Thursday, May 1, 2008

Greece - Ermoupoli, Syros

Greece - Ermoupoli, Syros, originally uploaded by wallyg.

The elegant port town of Ermoúpoli (Greek: Ερμούπολη), also known with its formal name as Ermoupolis (Ἑρμούπολις), latinized Hermoupolis, is the capital and main city of the island of Syros and the Cyclades prefecture. Named after Hermes (Ἑρμοῦ πόλις), the god of commerce, is the largest city in the Cylades. The "Queen of the Cyclades" is crowned by the twin peaks of Catholic Ano Syros (Άνω Σύρος) to the north (left) and the Orhodox Vrontado to the south (right) and built like an amphiptheatre with neo-classical buildings, old mansions and white houses cascading around the harbour.

Ermoupoli was founded during the Greek Revolution in the 1820s, as an extension to the existing Ano Syros township. It soon became the leading commercial and industrial center of Greece, as well as its main port. The renowned Greek Steamship Company was founded in the city in 1856. Thousands of ships were built in the various Syros shipyards. Eventually Ermoupoli was eclipsed by Piraeus in the late 19th century. In the following decades the city declined. Recently, its economy has greatly improved, based on the service industry.

Rocky Syros (Σύρος), or Syra or Siros, is the commercial, administrative and cultural centre of the Cyclades with area of 86 sq. km., a coastline of 87 km., and a population in excess of 20,000. Archaelogicial digs have revealed finds of the Cycladic civilization dating from 2800 to 2300 BC. The inhabitants converted to Catholicism under the French Capuchins in the Middle Ages. The 19th century saw Syros become a wealthy and powerful port in the eastern Mediterranean. Though Syros does not live off tourism, more visitors arrive each year attracted by its traditional tourism.

No comments: