Syros sailing holidays
The hilly island of Syros or Siros - Σύρος lies half-way between Kythnos and Mykonos.
Its central situation makes it the principal centre of administration, commerce and fisheries in the Cyclades and a focal point of the shipping routes in the Central Aegean.
Agriculture makes a major contribution to the island's economy, supplemented in the last 20 years by a rapidly developing tourist trade.
The islands capital, Ermoupolis – named after Hermes, the Greek god of trade – occupies the site of an ancient settlement of which no trace remains.
Syros, Ermoupolis, is the seat of the Prefect of the Cyclades, a Roman Catholic bishop and an Orthodox archbishop.
The town owes its present extent to Greek refugees from Chios, Psara, Crete, Hydra and other islands, who settled here in 1821, after the War of Liberation, and built the town up into a major port on the sea routes between Asia Minor and western Europe. At the end of the 19th c., however, the economy of the town suffered from the competition of Piraeus.
History of Syros
From the time of the Fourth Crusade at the beginning of the 13th c. until 1568 Syros belonged to the Duchy of Naxos, and since that time it has had a substantial Roman Catholic minority, which during the Turkish period was under protection of France.
During the War of Greek Independence the island remained neutral, and those who had escaped the massacres of Chios and Psara were able to find refuge here.
Close to the town of Ano Syros, which was founded in the 13th c. and had remained predominantly Catholic, these new settlers established the town of Ermoupolis by the harbour, and this developed during the 19th c. into the largest Greek port, before being overtaken by Piraeus.
The town of Ermoupolis extends, with its handsome houses in neo-classical style, from the harbour quarter, the administrative and business centre, with the Town Hall (now a museum) and Theatre, a copy of the Milanese La Scala, up the slopes of two hills, in a naturally amphitheatrical fashion.
On the low hill, Vrontado, is the Orthodox Greek quarter (built from 1834 onwards).
On the higher hill lies the Roman Catholic village of Ano Syros, established during the Venetian period (13th c.); monasteries, cobbled narrow streets, no cars allowed. On the summit of the Ano Syros hill stands the Roman Catholic Cathedral of St George (19th c.; panoramic views). The approach of Ermoupolis (Ano Syros will be on port side) is one of Greece's most stunning approaches, next to Poros, Santorini and Symi.
The large secluded bay and port of Finikas or Foinikas - Φοίνικας – likely named after the Phoenicians – is located near the popular seaside resort of Posidonia. Close to the town is an ancient necropolis.
Archaeological evidence suggests that during ancient times the second town of the island was located here; named after Poseidon, who is not only the god of the sea but also of earthquakes.
Up until 1956 it was possible to distinquish ancient structures on the seabed of Foinikas bay. After the seismic activities of Santorini/Thira that year, these have disappeared.
North of Ermoupolis, at the village of Chalandriani, is the fortified Cycladic II settlement of Kastri, an important archaeological Carian site, dated 2600 – 2300 BCE.
Anchorages on the east coast
Sound protections against the northerlies, but there can be severe gusts from the north-east over the hills. Personally, I find the first three anchorages (the northern ones) the most attractive and secure.
Take a line ashore in the anchorage of Grammata bay (north side of Megas Lakkos bay) – in earlier times a welcome harbour of refuge – there are Roman and medieval inscriptions such as expressions of thanks and prayers. Please inform fellow yachtspersons not to add their own inscriptions: this is an archaeological site.
Aetou bay offers marvelous surroundings, especially in the northern cove.
In Delfini bay anchor behind the islet (mind the Defini reef on the approach).
The bay of Kini is more vigorous with tripper boats and tavernas, the miniscule ramp will be occupied with local boats. Again, mind the reef on the approach.
Galissas bay is the most cosmopolitan place, although with some cacophonous bars. Outside the main season there might be room behind the mole (partly subsided).