Syros

Island of Syros

Syros Island

Syros is almost the omphalos of Greece...
 
Theophile Gautier , who toured the island at the beginning of 19th century, wrote:
"Syros is almost the omphalos of Greece, the capital city of elegance and nobleness. Who could ever imagine to meet this city planted on a rocky island of the Aegean sea!"
Syros, like most of the Cyclades islands, emerges from the sea in the form of bare and steep rocks. Its name Sour or Osoura means rocky.
Ulysses' swineherd, Vimeos, who was the first man that the homeric hero met when returning to his home place, came from Syros.
In the year 3000 B.C., one of the greatest civilisations of the world, the Cycladic civilisation, was born on Syros, the rock of 85 Km2. This has been defined by the experts as "Civilisation Keros - Syros".

Island history

Homer sang of "two-citied Syros" (the principal settlements were in today's Vari and Apano Meria). The, so-called, blind poet "saw" and praised the island's beauty and agricultural bounty: "...plant-filled, full of apples, plenty of wine, many-seeded".
 
The name Syra, instead of Syros is recorded for the first time in a work by Isichiou of Milisiou (6th c. B.C). The island was named Souda under Prankish rule.
During its decline it was pejoratively called Psyra according to the folksy saying: "Syra psyra - Mykono kasida" ("Syros lice - Mykonos lice eggs").

Ano Syros

The first town! Small, picturesque, medieval town. It perches on the central and higher hill of the island crowned by the church of St George, the Catholic Cathedral, on its peak.
 
The first inhabitants settled on the top south and east side of Ano Syros, to protect themselves from the pirate raids.
 
The foundation and the life of the town is closely related to the Frankish domination in Greece.