Ermoupoli spills like multicolored lava from the twin colonial hills of Ano Syros and Vrodado, topped respectively by churches—Roman Catholic (St. George) on the left-hand peak, when viewed from the harbor, and Greek Orthodox (Resurrection) on the right. Capital not only of the island but of the entire Cycladic island group, Ermoupoli was the main port of Greece for half a century after its conception in 1822, during the War of Independence. During the struggle, refugees fleeing from the Turkish massacres chose the site of the ancient "town of Hermes," god of travelers and merchants, on which to raise their new city, and crowned it with Vrodado’s blue-dome Resurrection church. Following the war, Syros became so important it was seriously considered as a site for the fledgling nation’s first capital. Starting at that time, waves of rich immigrants from Smyrna, Chios, Hydra, Psara, and Crete made the island into a cultural and commercial center.
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