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GREECE > CYCLADES > SIFNOS > HISTORY
HISTORY
Sifnos is an island with long history. It was one of the richest islands in ancient times, thanks to the mineral deposits of gold and silver. She met with wealth and fame, but also poverty and declension.
She was reborn through her ashes and went on with her trip to time. Today, carrying the weight of her history, Sifnos allures visitors in the neighborhoods of yesterday and reveals them her secrets.
Names given to the island are Meropi, Akis, Sifanos, Sifana and Sifanto. The name Sifnos, according to mythology, was taken from Sifnos, Sounios’ son.
The first tracks of inhabitation found in the island date back to neolithic times. One of the most ancient civilizations of Europe was developed then in Sifnos.
As first residents of the island are mentioned Kares and Phinics.
Ions came to the island in 1130-1120BC and as estimated from findings, they established the ancient capital of Sifnos, “asti” in the place of today Castle.
From the 8th to the 5th BC Sifnos flourished due to the gold and silver minerals she had.
The island then cut its own coin and established the famous “treasure of Sifnos” in Delfis. It is the most important structure showing the island’s wealth. Apollo’s Iero built in Delfis around 525BC, from profits of Sifnos’ gold mines, was so glorious that impressed even the priests who paid honors to the residents of Sifnos for their donation.
But at sometime the mines were ruined probably by some inexplicable geological catastrophe.
Sifnos then lost its glory.
In 480BC the residents of Sifnos took part in Salamina’s sea battle.
Sifnos later became part of the Athenaeum Alliance.
The period of roman domination in Sifnos lasted from 146 to 324BC.
During protobyzantine period the island was part of the “Eparchy of Islands” with Rhodes as her capital. While in the afterbyzantine period, 610-1204, Sifnos was part of the “Thema of Aegean Sea”.
The period of Venetian rule begins for Sifnos, as for the rest Cyclades islands, in 1207 when Marcus Sanoudos conquered the island. A turbulent period follows when the island meets a lot of catastrophes and plunders by various invaders.
Around 1580 the island is under Ottoman domination. In 16th and 17th century Sifnos although being under the Turkish, flourishes and evolves into a trade center of the time.
In the 1821 Revolution, Sifnos participated in the war and apart from residents, offered financial help. It was attached to Greece in 1832.
In the last years Sifnos followed a common route with the young Greek Union. It had financial crisis, but managed to reconstitute. Today it is a favorite summer destination with international fame.
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