Hermoupolis was inhabited by refugees who came gradually to the island from Asia Minor, Chios, Kasos, Psara and Crete from 1822’s. Those first refugees were victims of massacres, that the Turkish fleet had unleashed in these areas in 1822. Having Catholics on the island of Syros, the island was put under the protection of the Western great powers of the era. So the refugees have sought mainly safety in the island of Syros. The name of the city was decided by a council of the first settlers of the town in 1823 and the town was named Hermoupolis in honor of the ancient god of commerce, Hermes.
The refugees of 1823 built the church of the Transfiguration, on the top of the hill, around which Hermoupolis was built. Today it is the Cathedral of the Orthodox inhabitants of Syros. In 1833, exactly 11 years since the first refugees arrived on the island the first public high school of liberated Greece was built, with Neophytos Vamvas as a headmaster. From this high school had graduated several years after, the famous Greek politician Eleftherios Venizelos. At the same time was established the first tannery factory in Syros, and the city’s port was built. During the early years, most of the foreign vessels only arrived in Syros from where transit trade with the rest of Greece, Russia and the East took place.
Between 1840 and 1880 Hermoupolis develops rapidly and becomes a “gem” city, with a developed bourgeoisie. In 1848 was built the upscale district of Syros, the Vaporia area and the church of St. Nicholas. In 1864 was inaugurated the theater “Apollon”. It is the work of the Italian architect Pietro Sampo. The imposing town hall was built by Ernst Ziller in 1876-1891. Hermoupolis began to decline after 1880 with the rise of the port of Piraeus, when the bulk of trade started to be conducted from there. Since the mid-19th century at the coast of Syros was created a large industrial area with yard, tanneries, spinning, steam mill etc.
Today Hermoupolis is an important tourist, commercial and administrative center as it is the headquarters of the South Aegean Region, which includes the Cyclades and the Dodecanese, and the seat of the Prefecture of Cyclades. In recent years with the key interventions and restorations in neoclassical buildings, and in all public places, Hermoupolis became a beautiful city that has nothing to envy from the past glory. The strong tourism, intellectual and cultural movement has placed Hermoupolis in the 21st century with the best omens.
Every day you can get to Syros with the following ferries:
With high-speed vessels that take about three hours from Piraeus to Syros
All other ships take about four hours from Piraeus to Syros.
Ticket prices are commensurate according to the categories and the time it takes the ship to get from the port of Piraeus to the port of Syros. The faster the ship arrives, the more expensive the ticket is.
The island can also be reached by plane, which takes about 30 minutes from the airport of Athens (Eleftherios Venizelos)
The rich tradition of trade has given the contemporary market of Syros a prolific figure in stores and items. In the cobbled streets to the center of Syros are shops catering to the demands of locals and visitors. There is not any traveler who has not tasted the famous delights (loukoumi) of Syros and the nougats (chalvadopites).
In recent years there has been a shift towards tourism. More and more visitors are discovering Syros. So hotels and tourism businesses were created and beaches have been exploited. Many classical buildings have been restored and serve as hostels.
Many tavernas that house troupes with bouzouki, guitar and accordion are available to entertain the visitor and to satisfy him with exquisite local delicacies (luza, Syros sausage, etc.).
In Syros, there are many traditional tavernas. All were made with proper care by the residents and are unique centers of initiation into Syros stunning kitchen. The seafood on the island is something extraordinary.
Fish will dominate during lunch and dinner menu, as they are excellent here. Pick any restaurant you want and enjoy the unique strapatsada, the local sausage, grilled octopus and the classic pichti. Accompany them with ouzo or beer and travel in taste.
The enjoyment of good food is even better when there is the ideal atmosphere. Almost all traditional taverns are decorated with unforgettable black and white photographs and many old items. Often the locals play unforgettable songs on the bouzouki or guitar ensuring unique moments.
When the sun sets, Syros transforms into a seductress. The bars and nightclubs are open and waiting for you to show you the amazing Syros fun.
In Syros, Ano Syros and in the many small and big villages, you will dance to the sounds of Greek and foreign music, you can enjoy a drink while admiring the stunning scenery and stay awake all night looking at the stars.
Summer in Syros, however, also means a traditional feast called Ermoupolia. Celebrated every year, it is the first and main attraction for both locals and visitors alike.
It is worth to attend all the events and have fun hanging out with the locals. Dances, songs and countless other things, offer a special show for locals and tourists.
Vardaka Square, tel 22810-85192.
It was built in 1862-1864 and is the work of the Italian architect Pietro Sampo. Simple on the outside, but with impressive interior architecture, it mimics the Italian standards. It is a miniature of La Scala in Milan. It has wooden boxes and impressive ceiling paintings, depicting the great composers of the opera. Although some restoration works still continue, this elegant theater has been restored and hosts cultural events.
Emmanouil Benaki st., to the northwest side of the City Hall tel 22810 88487. Open daily 8:30 to 15:00, Monday closed, admission free.
This small museum is the oldest of the Cyclades. In the three halls are exhibited findings, such as inscriptions and tombstones from the Neolithic, Hellenistic and Roman times. The most interesting collection is that of the first findings from Chalandriani and the castle and other Cycladic islands. You will also see an Egyptian statuette of priest Anchapis, made of black granite of the 22nd Dynasty (730 BC)
Open daily from 9:00 to 15:00
The grand two-storey building was built by the famous German architect Ernst Ziller, from 1876 to 1899 and houses the municipal court and city services. The exterior features a pediment marble portico with Doric columns on the first floor and Ionic in the second, and two towers at the ends. Visitors will be impressed by the monumental staircase entrance of 16 meters width. On the terrace of the ground floor is a café, while the on the second floor you will see the beautiful boardroom. The artwork of ceiling paintings was done with traditional techniques.
