LITERATURE AND ARTS
The prosperity of Ermoupolis, in addition to economic prosperity, brought a significant development of social and cultural life. Public and private schools were renowned for their high standard. In 1825, the first co-educational school was founded in Ermoupoli by Georgios Kleoboulos, Grigorios Konstantas and Filippos Ioannou. In 1830, the first girls' secondary school began its operation and a little later, on November 13, 1834, the first Ermoupolis High School was inaugurated, with Neophytos Vamvas (1833-1836), one of the most important "teachers of the Genus", as the high school principal. At the same time, the Catholic schools of Upper Syros played an important role, such as the School of the Nuns of Mercy and the school of Saint Joseph, which was succeeded by the School of the Friars. In 1830, the first foreign-language newspaper that appeared in Greece was published in Ermoupoli.
The cultural movement was sealed with the construction of the "Apollo" Municipal Theater in 1864 and the Hellas Club (1862-1863). At the same time, there was a rich publishing movement with the operation of printing houses, the publication of books and the circulation of local newspapers. Ermoupoli was the cradle of the neo-Greek enlightenment, as among the refugee element of the new city and especially in Chios, the most progressive tendencies of the neo-Greek enlightenment were represented. It is also characteristic that the first philological memorial service of Adamantios Korai took place in Syros in 1833.
Progressive spirits of the time such as Andriotis Theofilos Kairis and his sister Evanthia, one of the first learned women of the new Hellenism, were found for long periods in Syros. The latter co-wrote the play "Nikiratos" there, which was staged in the theater of Syros by the troupe Manzourani. This was possibly the first theatrical performance in revolutionary free Greece. Important names of the New Greek Enlightenment are active in Syros, such as Anthimos Gazis, Grigorios Konstantas, Daniel Filippidis and Georgios Kleovoulos, the proponent of the mutual education method in Greece, who founded the first mutual education school in Hermoupolis. Several representatives of Romanticism, the New Athenian School and the newer literature of the interwar generation had ties to the Cyclades, mainly to Syros. Among them is Dimitrios Vikelas (1835-1908), author of one of the most important Greek novels of the 19th century, "Louki Lara", pioneer for holding the Olympic Games in 1896 in Greece and founder of the "Association for the Promotion of Useful Books" ». A contemporary of Vikelas and his classmate at the historic 1st High School of Syros was the author of the satirical historical novel "Papissas Ioanna" Emmanuel Roidis, one of the brightest and most critical minds of the second half of the 19th century in Greece. The poet Ioannis Gryparis (1870-1942), an important representative of Parnassism and symbolism in Greece and translator of ancient tragedies, came from Sifnos and acted as an inspector of secondary education in Syros.The critic, journalist and writer Kostis Bastias, general director since 1937 of the "Royal Theatre", forerunner of the National Theatre, and founder of the Greek National Opera, was born in Ermoupolis, Syros.
The writer and poet Rita Boumi-Pappa also came from Syros. In 1930, he founded the magazine "Kyclades", which in its two years of existence brought together some of the most important names of the time on its pages. In 1956, he published the monthly "Poets Newspaper", a magazine that for the first time in Greece presented texts in the main European languages, with leading young poets and neo-Hellenists as collaborators.
Andreas Empirikos (1901-1975), the scion of a family of merchants and shipowners based in Romania, spent some of his childhood years in Syros. Giorgos Kypraios (1908-1968) and Katina Sideri-Baila (1906-1950) distinguish between Karyotakism and Bohemianism. Anna Sikelianou, the second wife of the poet Angelos Sikelianou, was also Syrian by origin, who established herself in the literary field through the exemplary translations. The Syrian poetic creation continues to this day with the younger post-war generation. Among them is the poet and writer Manos Eleftheriou. Among the young creators belongs the poet and novelist Lucretia Danube, who sensitively depicted the life of Ano Syros in the 1950s.
Traces of the folk culture of Syros survive today in the villages in the Catholic feasts of Saints Anargyri (Apano Meria) and Faneromeni (September), in pig slaughters and in the revival of the Carnival in Upper Syros. Pig slaughters, a custom with very old origins, are still in the rural villages (Pagos, Danakos, Agros, Vissas, Adiata) and are accompanied by a feast. They include the slaughtering, cutting up of the pig and the preparation of various derivatives (sausage, louse, glyna, paste, etc.) for the maintenance of the family during the winter.
Source: FOUNDATION OF THE HELLENIC WORLD
Syros with its mixed religious society presents a very rich festive cycle, which includes many local festivals and events. Numerous cultural events take place in the summer. Some of them are: The "Ermoupoleia", in Ermoupoli The "Apanosyria", in Ano Syros The "Musical Routes on the road of Markos", in Kini and Galissa. The "trawl gathering" in Poseidonia in July, where it is followed by a traditional feast on Agkathopi beach. The "August Days" in Vari on the 15th of August, where there is a revival of old customs and professions, as well as constructions in the sand and a Venetian evening. Finally, a special experience is the carnival of Ano Syros, on Tyrini Sunday.
Syros is known for its livestock products. The most famous Syrian cheese is "San Michalis". It is a hard, pale yellow cheese and is produced exclusively in Syros by a cooperative milk factory. It is based on pasteurized cow's milk. Since 1996 it has been officially recognized as a Designation of Origin product.
Also in Syros, excellent "Kopanisti" is produced, which is made from raw milk (cow's milk basically or a mixture with sheep or goat) that has not undergone heat treatment. Also, Syros produces the famous "skordoloukanika". But, apart from everything else, Syros is famous for its sweets: the halva pies (made from thyme syrian honey and freshly baked almonds) and its famous loukoumi. Especially loukoumi have a history of almost 170 years, since the people of Chios brought the recipe when they came to Syros in 1822, after the dramatic destruction of their island. The first loukoumi were made in 1832 and the first loukoumi factory, founded in 1837, by Stamatelakis. Famous were the rahats of mastic and rose sugar with almonds. The secret of their taste is the brackish water of the island's springs as well as the "sour", ie the citric acid in crystalline form that is added at the beginning of their preparation process and gives them fluidity and elasticity, that is, it makes them soft enough.
Editor: Fotini Anastasopoulou