The Marble Walls of Sifnos

Today, our virtual tour will take us to tiny Sifnos, another of the Cycladic islands. Despite its relatively small size, the island of Sifnos enjoyed great financial prosperity in the Archaic Period, especially during the 6th century BCE.

Two ancient authors, historian Herodotus and travel writer Pausanias, say that this was due to mines of gold and silver, found on the island. Unfortunately, this economic boom was short-lived, as the mines were soon exhausted. By the 5th century BCE, the island had begun to decline.

The sources are corroborated by archaeological finds, such as the island’s ancient fortifications. Sifnian walls are unique, as they have been built entirely of white marble.

Today, in the village of Kastro, built on top of the island’s ancient Acropolis, one can still see parts of the ancient wall. They are the rectangular blocks of white local marble, under medieval additions (with various smaller stones) and more recent modifications.

the walls of Sifnos

The white marble glory of the ancient walls of Sifnos still shines below the Medieval repairs above.