The capital of the Cyclades and an important urban centre of the 19th century, Ermoupolis is a jewel of neoclassical design with elegant public buildings and gorgeous villas.
The island’s oldest settlement, founded in 1200 AD by the Venetians, follows a medieval style of fortification, with narrow labyrinthine streets, arches, covered passages, and authentic Cycladic architecture. Built around the Catholic Cathedral of Saint George, the town has been home to Syros’s Catholic community for centuries. The Cathedral, situated at the very top of the hill, is a beautiful spot from which to survey the island and the other Cyclades.
Overlooking the sea, the famous shipowners’ quarter of Ermoupolis is an imposing setting of neoclassical mansions with wonderful terraces, surrounded by palm trees and an aristocratic atmosphere. Its centre is dominated by the blue dome and two towers of the magnificent Cathedral of Saint Nicholas (1870), an exceptional monument with fine acoustics, that is full of artistic treasures.
The Apollon Theatre
Designed by Italian architect Pietro Sampo and inspired by La Scala in Milan, the first opera house in Greece is an exquisite building with a long history. The theatre opened in 1864 with a performance of Verdi’s Rigoletto, and has hosted some of the most important names in Greek opera.
The Markos Vamvakaris Museum
Occupying a traditional residence in Ano Syros, this small museum offers a fascinating insight into the life and work of the “Patriarch” of rebetiko music, through personal items and rare manuscripts.
If you choose one of the itineraries to Syros, don’t miss the opportunity to visit the coastal resort that was the preferred summer retreat of the island’s 19th century aristocracy. With its superb neoclassical villas and large gardens, it is still a hugely impressive sight. The area where ancient Poseidonia once stood took the name Dellagracia in the early 19th century, after the Catholic Church of Madonna della Grazia (1631).
Ermoupolis Town Hall
Among the most beautiful public buildings of the modern Greek state and a local architectural landmark, this majestic edifice, which was designed by the Bavarian Ernst Ziller and completed in 1898, dominates Miaoulis Square in the centre of town. The Archaeological Museum is also housed here.
Ermoupolis Industrial Museum
This unique museum, a conversion of four 19th-century manufacturing premises, offers an absorbing interactive journey into Syros’s industrial past.
The archaeological site of Chalandriani and Kastri
The discovery of a prehistoric cemetery of 600 underground tombs at Kastri, and the priceless grave-goods found there, brought to light one of the most important settlements of the Early Cycladic period in the Aegean. The impressive archaeological site is connected to the acropolis of Chalandriani, dating from the 3rd millennium BC, by a mountainous path with breathtaking views.
Saint Stephen’s Chapel
This tiny Catholic chapel in the area of Galissas is astonishing, having neither a floor nor a roof, and consisting only of walls built in the fissure between two enormous horizontal rocks next to the sea, with a fabulous view of the sunset.