INFORMATION ABOUT SIFNOS ISLAND
Sifnos, belongs to the Western Cyclades. The island combines natural beauty with elements of intense Cycladic culture offering unforgettable holidays.
It is located between the islands of Kimolo (10 nautical miles), Serifos (12 nautical miles), Paros (14 nautical miles) and Milos (20 nautical miles). In antiquity the island was known as Akis because it is shaped like a slightly elongated oval. It reaches 18 kilometers at its longest point on the north-south axis and 8 kilometers at it’s widest on the east-west axis. The island covers an area of 74 sq. kilometers, with a total shoreline of 28 nautical miles and abstains 75 naval miles from Piraeus.
Sifnos’s terrain is slightly rugged, rising to 680 meters at its highest peak, Profitis Ilias or Ai Niyias. In a small distance just off Platis Yialos on the southeastern coast, we meet the deserted island Kitriani with the unique small church of Panayia Kypriani built in the 10th - 11th century. Administratively Kitriani belongs to Sifnos.
The permanent residents of the island are almost 2.000. The main occupation of the residents is pottery. The residents of the island are considered the best craftsmen of Cyclades. Agriculture, stockbreeding, fishing, ceramics, are also main occupations of the island’s residents. A large number of males are employed in the merchant marine and tourism also occupies a large segment of the population.
Local products include honey, wine, cheese, capers, figs, almond sweets, bourekia, almond cookies, bread rings, pastelli (nut and honey bars), honey pie, and, of course, ceramics and weaving.
Sifnos administratively belongs to Eparcheio of Milos and the Cyclades Prefecture. In 1914 the island was separated in two Communities, Apollonias and Artemona. In 1999 the conjunction of these two communities constitutes today the Municipality of Sifnos.
SIFNOS ISLAND HISTORY
The island took his name from Sifnos, son of hero of Attica Soynio. The island had also other names through the years; one of them was Akis because it is shaped like a slightly elongated oval. During the period of Minoans the island was named Meropi from the grandson of Minoa daughter of Ariadnis and Oinopiona. The name Sifnos has held since Frankish rule, with variants such as Sifounos, Sifanos, Sifano, Sifana, and Sifanta.
In 3000-2000 B.C. Sifnos is inhabited by the Aegeans; evidence suggests mining activity on the island. In 1130-1120 B.C. the Ionians arrive from Athens; it’s believed they founded a city at the site of present-day Kastro. The 8th - 5th century the island flourished economically thanks to its mining wealth; the island mints its own coin. In 525 B.C. the Sifnians dedicate a treasury at Delphi and in 388 B.C. Sifnos passes under Macedonian rule. In 5th-4th century B.C. the island takes part in the Battle of Salamis against the Persians.
In 4th - 3rd century the royal physician Diphilos of Sifnos writes his book on nutrition and Malakos write his chronicle of life on Sifnos. In 146 - 324 B.C the island comes under Roman rule, and around 1207 - 1262 is under the Frankish rule. The island returns to Byzantine rule in 1279 until 1307. In 1537 – 1566 the pirate Barbarossa captures the island and submits it to Turkish rule. During the period of the Ottoman domination (1617 - 1821) it’s governed by the Gozzadini dynasty, under Turkish dominion, through 1617. The island is governed by the head of the Turkish fleet, Capudan Pasha. In 1642 the delegate of Sifnos Vassilios Logothetis, a wealthy merchant and commissioner, founds the monastery of Panayia Vrysiani. Sifnos becomes the seat of an Archdiocese with jurisdiction over eleven when the See of Sifnomilos is founded (1797-1852).
In 1941 until 1944 Sifnos is occupied by the Italians and in 1999 the single Municipality of Sifnos is restored.
In 1650 the island’s patron saing, Panagia Chrysopigi, is built over an ancient temple. The church, one of 230 on the island, remains active until today.
The education in Sifnos reaches a peak in 1687 - 1854, where the Faculty of Holy Sepulchre is founded, also known as the School of the Archipelagos.
The Russians conquer the island in 1770 and keep it in their sovereignty up to 1774.
A number of islanders claim prominent roles in the Greek independence revolt, among them Nikolaos Gryparis, Dimitris Lagos and Yoryios Baos. In 1821 Nikolaos Chrysogelos (1780-1857) raised the flag of Revolution over the school of Sifnos; later he lands in the Peloponnese in the command of a contingent of 150 fighters.
In 1883 the residents established Kamares as the official harbour of the island and in 1914 the Municipality of Sifnos is separated in two communities of Apollonia and Artemonas.