions and the modern seaside resorts. The cosmopolitan tourist sites on the southern part of the island with the untamed mountainous beauty in the North.
Here you will discover an island full of history, myths, beautiful sceneries, romantic trails, beaches ideal for sunbathing, sapphire-blue waters to swim or go yachting, enchanted alleys to wander around. Enjoy!