About Sifnos

Historical Facts

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historic info smallSifnos is located in the Aegean Sea, southwest of Cyclades, among Serifos, Kimolos and Paros, with 705 km of coastline. It owes its name to the son of Atticus hero of Sounion, the 1st settler of the island. According to another version, Sifnos means empty-hollow that refers to the existence of numerous pits, the result of intense mining activity. The first inhabitants of Pelasgians came to the island in the 3rd millennium, next up the Carians, the Leleges and the Phoenicians. They were expelled by the King of the Cretans, Minos, who installed his sons there, as new rulers. The island flourished in the 3rd millennium as the center of the early-Cycladic civilization according to the archaeological finds, while according to tradition, after the Trojan War, Ionians settled and upon their arrival a new era began, where the "asty" was founded on the eastern side, in Castle settlement. According to Herodotus, it was one of the richest parts of the world because of gold mines, silver mines, as the subsoil was rich in mineral wealth, minerals and metals of gold and silver, first did they cut gold coins and of course, because of the development of ceramic art. The earliest arts were practiced in the early-Cycladic period, with pottery being in the greatest place because of the abundance of refractory clay, climatic conditions, where they began to engage in the processing of the clay with a strong activity in the export trade.

Closely connected with the history of the island is the religious life that the inhabitants used, taking advantage of the privileges granted by the Turkish sultans for free expression of their christian faith. There were 237 churches and monasteries, the largest number in all the Cyclades, although many, proportional to the size of the island. In 1646, it was the archdiocese of many Cycladic islands. Most churches and monasteries of architectural and historical interest, as historical monuments, prompt the visitor to meet them even though none are active monasteries until today, but of great historical and invaluable importance. Notably, the visitor should be aware of the Vrysiani monastery in Exambela (17th century), the monastery of Prophet Elias on the highest mountain of the island (700 m), which was built above the ruins of an ancient city, the monastery of Panagia of Mountain (17th century) with amazing architectural beauty.

Panagia Chrysopigi, the patron saint, links her story with a series of religious traditions and legends, a point of reference for both the Siphnians and all the Orthodox Greeks. Also worth visiting is Agios Simeon over Kamares, Agios Nikitas in Selladi.

A unique place, of invaluable historical value, part of the findings of recent archaeological excavations, is the citadel (acropolis) of Agios Andreas. An ancient fortress, first archaeological site in terms of visit traffic, on the hillside with excavations that took place in the 70s and 80s and 2007-2008, brought to light a magnificent Mycenaean wall of the Acropolis, with dense urban fabric, including a large sanctuary, buildings and ancient finds, with a unique view of the Aegean Sea, which can be visited all year round. There we will meet the museum where excavations from the prehistoric times to the last antiquity are exhibited. In 2012 the venue was awarded the Europa Natura as an excellent example of cultural heritage preservation.

In Kastro (Castle) there is the 2nd important museum of the island, built by the archaeological service on a plot of land donated by Professor G. Maridakis. It is housed in a two storey building in the settlement, with many finds, statues, sculptures from the Archaic and Roman times, the 6th to the 1st century BC, with ceramics from the geometric to hellenistic as well as many coins, confirming the wealth of the time.

In addition, there is a Folklore museum in Apollonia, a museum of Ecclesiastical Art at the monastery of Vrissi in Exambella, where manuscripts, parchments, prints of old publications, reliquaries, sanctuary, etc. are exhibited in the monastery's premises.

We should not forget the ancient fortress and sanctuary on the hill of Agios Nikita (6th century), ancient towers of the 6th - 3rd century, the sanctuary of the Nymphs in Korakies, the ancient tomb of Soroudi (17th century), the ancient sanctuary on the hill of Prophet Elias Troulakiou. Places that should be known by the visitor, confirming the historical value of the island.

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