Photo: © allovergreece.com
Church of Agios Nikolaos
This is a glorious Greek Orthodox church particularly beautiful inside and definitely worth a visit, no matter what your religious beliefs happen to be. Built by donations from shipowners it is an impressive church with four large pillars and many steps leading up to the entrance. It is known locally as “Agios Nikolaos (St. Nicholas) of the rich” to distinguish it from the “poor” Church of Agios Nikolaos just up the hill in Ano Syros. Agios Nikolaos, patron saint of Ermoupolis stands out for its lavish interiors and impressive architectural structure. Construction began in 1848 based on architectural plans by the Greek architect G. Metaxas. They were personally approved by King Otto, the Bavarian King who ruled Greece from the establishment of the monarchy in 1832. Construction was completed twenty-two years later and the church was inaugurated officially in 1870. The Church of Agios Nikolaos in Syros is considered one of the finest churches of the 19th century in Greece.
Agios Nikolaos Church is a cross-in-square Basilica with dome. The front of the church is very impressive with its tall bell towers, and the interior very decorative. It is loaded with fine frescoes, icons, gilt and chandeliers hanging from the ceiling. The glass dome in the roof is certainly very eye-catching as is the altar. Although, small for the size of the church, the altar is very ornate and is situated at the rear of the church in a semi-circular alcove. The marble pulpit and despotic throne are also veritable pieces of art. The stained glass creates beautiful colors inside the church on sunny days, and when light enters through the windows, the colors of the icons are vibrant. The icon of Agios Nikolaos was silver plated in Moscow. The rest of the icons were painted by some of the best hagiographers of the time. The marble iconostasis was carved by the famous 19th century sculptor George Vitalis.
It is a healthy walk to get to the church, but for those who cannot walk, the local bus from the town center stops right outside the rear of the church. In front of the church is a small garden with a number of statues in it. Among them, it is the monument of the “Unknown Soldier”, the first monument dedicated to unknown soldiers of the war of the independence in 1889. The church is open to the public, but the signs say please be respectful and dress decently as well. The surrounding neighborhood is very nice with great views of the sea. Although the Church of Agios Nikolaos looks plain on the outside, the inside is amazing and beautiful and is a must see when on Syros. This impressive church is very close to Apollon Theatre and the City Hall.