The Red House (Kokkinospito) of Syros

January 17, 2024

Nestled amidst the tranquil landscape of Episkopio, a mere five kilometres from the vibrant hub of Ermoupolis, stands the enigmatic Red House (Kokkino Spiti), an imposing two-story mansion shrouded in an aura of mystery and intrigue. Its crimson façade, a stark contrast against the whitewashed Cycladic architecture, has captivated the imaginations of locals and visitors alike for generations.

The Red House’s captivating history dates back to the late 19th century when it was constructed as a grand residence for a wealthy Greek family. Over time, however, the house fell into disrepair and became a symbol of desolation, its once vibrant rooms now echoing with tales of tragedy and paranormal phenomena.

Legend has it that the house was once inhabited by a young French woman named Marina, who married a Greek sailor named G. Reizis. Upon settling in Episkopio, Marina was ostracized by her mother-in-law and isolated from her husband, often away at sea. As a result, she sought solace in an intimate relationship with her brother-in-law, a secret that her unforgiving mother-in-law soon discovered.

The revelation of this forbidden affair triggered a series of tragic events. The brother-in-law, overwhelmed with guilt and shame, took his own life, leaving Marina grief-stricken and consumed by remorse. Unable to bear the weight of her actions, she followed suit, her sorrow etched into the very walls of the Red House.

These tragic events have fueled the belief that the Red House is haunted by the restless spirits of Marina and her ill-fated lovers. Locals recount tales of hearing eerie weeping, mournful cries, and the playful laughter of children echoing from within its crumbling walls. The surrounding area, once home to a flowing water stream, is said to possess otherworldly or even macabre properties.

Despite its chilling reputation, the Red House has also captured the artistic imagination. The renowned Greek novelist M. Karagatsis was inspired by the house’s tragic past, incorporating it as a central motif in his 1953 novel “The Great Chimera.” Similarly, the Greek poet Manos Eleftheriou immortalized the Red House in his 1962 poem “Episkopio.”

Today, the Red House is a haunting reminder of the past, its dilapidated grandeur beckoning visitors to explore its enigmatic aura. While the house remains unoccupied, its beautifully painted walls and exceptional ceiling murals are silent testaments to a forgotten era.

Whether you believe in its supernatural associations or appreciate its historical significance, the Red House of Syros is an unforgettable destination, a place where the boundaries between reality and the supernatural blur, leaving an indelible mark on the hearts and minds of those who dare to venture within its enigmatic embrace.

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