The new born festival: "International Festival of the Aegean" is a strong reason to visit Syros.
Dedicated exclusively to Classical Music, Opera, Dance and Choirs, for 2 weeks in July, make "vibrate" the capital of the Cyclades!
This year we are celebrating the 6th edition of said festival and the "highlight" was the presentation of the opera of Georges Bizet: "Carmen"!
The festival is housed on the magnificent Lyrical Theatre of Hermoupolis: the "Apollo Theatre", also known as: "La Piccola Scala", because it is a replica of "La Scala" of Milan!
Ano Syros, the twin city of Hermoupolis and birthplace of Markos Vamvakaris, the most important Greek singer and composer of "Rebetiko" songs, could not miss the oportunity to organize another festival, but so different from that one of Hermoupolis!
The Ano Syros Festival is called: "Stis geitonies tou Markou Vamvakari" (In the Neighbourhoods of Markos Vamvakaris) and is exclusively dedicated to concerts and cultural activities concerning the "rebetiko song", popular song and any other form of the folkloric or popular art.
The setting of the festival is the medieval city of Ano Syros: streets, schools, churches, open spaces.
"Hermoupoleia" (from Hermoupolis, the capital of the Cyclades), is the most important cultural festival of the Aegean Archipelago and takes place in Hermoupolis, Syros, the capital of the Cyclades.
This year (2010) is taking place the 19th edition of said festival, in a row.
Music, Painting, Opera, Theatre, Dance, Cinema are in the rich and varied programme of the "Hermoupoleia".
For this year (2010), the first cultural activity will take place on the 05 June and the last cultural activity for this summer will take place on 03 October.
if you are traveling with kids and want to give yourself and them a break, go to the main square (Platia Miaouli). there are a lot of space for running around and/or joining local kids in chasing pigeons, while you sipping cold coffee drink in a shade of numerous cafes.
visiting a traditional village (and even towns) anywhere in Cyclades, keep in mind EVERYTHING (I mean it) will be closed from 2 to 6 pm. it's traditional siesta time, when people are taking naps, hiding from the heat, work and tourists.
our guide told us "a horror story" of a woman who knocked on a local priest door during siesta time. first, she was scolded by the priest for breaking his afternoon sleep, then, after siesta was over, she was arrested by police and brought up to the village hall to apologize in front of the whole settlement for disturbing their rest.
you can take this story with a eye wink (not all villages are so extreme). but one thing for sure: Greeks take their siesta very serious: rest comes first, all other things are secondary.
so bring with you enough water, snacks, other things you might need to survive 2 to 6 siesta break.
For a foreign would be difficult to distinguish where a church is a Catholic or an Orthodox one!
A nice tip is judging by the name of the Saint, whose name bears the church.
If it is a "sound Latin name", you can be sure that you are about to visit a Catholic church!
What do you think of names like:
Sa Michalis=Saint Michael
Sa Bastias=Saint Sebastian
Sa Yakoumos=Saint James
Obviously, Catholic churches!
The smashing majority of the Greek population (around 97%), claims to be of Christian Orthodox faith.
But, there is a small minority of the Greek population (around 0,50%) that claims to be of Christian Catholic faith.
The island of Syros is the "cradle" of the Catholic faith in Greece and practically every Greek Catholic you meet, has a direct or indirect affinity with Syros!
Once upon a time the whole island (with some exceptions) was Catholic, but in our days, only the 40% is still Catholic.
Visiting Syros will be a pleasant surprise for you, because you will encounter a lot of Catholic churches and monasteries with that special architectural style of Syros!
In Syros the Easter holiday is special, since the Orthodox and the Catholics celebrate it together.
On Good Friday, the Epitaphios (Bier) of the Catholic Evaggelistria and the biers of the three Orthodox meet up at Miaoulis Square.
The band of the Municipal Philarmonic accompanies the Epitaphios (bier) .
All along its route, people scatter flowers on the epitaphios (bier), holding lighted candles in their hands.