Architectural Gems on the Greek Island of Syros

Architectural Gems on the Greek Island of Syros

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Midst the Cycladic complex lies a “Lady Charmer” the isle of Syros, rich in cultural heritage and astonishing architecture – a huge inspiration source. Last summer, I was lucky to spend five weeks in Hermoupolis, the main town after god Hermes, as a guest in a renovated house overlooking its ancient port and the Aegean Sea. Syros is the perfect holiday destination for a “real Greek experience,” with courteous people, and plenty of cultural events to keep everyone busy.  Walking through its alleys I peeked through the windows or occasionally open doors and became fascinated by their home interiors – old hardwood flooring worn by the passage of time and high ceilings with a story to tell; today I’ll be sharing with you some of those awesome architectural details that are not mentioned in travel guides.

Panoramic view of the port of Syros

Partial view of the main town of Syros island from taken from the one end of the port

Syra

Partial view of the main town of Syros island from taken from the one end of the port

Syra

seaview from the Quarter of Vaporia in Syros

The Quarter of Vaporia

seaview from the Quarter of Vaporia in Syros

The seaview from the Quarter of Vaporia in Syros

Syros, also known as Syra, is a perfect blend of a Cycladic layout, medieval elements, neoclassical and contemporary architecture. The town of Hermoupolis has an atmospheric cosmopolitan ambiance.  It has remarkable Venetian buildings, 19th century neoclassical mansions, marble squares, imposing splendid churches, both Greek Orthodox and Catholic, whitewashed houses ascending the hill, colorful doorways and countless marble stairs lining its narrow paths leading you all the way up to Ano Syros (built by Venetians during the 13th century).  This is a walker’s paradise.

Two different facades of traditional homes in Ano Syros.

Exterior facades of traditional homes in Ano Syros.

Left: View standing from the Miaouli Square. Right: The Church of Saint Nicholas.

Left: View standing from the Miaouli Square. Right: The Church of Saint Nicholas.

Left: The marble facade of a Catholic Church in Ano Syros. Right: The inside of the Catholic Church of Saint George found on the top of the hill of Ano Syros.

Left: The marble facade of a Catholic Church in Ano Syros. Right: The inside of the Catholic Church of Saint George found on the top of the hill of Ano Syros.

The old town hall designed by Ziller, at Hermoupolis Syros.

The imposing Town Hall at the central marble square.

Partial view of the Miaouli Square from the Town Hall after sunset

Partial view of the Miaouli Square from the Town Hall after sunset

Partial view of the Miaouli Square from the Town HallDuring the 19th century neoclassicism flourished and two of its most notable examples were built, the Town Hall designed by the architect Ernst Ziller and the Apollo Municipal Theater, a miniature of the Scala Opera House. But, aside from these many mansions of wealthy families were built by the sea, setting a beautiful example of architectural brilliance at the most scenic quarter of Hermoupolis, known as Vaporia.  These mansions have beautiful entrances, embellished marble balconies, hardwood flooring and high ceilings decorated with amazing paintings.  Some of them even have wall murals acting as silent reminders of another era’s past glory.

Two amazing examples of ceiling murals. Image credit:  Konstantinos Koroneos. Source

A beautiful mural on a decorated ceiling in a house in Hermoupolis, Syros

Ceiling mural in the living room of a mansion. Image credit: Konstantinos Koroneos. Source

View of the grand entrance to a boutique hotel in Syros with typical architectural features found in the island

An old wooden entrance door to a stone building in Syros

View of two old houses found in one of the neighborhoods in Hermoupolis Syros
Entryway to a luxury hotel in Hermoupolis Syros, with a mural on the high ceiling.

Entryway to a luxury hotel in Hermoupolis. 

View of the high ceiling inside the historical building of the town hall of Hermoupolis

Inside the Town Hall

Image of a ceiling mural inside the town hall of Hermoupolis in Syros

Ceiling mural in the Town Hall

Partial view of a corridor and the main stairwell inside the town hall in Hermoupolis, Syros

Inside the Town Hall. Notice the murals on the wall. 

View from atop of the coffee house in one of the Town Hall's atriums.

The coffee house in one of the Town Hall’s atriums.

Some of the surviving neoclassical mansions have been restored and a few of these have been converted into small eclectic hotels while preserving elements of their original architectural character. It is quite a treat to stay in any one of those small boutique hotels and see how elements from different eras have fused into a wholesome well balanced synthesis. Hope you enjoyed this visual journey…

Yours,

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