|“Owing its riches to a mineral wealth of gold and silver in antiquity, for the past two centuries Sifnos has been rich in poets, writers, ceramists, farmers and stone masons.”
Sifnos! The islandĒs Cycladic landscape has bloomed through a culture born out of daily life, celebrations, feasts, the whiteness of its houses, well-cared walking paths, fabulously preserved stone-walls that terrace the fields, wise cultivation of the land, the creation of artwork from clay, the harvesting of olives, the encounter with the saltiness of the blue sea.
Sifnos is one of the few islands that have kept their architectural landscape unaltered. Simplicity, aesthetics, the harmonious blending of the buildings with the beauty of the natural environment, the striking white against the greenish-brown stone walls, the grey of the rocks against the green of the bushes and the olive trees, together they create an air of simplicity that immediately charms visitors.
The rich tradition of Sifnos is alive and well.
The age-old art of the pinwheel that for hundreds of years made Sifnos the main supplier of household utensils across Greece and the Mediterranean – back when the word “tsikalas” (cooking vessel maker) was synonymous to “Sifniot” – is still one of the most profitable professions among the locals. It is an art that visitors can watch unfolding at one of the numerous ceramic workshops strewn around the island. Visitors can watch as earth is turned into a masterpiece taking on shape and usefulness, before they can make it their own.
The cultivation of land in Sifnos takes place with the very same traditional method as long ago, in well attended fields supported by terraced stone walls to this day. Sifniot farmers plant their summer produce, waterless most of the time, such as melons, watermelons, string beans, tomatoes, without the use of chemicals or fertilizers. The local villagers still use beasts of burden to thresh the sty in their fields.
Stock raising with herds of semi-wild goats and sheep still takes place with the same age-old methods, used to produce traditional varieties of cheeses, such as “manoura” and “myzithra”.
The culinary art, traditional cooking of delectable local dishes, such as “revithokeftedes”, “mastelo”, “kaparosalata”, baked chickpeas, traditional sweets, almond cookies, biscotti and “koulouria”; cooking and our products at the disposal of our visitors.
Our religious tradition in all its ceremonial glory; our feasts, uniquely taking place in far away monasteries, where, after the evening mass, the faithful share a meal of chickpeas, meat or fried codfish (depending on the religious occasion), accompanied with wine and traditional music, compliments of the “panigyra” (one of the faithful celebrating an event or nameday.
Our traditional music, our dances, songs, the local music-like dialect, our feasts and other merriments, make up our daily lives, our “weapon” for competitiveness in the tourist sector.
This is what makes us unique, this is what we promote; this is what we keep alive and unaltered.
The feasts – FEASTS, not festivals.
The merriments – MERRIMENTS, not happenings.
The celebrations – CELEBRATIONS, not parties or fiestas.
Visit us at www.sifnos.gr