Ermoupoli of Syros has been also called an open-air museum and this is no exaggeration – the architectural creations that adorn the town and create such a special atmosphere that it will definitely leave an impression on you.
The cultural attractions of Syros, such as the Dimarchio (Town Hall) building, Miaouli square, the Apollon Theater, as well as the district Vaporia of Ermoupoli, are just some of those that attract visitors to the island, the Sovereign of Cyclades.
1. Miaouli Square
The Miaouli Square on Syros is the heart of Ermoupoli, the obvious meeting point for locals and visitors alike, the place for an evening promenade. Beautiful buildings, all creations of the 19th century, surround the square, which is dominated by the Dimarchio (Town Hall) built in 1898 according to plans by Ziller, with the grand staircase 15.5 meters wide.
Leschi (Club), which now houses the Cultural center was built in 1863 and the building to the left of the City Hall houses the Historical Archives of Syros. At its center stands the statue of the Admiral of the Revolution of 1821 Andreas Miaoulis, placed here in 1899, giving its name to the square.
2. Dimarchio (Town Hall) of Syros
The Town Hall of Syros, designed by Ziller, is the most imposing building of the island and one of the major Town Halls in Greece. Founded in 1876 and inaugurated in 1898, it cost the municipality 1,300,000 drachmas, a hefty sum for that time. The building has three floors on the side that faces the square and, because of the height difference, two storeys on the rear street.
The first floor of the Town Hall of Syros, where leads a monumental staircase 15.5 meters wide, is built in the Tuscan style, the second in the Ionic and the towers, which according to the initial plans were to unite on the third floor and on three sides except the front one, are in the Corinthian style.
On the marble pediment of the central part of the Town Hall of Syros is the inscription of the building: “Ermou Dimos tad eisato dimarchountos D. Vafiadakis” ie, “the City of Ermou erected (this building) during the term of the mayor D. Vafiadakis”.
The interior of the Town Hall of Syros is dominated by a suspended staircase, 1.95 m. wide, covered with a glass roof, while the building, except for the municipal services of Syros also houses the courts, the land registry, the Archaeological Museum and other public services.
3. Apothikes Diametakomiseos (Transit Warehouses)
The Transit Warehouses are situated at the jetty of the port of Syros and were built in 1834 -1839 with public expenditure according to the plans of I.B. Erlacher and under the supervision of Wilhelm von Weiler.
The building, with a total length of 122 m., has two wings in a symmetrical arrangement, and is built along the old coastline, attracting today the attention of visitors with its special style. The tiled storey in the central part of the building was built a few years after the ground floor, while the rest was built at the same time as the neighboring Customs building in 1859-1861 and has its own morphology.
In 1994 in four of the Transit Warehouses of southern wing was established the Art Gallery of Cyclades, which hosts temporary exhibitions as well as its own collections (entrance from the back side of the building).
4. Vaporia of Syros
The district of Vaporia in Syros is perhaps the most beautiful of the island. It is located north of the port, in the eastern part of Ermoupoli. It is built by the sea, with the wonderful captain’s houses that appear to be “hanging” from the rocks.
High ceilings decorated with frescoes, marble balconies, wooden floors and carved wooden doors used to form the aristocratic quarter of the 19th century town. Here resided the richest people of Syros, the ship owners and industrialists.
On the rocky coast of Vaporia several small beaches suitable for swimming are formed, such as the beach Asteria. The prestigious district is dominated by the imposing church of Agios Nicholas ton Plousion (of the rich), as it is customarily called, with the castellated bell towers.
5. Municipal Theatre Apollon
The Municipal Theater Apollon is one of the “gems” of Syros, an emblem of the cultural development of Ermoupoli. It was built in 1862-1864 by the Italian architect Pietro Sampo and is located in the city center, behind the Cultural Centre on Vardaka square. It is a two storey building with a simple exterior decoration and an impressive interior. The design is influenced by at least four Italian buildings, including La Scala in Milan.
During its construction, the theatre stage was 9 meters wide and 10 meters deep, with space for the orchestra in front of the stage and a gallery. The decoration of the wooden galleries built in three rows was simple. The seats, handrails and the curtains were made of velvet. Around the candelabrum on the ceiling of the Municipal Theatre “Apollon” were murals with representations of poets and composers.
During World War II the Municipal Theatre “Apollon” was largely destroyed, and subsequently renovated: the overhaul began in 1970 and caused great alterations in the interior of the theatre – among others, the wooden gallery was replaced with concrete balconies.
The theater reopened for the first time in almost 40 years in 1991, although the restoration work by architect Peter Pikionis, was completed only in 2000. Since 2002 in the theater operates the “Memories of the Municipal Theatre Apollon” space, with various exhibits, such as posters, costumes from various performances and others.
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5+1. Meseoniko Kastro (Medieval Castle)
The medieval castle that surrounds the settlement of Ano Syros was built by the first Frankish settlers of the island in the 13th century.
Today, parts of the castle are still visible in the modern settlement that has preserved unchanged its medieval character: for example the three gates, which to this day are the main entrances to Ano Syros.