Big and beautiful square with palm trees, lots of cafes and shops, dominated by the imposing neoclassical City Hall, with the statue of Admiral Miaoulis and the platform of the band. The marble platform, with reliefs of Apollo and the Muses (1907), serves to the fanfare
Church of St Nicholas the Rich
Open daily 7:00 to 12:00 and 16:30 to 19:00, tel 22810-82623
Saint Nicholas is the patron saint of Syros and protector of the seafarers. The church was built in 1848 and the construction works lasted until 1905. It is a three-aisled basilica church that stands majestic with its blue cupola and belfry, when the boat enters the harbor. Named “rich” to distinguish it from the “poor” St Nicholas of Ano Syros, who was the first Orthodox church on the island. Many donors contributed to the cost of the church, mainly shipowners from Chios island.
It has a magnificent facade with a marble pediment and portico with Ionic columns. Inside, it has arches on pillars, loft, interesting paintings, lintels with relief floral decoration, exquisite marble chancel screen and pulpit and bishop’s throne.
The Cathedral (Metropolis)
Open daily from 7:30 to 13:00 and 17:00 to 19:30, tel. 22810-82467
You will be redirected here from the left side of City Hall, heading up the stepped path. This is one of the first neighborhoods of Syros and a walk in the area is worthwhile.
The three-aisled basilica is the metropolis of Syros and, chronologically, the first temple of the island (1824). In its historical pebbled courtyard the refugees ‘christened’ the new city, naming it Hermoupolis.
Admire the interior of the marble columns and floor, the dome and the gallery. The paintings, with floral ornaments and stars, are made with soft colors. The impressive temple, which ends in a small dome, is halfway marble and from then on bagdati (thin wooden slats and plaster coating, on which decoration and painting is done). Observe also the Episcopal throne, the pulpit and the many icons.
Next to the church is the Ecclesiastical Museum with sacred utensils, books and manuscripts from all the islands of the metropolitan region (open daily from 10:00 to 13:00).
Church of the Assumption
Stamatiou Proiou st., just above the harbor, tel. 22810-8220., Open daily from 8:00 to 12:30 and 17:00 to 19:30.
The three-aisled basilica, Virgin Mary of the Psara residents, is chronologically the second church of Syros (1828-1829). At its exterior it has two courtyards with arcades, while the interior features exquisite decoration with figures of saints and rosettes, crosses and stars. The temple is marble and the dome, the pulpit and the throne is wooden, like the roof of the temple.
Here you will find the icon of the Virgin Mary, one of the first works by El Greco (El Greco). This image is in the church since the 19th century, but it was only twenty years ago that its authenticity was revealed, youthful work of the great painter.
Church of the Resurrection
Open daily from 8:00 to 12:30 and 15:00 to 7:30 p.m., tel. 22810-82998
You will get there via the streets Babagiotou and Mavrokordatou and you will climb the stairs to the top of the hill of the naval district Vrontado. It was built from 1879 to 1909 in the hilltop Dili, right as we look at the port. It is a Byzantine church with a dome and has wonderful view of the sea and the neighboring islands of Tinos and Mykonos. It has a beautiful wooden neoclassical temple, carved pulpit and a bishop’s throne of exquisite art. Interest presents both the interior and the paintings.
Built by the sea, with beautiful neoclassical mansions and unique view, it was the aristocratic quarter of the city. Here lived the richest people of Syros, the seafarers and the industrialists. These houses for a long time were not inhabited by those who built them. Many fled quickly to Europe, Athens and Piraeus, after their business had broadened its horizons, while others left them during the era of decline.
These first buildings were majestic, yet simple urban mansions, but the next ones were built in such a way that emphasized the wealth of the owners.
Among the rocky coast of the district small beaches suitable for swimming are formed.
Municipal Library of Hermoupolis
Officially the library exists from 1926 and started with a core of about 2000 volumes of books from the collections of the Library School (1835) and especially the library of James Rota, beloved friend of Korai, Bishop Anthimos Cyclades Komninos (1842) etc.
The precious old books like the “Argonautica” of Apollonius the Rhodian (1521), the “nominal Pollux” (1608) of Racine, the “Ioustinianai” of Prince Rodokanakis (a Syros’ rare version) etc. are safeguarded in a special place.
In Hermoupolis, there are several nice beaches with clear waters which have the characteristic that they are very close together.
The small beach Kymata with small pebbles is located at Kanaris’ Square, near the port.
It has all the amenities and services of the city, as it lies within it, and is an easy solution for a quick and relaxing swim after a walk or before a good meal at a tavern in the city.
If you need to contact a nearby pharmacy or the hospital, the access is very easy within walking distance.
Agios Nikolaos beach
The small beach of Agios Nikolaos is located just below the church, from which it is named. It has mainly pebbles, but also a little sand.
It has all the amenities and services of the city, as it lies within it and is an easy solution for a quick and relaxing swim before or after your other activities in the city.
Access is very easy by walking, descending quite a few large and comfortable stairs.
The pebbly beach Talliro is located in the famous district of Syros Vaporia, within a short distance from the city center and next to the beach Vagelidi.
It has all the amenities and services of the city, as it lies within it and is an easy solution for a beautiful and relaxing swim without leaving the city.
The pebbly beach Vagelidis is located in the famous district of Syros Vaporia, at only a short distance from the harbor and next to Talliro beach.
It has all the amenities and services of the city, as it lies within it and is an easy solution for a quick and relaxing swim, without leaving the city.