History of Sifnos
Traditional white Cycladic villages with numerous churches, picturesque lofts with pigeons, wind mills and beaches with crystal clear waters compose the picture of Sifnos. The island flourished during the ancient times due to the gold and silver mines and the quarry of "Sifno's stone". From 1687 until 1854 Sifnos was a great cultural center, and the famous Aghios Tafos (Holy Tomb) School, also known as "School of Archipelago” functioned here. The island has a great tradition in pottery art and even today still preserves many pottery-ceramic workshops. Sifnos lies between Serifos and Milos. The island extends over a surface of 74 km2, its coastline is 71 km long and it has 2.450 inhabitants.
Mythology has it that the island got its name from its first settler, Sifnos, who was the son of the hero Sounio. Although the island might have been inhabited in prehistoric times by different peoples, the most certain is that Aegeans and Minoans, Cretans, settled here in the 2nd Millennium BC.
Sifnos was one of the richest islands in ancient times because of its natural resources of gold, aluminum and silver. As far as we know, its first inhabitants came in around 1000-900 BC. and they soon discovered the precious metals. Trade went on with many of the other Cycladic islands, as well as with cities on the mainland.
According to mythology, the locals would give a golden egg to Apollo each year, but when the gold mines were almost depleted, they tried to fool the god by painting as stone in stead. This angered the god so much, that he sent the tyrant Polycrates who took all precious metals from the island.
The Romans used this island as a place for exiles, and later on, it went through the same problems with Venetians, Turks and pirates as the the rest of the Cyclades. It was liberated in 1830.