Syros Sightseeing

General Info
Syros is not just another beautiful island, but an island with a vibrant culture and a strong passion for arts. Therefore, visitors should not neglect visiting museums and galleries, but should also relish walking around picturesque streets of traditional villages, and exploring gorgeous beaches and impressive caves.

Orthodox Church of the Transfiguration of Jesus
Syros has many churches, both Catholic and Orthodox. Among them, the most impressive is the Orthodox Church of the Transfiguration of Jesus, which is the island’s metropolis. It is a basilica aisle with a dome and was built in 1824, which makes it the oldest Orthodox Church on the island. 

Assumption of the Virgin Mary Church
Another historic Orthodox Church is the one of the Assumption of Virgin Mary, again in Ermoupolis, which is the second oldest church after the aforementioned and it was built in 1828-1829. Here visitors may admire a unique Orthodox image of Virgin Mary created by Dominikos Theotokopoulos (El Greco).

Other remarkable Orthodox churches

Moreover, the Church of the Resurrection on the hill of Deli in Ermoupoli is worth visiting, since it has an interesting architecture and was built between 1879 and 1909. The Church of Saint Nicholas in Vaporia concludes the list of Orthodox Churches in Ermoupoli that should not be missed; this church is among the five biggest churches in Greece and was being built for more than 60 years, whereas in its yard there is the Monument of the Unburied Fighter, dedicated to Greek fighters lost during the 1821 revolution. This is a sculpture created by the Tinian G. Vitalis.

Outside Ermoupoli travelers should definitely visit the Church of Prophet Elias in Episkopio, which is the church where the famous Greek author Elias Venezis was married, and the Monastery of Saint Barbara at Kini, where the nuns create textiles and embroideries in the traditional way, using a loom. In Ano Syros the only Orthodox Churches are the ones of Holy Trinity and the historic Church of Saint Nicholas the Poor, which was the only parish for Orthodox Christians when Catholics came to the island.

Catholic Churches
Among the most important catholic churches are the Church of Evangelistria in Ermoupoli built in the 19th century, the Church of Saint George in Ano Syros renovated in 1834 on an initial building of the 12th century, the Church of Saint Peter in Poseidonia and the Catholic chapels of Saint Pakou and Saint Stephen in Galissas, which offer a unique view to the visitors. In Ano Syros there is also the Abbey of Capuchins with the Catholic Church of Saint John built in 1635 and the Abbey of Jesuites with the Church of Virgin Mary of Karmilos that houses a large library with historic documents and manuscripts.

Archaeological Museum of Syros

The Archaeological Museum of Syros (“Pankykladiko”) was founded in Ermoupoli in 1834-1835 and comprises of four halls in the famous Town Hall of Ermoupoli. The Museum houses archaeological findings from Syros and the other Cycladic Islands, starting from the 3rd millennium B.C. till the Hellenistic period. There is also an exhibition devoted to the archaeologist Christos Tsountas, who led the excavations in the Cycladic Islands in the 19th century.

Industrial Museum of Ermoupolis
This is another interesting museum, which hosts a rare collection of old machinery from the industries of Syros and an important record of oral testimony concerning the era of industrial development of the island. Among the most impressive exhibits is a large paddle wheel in the Museum’s yard, which was part of the historic Greek ship “Patris”. Visitors may also admire various objects related to shipping, machines’ accessories and even paintings related to the industrial era. Last but not least, the museum’s library is comprised of 400 technical books and the same number of industrial designs.

Gallery of the Cyclades
The Gallery of the Cyclades is located in the old building of the Transit Warehouses of Ermoupoli, built in 1834-1839 and designed by the Bavarian architect Erlacher. The Gallery houses important paintings, but also organizes art exhibitions and has an active theater.

Replicas Museum of Cycladic Art
The Replicas Museum of Cycladic Art, which is situated inside the Town Hall in Ermoupoli, hosts replicas of Cycladic objects that are exhibited in the Goulandris Museum of Cycladic Art in Athens. The Museum organized educational programs for children and adults, in order to present in an understandable way the Cycladic Culture of the 3rd millennium B.C.

Ecclesiastical Museum of Ermoupoli
The Ecclesiastical Museum of Ermoupoli was founded in 1984 and gathered objects from all the Cycladic Islands, including sacred vessels, vestments, books and Images. In 2011 the Museum was moved in the Metropolitan headquarters and entrance to the Museum is free of charge.

Various other museums

Syros is an island of culture and artistic expressions. As such, it could not but have a plethora of museums and galleries, which organize interesting events and impress their numerous visitors from all over the world.

The Museum of Ano Syros is a museum of folk life that houses a large collection of tools and objects of the everyday life of the Syriots through the centuries.

The Markos Vamvakaris Museum in Ano Syros is truly a treasure for the island; the Museum building is actually the house where this unique musician of “rebetiko” music lived and composed his amazing work. The building was renovated in 1995 and visitors may admire his personal objects, including clothes, his passport, manuscripts with lyrics and plenty of photographs.

