SIFNOS - POET'S ISLAND
Sifnos is one of the most important islands of the Cyclades between Kimolos, Serifos, Paros and Milos with a great history from antiquity until today. The ancient mines of the island that led to the significant development of pottery were known throughout the ancient world. This unique historical tradition is preserved to this day with respect to the history and development it brought. There are many that compose the unique beauty of the island such as the traditional settlements with beautiful paths, beaches full of natural beauty, refined traditional local delicacies and products. The capital of the island is Apollonia or Stavri, whose name is dedicated to the god Apollo, built amphitheatrically on three hills in the center of Sifnos with its unique Cycladic architecture that impresses. In the central square of Heroes is the folklore museum of the Association of Sifnia that includes exhibits from the traditional life of the island such as agricultural tools, household items, local costumes, etc.
The second largest settlement, Artemonas, took its name from the ancient temple located in the church of Panagia Kochi, dedicated to Apollo's sister, goddess Artemis. It enchants with the view of the neoclassical mansions, the gardens and the flowered courtyards. On the east side of the island, is the traditional Castle, the ancient capital of Sifnos which was a fortress while in its current form is a sample of a castle of the Venetian period. It is worth visiting the Archaeological Museum which includes collections of archaic and Hellenistic sculptures. The settlement of Chrysopigi is a pole of attraction with the Monastery of Panagia Chrysopigi built on a rock, at the cape of the bay of Faros. One of the most famous miracles is the salvation of the island from the plague epidemic in 1676, while in 1964, Panagia Chrysopigi was proclaimed protector of Sifnos. It is worth mentioning that on the island there are a total of 227 churches with the most important being Panagia Vryssi, the Monastery of Panagia Vounou, Aggeloktisti Katavati, Agios Sozon, Panagia Ta Gournia, Panagia Ammos, Agios Georgios Afentis, Agios Loukas Constantine.
There are a total of 13 habitable settlements characterized by Cycladic architecture. White houses, clay chimneys known as "flari", cobbled courtyards, traditional paths and dry stones are some of the main features of the island. Kamares is the port and the largest coastal settlement on the island. On the opposite side of "Pera Panta'', is the area of Agia Marina from the homonymous church on the hill. From Kamares start hiking routes to the sanctuary of the Nymphs in Korakies, the Black Cave, the facilities of the old mines and the NATURA area that stretches from the mountain of Profitis Ilias to the west coast of the island. The lighthouse was the port of Sifnos until 1883 and took its name from the ancient tower that existed on the beach. At its pier there is a small stone theater where various cultural events take place. The settlement of Katavati, which includes the area of Eleimonas, is the birthplace of the philosopher and great theologian Apostolos Makrakis with his tomb in the church of Evangelistria and his marble bust in the square of the same name.
The environmental wealth of Sifnos has been characterized as a landscape of special natural beauty with rare natural beauties. The NATURA area is home to 39 species of birds, 19 rare, mainly endemic, species of animals and plants. In the sea part there is rich vegetation with an impressive alternation of small coves and rocky shores. Sifnos has beaches for all the wishes of the visitors. Most of them are accessible by road, while some others can be reached by traditional trails or by boat. The most cosmopolitan beach, Platis Gialos, is large, with fine sand and tamarisk trees for shade while it is fully organized. The beach of Kamares is the first one that comes out of the boat with golden fine sand, shade from tamarisk trees and well organized in a small percentage of its area. Spilia is a small cove with pebbles next to Kamares and is a secluded beach with few people and small pebbles. The beach of Glyfos, named after the well with glyph water, is located on the right side of the beach of Faros. The rocks of Chrysopigi are also the favorite base of many swimmers.
The island is famous for the festivals that take place all year round in the churches and chapels of the island where one enjoys the wonderful view. The most famous festival of the island is the patron saint of the island Panagia Chrysopigi which is celebrated on the Ascension. Traditional music and local traditional food are characterized by the festivals organized by the islanders called "fairs". The nobility of Sifnos is due to the cultural and spiritual tradition of the island that has produced excellent poets, writers, folklorists, journalists and scholars. It bears the title of "island of poets" for this reason in the sights of culture one can find busts of important Sifnians who excelled in the field of letters, arts and history. It is also the birthplace of the most famous Greek chef and great teacher of modern cooking, Nikolaos Celemente, so the island is rightly famous for its traditional local cuisine. Every year, in Artemonas Square, the unique festival of Cycladic gastronomy "Nikolaos Tselementes" is organized in his honor.
In Sifnos, the traditional recipes and the unique local flavors that one must try and will be found almost everywhere are many. Typical are the chickpea meatballs, the caper salad, the traditional revitada that is baked all night in a wood oven in a special clay pot, the skepastaria and the mastelo that is lamb or goat with wine and dill which is the Easter food of the island. The cheeses of the island are also special, such as: manoura gylomeni (a spicy cheese with a special taste, coated with the wine rye), chloromanoura (soft cheese produced mainly in spring), mizithra or xinomizithra (soft cream cheese that accompanies mainly) etc. Apart from the local food, there are many sweets with the most famous being the casserole and baked macaroons, the pastels, the gingerbread (sweet from honey and mizithra), the loli (something like a juicy cake with pumpkin and raisins), the patties etc. . In Sifnos there is also a significant variety of wines resulting from vinification by various local producers which are on the market.