Ships and Ferries to the island of Syros in the Cyclades Travel Information for ferries to Syros. Island of Syros Cyclades.
SYROS > HISTORY
Syros is located in the centre of the Cyclades and was first inhabited in the prehistoric period, 4000 BC and later during the early Cycladic period of 3000 BC as revealed by archaeological excavations.
The first historical reference was made by Homer that referred to it as Syrii, that is to say it had two cities: Posidonias and Foiniki. The first inhabitants on the island were Phoenecians and the name Syros emanates from Ousyra meaning ‘cheerful’ or Syr meaning ‘rock’.
Ancient Ermoupoli was built by the Iones and was later occupied by the Persian, Roman, Frank and Turkish conquerors; each left their own cultural stamp. Those that left the greatest mark with their presence on the island were the Venetians making Syros an important commercial centre of the eastern Mediterranean. The pirate invasions forced the residents to change the location for the capital onto a hill, where today its medieval settlement of Ano Syros, with its church of San Georgio, dominates.
When the island’s sovereignty passed to the French, Ano Syros was inhabited by Catholics who founded a small abbey that is still in operation today.
The major economic growth of Ermoupolis came after the revolution of 1821, when a group of refugees from Psaras, Chios, Crete and Asia Minor were installed here along with their naval and trading activities. This period of prosperity continued up to the beginning of the 20th century.
Today, the glamour of its past is reflected in the important architectural monuments of past centuries, but also in the rich cultural events of the Ermoupoleia Festival that is organised each year in June.
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