The history of Sifnos

The origin of the name is not certain, as some speculate that it comes from the son of an attic hereo, Sounios, and others from the adjective “sifnos” that means empty, because of the mines that the island used to have. In this Cycladic island, the civilisation laid its foundations since the end of the 5th millennium BC. The evolution was continuous and, during the Early Bronze Age, an important culture was developed in the area of the Cyclades, called the Cycladic culture. With the use of materials such as clay, marble, mineral colours, ochre and plaster (after the discovery of quicklime), and with the inspiration from the natural environment, the Cycladic people (and among them the people of Sifnos) developed a person-centred civilisation that was born in order to satisfy the aesthetic needs of everyday people and not to serve supernatural forces or to praise some dynast.

From the beginning of the settlement of Sifnos, the inhabitants’ main activities were related to agriculture, the farming of animals, ceramics, shipping, trade and metallurgy. According to Herodotus, the 6th century BC was an era of great prosperity, since great quantities of silver and gold were being mined.


You can start sightseeing by visiting the Acropolis of Agios Andreas and the Castle and continue to the archaeological museum of Sifnos, which, though small, contains more than 1,000 exhibits that date back to the 8th-1st century BC.

You can also go through the Folklore Museum in the centre of Apollonia, where you can find various objects that make up the history of the island.

It is also worth visiting some of the churches of Sifnos that have been marked as historical sights. The Monastery of the Virgin Mary of Sifnos Chryssopigi is considered as one of the best ones. Apart from that, you could visit the church of Panagia “Angeloktisti” in the village of Katavati, the Monastery of Prophitis Helias the Psilos with its catacombs, the Monastery of Chrissostomos in Kato Petali, the Panagia the Gournia in the village of Pano Petali, Agios Antypas in Pano Petali, Agios Konstantinos in Artemonas, the Panagia of Ammos and the Panagia Kochi in Artemonas, the church of Panagia Eleoussa in Kastro, the Monasteries of Panagia Poulati and Panagia tou Vounou.

Don’t miss out on going to the seventy-six ancient towers that were built all over the island between the 6th and the 3rd century BC. Among them, the ones that stand out are White Tower (Aspros Pyrgos) on the road to Platys Gialos, the the Black Tower in Exambela village and the  Tower of Katavati on the road to Vathi, which are maintained in a great condition.