According to tradition, the island was named after Sifnos, son of the hero Sounion of Attica. At different periods, it has been known alternately as Akis (perhaps because of its pointed shape) and Merope (a reference to the daughter of Ariadne and Oenopas and granddaughter of King Minos of Crete). The name Sifnos has held since Frankish rule, with variants such as Sifounos, Sifanos, Sifano, Sifana, and Sifanta.

3000-2000 B.C.: Sifnos is inhabited by the Aegeans; evidence suggests mining activity on the island.

1130-1120 B.C.: The Ionians arrive on the island from Athens; it's believed they founded a city at the site of present-day Kastro.

8th-5th century B.C.: Sifnos flourishes thanks to its mining; the island mints its own coin.

525 B.C.: The Sifnians dedicate a treasury at Delphi.

5th-4th century B.C.: Sifnos takes part in the Battle of Salamis against the Persians.

388 B.C.: The island passes under Macedonian rule.

4th-3rd century B.C.: The royal physician Diphilos of Sifnos writes his book on nutrition and Malakos write his chronicle of life on Sifnos.

146-324 B.C.: Sifnos comes under Roman rule.

1207-1262: Sifnos is under Frankish rule.

1279-1307: Sifnos returns to Byzantine rule.

1537-1566: The pirate Barbarossa captures the island and submits it to Turkish rule. Its governed by the Gozzadini dynasty, under Turkish dominion, through 1617.

1617-1821: The island is governed by the head of the Turkish fleet, Capudan Pasha.

1642: Vassileios Logothetis, a wealthy merchant and commissioner, founds the Panayia Vrysiani Monastery.

1646-1797: Sifnos becomes the seat of an archdiocese with jurisdiction over eleven islands when the See of Sifnomilos is founded (1797-1852).

1650: A church dedicated to the island's patron saint, Panayia Chrysopiyi, is built over an ancient temple. The church, one of 230 on the island, remains active to this day.

1687-1854: Education reaches a peak with the founded of the School of the Holy Sepulchre, also known as the School of the Archipelagos.

1770-1774: Sifnos comes under Russian rule.

1821: 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) raises the standard of the revolution over the Sifnos school; later he lands in the Peloponnese in the command of a contingent of 150 fighters.

1883: Kamares are established as the island's official port.

1914: The Municipality of Sifnos is split into the towns of Apollonia and Artemonas.

1941-1944: Sifnos is occupied by the Italians.

1999: A single Municipality of Sifnos is restored.



Sifnos is part of the island complex of the West Cyclades, in the Aegean Sea and it is situated at the centre of the triangle, which is set by the islands Serifos, Kimolos and Antiparos. The island’s shape is triangular and it is situated 75 sea miles away from Piraeus.

Sifnos occupies 74 square kilometres; Its coastline is divided in very traditional bays and little gulfs and it covers about 70 km. Administratively, Sifnos belongs to the Prefecture of Cyclades, the capital of which is Ermoupoli of Syros and ecclesiastically it belongs to the Metropolis of Syros.

The capital of Sifnos since 1836 is Apollonia, which is also called Stavri and spreads amphitheatrically along three hills in the center of Sifnos, while in the west, there is its picturesque port, Kamares.



The natural landscape of the island is mainly characterized by shrubby vegetation since the island does not boast high forests. As such, the trees that dominate the landscape are Schinus trees and a species of a small sized Cedrus ("fides" in the local dialect or scientifically "Juniperus Phoenicea"), which is a protected species.

Its highest summit is at the central part of the island and it is Prophitis Helias with an altitude of 650m. Then, there is also Agios Symeon, Prophitis Helias of Troullaki and Agios Andreas with altitudes 490m. 465m. and 425m. respectively.

The torrent Livadas has its source at the central part of Sifnos; its length is 5,5 km. and it flows into the bay of Kamares. One more torrent traverses the island and it is 3 kilometers long. It is the torrent of Erkies which has its source from the east and flows into the bay Seralia of Kastro. There are not any other small islands around Sifnos, besides the uninhabited desert islet Kitriani, at the south part of the island, near the cape Kontos.


Sifnos has a Mediterranean climate, with mild winters and cool summers.
The residents of Sifnos are mainly engaged in agriculture, livestock, fishing, pottery and tourism.