Built from the Venetians in the hill of Saint Georgio, that is the continuation of north-western of the Ermoupolis, the Ano Syra maintains all medieval enchanting atmospheres. Your innumerable steps lead you in the top, between closely streets with white houses with coloured doors creating another state. In the medievally settlement of Ano Syra, they do not circulate vehicles, because the streets have very small width and everywhere going by steps.
The distance from the harbour, up to the central entry of city is 3500 metres and the street that leads there is in a very good condition.
In the hill dominates the catholic church of Saint Georgio, which build in the Medieval Season. The magical view in sea is unique giving the occasion in the visitor to see the neighbouring islands Tino, Delos, Paros and Naxos.
Ano Syros, (seat of the municipality) is a medieval settlement built on rocks. It is a natural fortress whereas some of the gates of the old castle still remain. The city was gradually built dating from the 8th century in a hill far from the sea and took its present form in the 13th century.
The ancient philosopher Ferekydes was born in Ano Syros where he lived. Information about Ano Syros we have in 307 A.D. from the Christian Bishop Eirinaios (a manuscript of his is kept in the Archives of the Catholic Episcopate of Syros). At around 700 A.D. there is a remarkable increase in population owing to the fact that people found shelter in its natural fortress from the Arabs’ and the other pirates’ raids. In the 12th century it becomes part of the Duchy of Naxos and after its abolition by the Turks it comes under their power with the obligation to pay tribute tax, yet it maintains the spirit of the Greek Constitution. During the years under the Turkish rule the inhabitants of Syros hold their meetings in the yard of Saint Ioannis’s church and hold elections of Heads and Commissars.
Diplomas and medals for their participation in the struggle for independence have been awarded to Ano Syros citizens; copies of these awards are kept in the Archives of the Municipality.
In 1835 G. Ioustinianis is appointed Mayor of Syros. From that time on the settlement develops remarkably. During the mayorship of A. Roussos (1891-1895) the French Hospital is built, unions are established and the road connecting the medieval settlement of Ano Syros with Hermoupolis is constructed.
In the World Wars I and II, several Ano Syros citizens have an active part in the Resistance and some lose their lives in battles to defend their country.
Architectural Style of Ano Syros
The settlement of Ano Syros is a characteristic evidence of the period during which it was built. For practical reasons, concerning their protection from raiders at that time, its inhabitants had their houses built in such a manner that the external walls were natural fortresses. The small narrow stone paved roads and the arched passages, apart from space economy, used to serve as hiding places for the inhabitants and an easier way to be protected from danger.
The big gates, which until today serve as the main entrances to the settlement, (Portara, Up and Down Terminal, Skalakia, Sa-Bastias) used to close with wooden doors to ensure the safety of the inhabitants from any night raid.
Sights of the settlement
- The Old Castle’s Gates of Ano Syros
- The Heroes’ Monument
- Saint George’s Cathedral (Metropolis of the Catholics of Syros)
- The churches and the country churches: Saint Antonio’s, Saint Nicholas’s, Kioura (Kyra) of Plaka, Kioura (Kyra) of Carlos, Jesus’s Birth, Saint Nicholas’s (of the poor), Saint Athanasios’s, the Holy Trinity.
- The Historic Studies Centre of the Catholic Episcopate of Syros
- Kapoukinon Monastery
- Priests Iisouites’ Monastery (currently of Klarisson Brothers)
- The Town Hall of Ano Syros
- Markos Vamvakaris’s Museum
- The Archives of Ano Syros Municipality
- The Traditional Crafts and Tools Exhibition
- Markos Vamvakaris’s Square, where there is the bust of the music composer.
- The bust of the litterateur Velissarios Freris, near Saint Antonios’s Church.
- The bust of the national martyr from Syros, vicar Don Ioannis Dalezios, close to the Metropolis.
- Philosopher Ferekydes’s bust in Kioura of Plaka
- The Primary School of Ano Syros (1835)
- The Municipal Gym of Ano Syros
- Saint Athanasios’s fountain