Finally, the Cultural Center of the Municipality of Syros hosts art exhibitions and organizes various events all year long. It also houses the Municipal Library.

Ermoupoli: Syros' Capital
Although the island’s capital Ermoupoli is rather a town than a village with a population of 12,000 people, it deserves to be presented as a place to visit. This wonderful insular city devoted to Ermis, the ancient god of commerce, has it all: a magnificent Town Hall situated on a great square, Miaouli Square, similar to the squares of the modern European cities; a Municipal Library with about  35,000 books; an old aristocrats’ district, Vaporia, with neoclassical houses of unique architecture; the amazing Apollo Theater, a theater with a great history which was designed by Pietro Sampo in 1864 and has been totally renovated; numerous museums and galleries; shops and a vibrant nightlife; splendid beaches next to the city center; various accommodation choices; the first high school ever established in modern Greece, which was established in 1833 and among its students were former prime ministers, famous artists and important personalities in the Greek history; a historic shipyard, Neorio, with a separate part for the construction and repair of wooden ships; and last but not least, a hospital, a port and an airport. What more can visitors ask for?

Ano Syros

At about 3.5 km. from Ermoupoli, there is the medieval village of Ano Syros. Visitors may enter the village from one of its three entrances and should be aware that access by car is not possible at the largest part of Ano Syros. Ano Syros is famous for its narrow streets and picturesque white houses interconnected with stairs, its traditional taverns with live music and flavoury food (among which the underground tavern where Markos Vamvakaris used to play), the Centre of Historic Research of the Catholic Diocese and the Historical Records of Ano Syros.

Visitors in this renowned village should be prepared to walk and enjoy the feeling of being in village that looks like an open air museum!

Magnificent Villages

Episkopio Village
Yet another wonderful village of Syros, which was very prosperous in the 19th century but now is almost deserted, is Episkopio at about 4.5 km. from Ermoupoli. This was the island’s most important and most aristocratic resort with large villas built amphitheatrically and palm trees and statues of their owners adorning their wonderful gardens.

Visitors should walk up the stairs that lead to “Profitis Elias” and admire the breathtaking view of the port and the area around it.

Chroussa and similar villages
Chroussa, Parakopi and Dellagracia also have neoclassical houses that were mainly built in the 19th century and were used as summer homes. Chroussa is a traditional village in a rural area, which has two churches, an old holidaymakers’ club and a path that leads to Agia Thekla, which is considered among the oldest prehistoric settlements of Syros.

Pagos village & more
Pagos is another rural village that is famous for its slaughterhouses and the fact that it maintains the tradition of organizing celebrations before Christmas, which is the time period when fresh pork meat is being processed in different ways (e.g. it is turned into ham) in order to last all year long. Around Pagos there must have been settlements of the Hellenistic and Roman periods.

Finally, the most famous beaches of Syros like Galissas, Kini, Azolimnos, Vari, Megas Gialos and Foinikas are surrounded by settlements that offer accommodation and many services to visitors.

Archaeological Sites of Kastri & Halandriani
The most important archaeological sites of Syros are Halandriani and Kastri, where there used to be prehistoric settlements, close to each other, at the northeastern part of the island. At Kastri, the ruins of which are still visible, excavations revealed a prehistoric cemetery and brought to light important objects of the Cycladic Culture exhibited in the Archaeological Museum of Syros.

Cemetery of St. George
The Cemetery of Saint George, on the road that leads to Ano Syros, is more like an open air Museum with grandiose statues and sculptures that will definitely impress visitors. The Cemetery was inaugurated in 1834 and has a unique marble steeple in its entrance.

Pherecydis' Caves
The Pherecydis' Caves are two caves in which the philosopher Pherecydis taught, located close to Ano Syros. The first cave is at about 1 km. from Ermoupoli in a position called “Alithini” and the second cave is at about 5 km. to the north of Ermoupoli at Platy Vouni. Both caves can be visited.

Discovery paths at Ano Meria
Moreover, hikers will most certainly enjoy the signaled paths in Ano Meria, which has joined the “Natura 2000 Network”. This is a region of wild beauty and organized hiking tours are arranged and performed by experienced guides. Similar paths also exist in the northern part of the island, where natural beauty is amazing and untouched by the human hand. The most remarkable path is the one that leads to “Eklogites”, which are big round rocks standing out of the landscape.

Kini Aquarium
The Kini Aquarium is ideal for a family visit before a refreshing swim on the homonymous beach. Although it is not very big, it houses the representative sea species of the region and provides information on the activities related to the sea, as well as issuesrelated to environmental protection.

Syros’ Lighthouse
Finally the Lighthouse of Syros at Gaidouronisi has the oldest rotating beacon of the Aegean Sea. This stone lighthouse was built in 1834 and is about 30 m. high, whereas according to narrations it could be visible even by Smyrni, Asia Minor.

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