Syrmata Fishermen Houses

Syrmata are one of the most unique examples of Cycladic architecture. One can find them in the fishing villages and seaside settlements of Milos. Klima hosts the most traditional houses of this kind, but visitors can also admire them at Mandrakia, Firopotamos, Fourkovouni and Areti villages.

Built literally where the waves crash, their use was to protect wooden fishing boats during the extreme winter weather conditions. In the autumn, when the fishing season ended, the fishermen used to drag their boats from the sea by wire into the storage rooms on the ground floor of these buildings, which contained the equipment necessary for their maintenance. That is how the name syrmata was established, which is the Greek word for "wires". 

Most of them are two-story houses, while they are actually divided into two different yet united sections. The front part is the apparent one, i.e. the facade. The back part is built in a cave dug into the volcanic rocks. The cave functioned as a storehouse for the various tools of the fishermen - both for fishing and for repairing the boats.
Regarding their coloring, syrmata have whitewashed walls and vividly-colored doors, shutters, stairs and railings. The most common ones are blue, red, green and yellow. Fishermen usually chose the same color their boat had.

Nowadays, very few syrmata retain their original use. Most of them have been converted into holiday homes or tourist accommodation.