“Greece was reborn in Hermoupolis…”, Eleftherios Venizelos, major Greek political figure.
At the outbreak of the Greek War of Independence in 1821 hundreds of Greeks were forced to flee several Aegean islands and areas of the Asia Minor coast to escape the wrath of the Ottoman forces. Being granted a self-governing status and under the protection of France and of the Holy See, Syros became a safe shelter to the masses of refugees who arrived and created Hermoupolis; An entirely new town which was born during the flames of war and rapidly became an international commercial, cultural and industrial hub and one of the most powerful in the 19th century’s Mediterranean.
Start your cultural adventure strolling around a town that exudes the aristocratic aura of another era with grandiose mansions, marble piazzas with tall palm trees, impressive public buildings, cobblestoned alleys and exquisite town planning. Visit the Archaeological Museum of Hermoupolis, one of the oldest in Greece with exhibits from the Early Cycladic and Byzantine periods. Step into the beautiful neoclassical Historical Archive of the Cyclades to get a glimpse into archives dating back to 1821. Stop by the Municipal Library and the Cultural Center - former home of the Hellas Club of the mighty bourgeoisie of another era - where the Cycladic Art Replicas Exhibition is located.
”Gentlemen under the protection of Hermes…this town was founded and prospered … I believe it should be dedicated to Hermes and named Hermoupolis", Loukas Rallis to the local council.
Visit the Orthodox Church of Metamorphosis with the strong Baroque features where the local council of prominent citizens gathered to name their town. Make a stop at the Orthodox Church of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary to see the authentic masterpiece The Dormition of the Virgin, one of the earlier, and rare, works of Domenikos Theotokopoulos, a.k.a El Grego. A good wander unveils the wonder of this atmospheric town with so many neoclassical treasures and brilliant historic alleys to explore, narrow alleys with restaurants and cafes and scenic shops to indulge. Architecture enthusiasts will appreciate the sheer density of landmarks reflecting the influences of Romantic Neoclassicism.
Eastern Telegraph Co Ltd, the first telegraph office is established.
Four years later, the first submarine cables submerged in the Mediterranean Sea to connect Syros to Piraeus. Later new cables connected the island with Chios providing the first telecommunications to Constantinople and Alexandria. Hermoupolis became the bridge joining Greece with both Europe and the East.
Today, the local concept of cozy contentment oozes from the town’s bustling seashore. The most prominent buildings among neoclassical beauties and old storehouses turned into cafes and restaurants are the monumental buildings of the Customs Office and Transit Warehouse.
The Hellenic Steam Navigation Company, the first steamship company in modern Greece is founded.
In your walks you are bound to come across the celebrated Vaporia (Greek for Ships); the most aristocratic quarter where wealthy shipowners built magnificent neoclassical mansions perched on the edge of cliffs seemingly hovering over the sea, explaining the name of the district. Here the exquisite temple of Saint Nicholas, a brilliant blend of Byzantine and neoclassical design, dominates the scenery with its majestic dome, marble bell towers and imposing marble staircase.
Follow the steps down to Asteria (meaning Stars) to the popular urban beach of Syros where locals and tourists dive in the azure sea and while away sunny days and romantic nights enjoying their coffee or sipping their drink.
Neorion Shipyards, the first heavy industry plant of the Balkans, is established.
Less than 3 minutes walking from Times Elegant Rooms are the facilities of the oldest heavy industry site in Greece with a long history in shipbuilding and manufacturing. In the 1860s, in addition to ship building, the company produced steam engines, boilers, pumps and heavy cannons. In 1893, Neorion produced its first metal steamship. In the 1970s the company built the Enfield 8000, one the world’s first mass-produced electric cars.
4 more minutes walking and you’ve arrived at the former Lead Shot Factory building which now houses the Industrial Museum of Hermoupolis with exhibitιons from the glorious industrial era of Syros.
The glorious opening of the Apollo Theater with Verdi’s Rigoletto.
The emblem of the cultural development of Hermoupolis, the Apollo Theater was built in 1864 by the Italian architect Pietro Sampo, expressing at least 4 Italian standards including the Scala di Milano. The stage has the orchestra space in front of it, the seats are wooden, handrails and curtains are of velvet, the ceiling frescoes depict poets and composers looking down on you and a small exhibition features photographs and posters, costumes, personal items and the dressing rooms of famous performers of the past.
Ernst Ziller is appointed to design the Town Hall of Hermoupolis.
Follow the cobblestone streets to Miaouli square; the iconic marble square of the 19th century where is located the crown jewel of Syros, the majestic Town Hall of Hermoupolis. Designed by the celebrated architect Ernst Ziller, the dominating building is a glorious style combination of Classical Greece and Western Romanticism with an imposing marble staircase of 15.5 meters width and splendid features. A prime spot that attracts locals and tourists, the enormous square is flanked by neoclassical marvels and boasts a marble music stage with embossed drawings of the ancient Greek god of music Apollo and the muses, the statue of Andreas Miaoulis, a prominent figure from the Greek War of Independence and charming cafes.
The fully revamped Times Elegant Rooms opens its doors showcasing a paired-down modern and low key decor, each room a comfy environment.
Today, Syros is the administrative centre of Cyclades and Hermoupolis is the capital with vigorous urban life all year round. With a vibrant local economy, the island has never been passionately tourist-oriented preserving its authenticity. There is no better way to get up close and personal with the living history and heritage of Hermoupolis than just casually walking through the cobblestone streets, flanked by splendid neoclassicals, cozy cafés, quaint eateries and charming boutiques for shopping.