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HISTORY OF SIKINOS

Sikinos is one of the most unspoiled islands in the Cyclades. This tiny island has a very particular identity eschewing the usual touristy clichés. It is an ideal destination for travelers looking for unique and authentic experiences.

Sikinos lies in the southern Aegean and is located between Ios and Folegandros. In the ancient times the its original name was Oinoe which derives from the word oinos [οίνος (gr.) = wine] revealing that Sikinos has been popular for wine cultivation. However, various stories lie behind the current name of the island.

Thoas, the king of Lemnos, had to leave to save himself from the women because they had started a revolt against all the males and slaughtered them one by one. He managed to escape by hiding in a trunk which was drifted to Oinoe where he had a son named Sikinos.

Sikinos’s name was changed during the Frankokratia and renamed to Sykandros due to the large fig production. Moreover, in the nautical charts of the time Sikinos appears with the name of Zetine or Setine and Setin.

Nowadays, there are two villages located at Sikinos, Allopronia, being the port, and another higher up in the hills called Chora. Chora is composed of two settlements adjacent to each other, Castro and Chorio. Castro’s name derives from the medieval castle of the 12th-13th century built on the top of the hill and Chorio is well known for its renovated traditional 400 years old houses.

Island’s trademark are the dry stones that cover almost the entire island. Dry stone is a building method by which structures are constructed from stones without any mortar to bind them together. Traditionally were used for the boundaries of fields and churchyards, but also for extensive agriculture – especially vineyards. Nowadays, this method has been almost abandoned by the younger generations. However, the drystone art was inscribed in 2018 on the UNESCO representative list of the intangible cultural heritage of humanity.

Sikinos is an island with a strong religious feeling. The Monastery of Episkopi (Byzantine temple) lying to the southwest of Chora is the most famous sightseeing of Sikinos. The temple was built in the 3rd century A.D. as a Roman tomb monument which later became the temple of Apollo the Pythious. During the 5th century, the temple was converted into a Christian church dedicated to the Dormition of the Virgin. During the restoration work in July 2018, the unplundered tomb of a prominent woman came to light. It is a place of special interest and it is well worth visiting.

Nowadays, Sikinos’s population is 200 peoples during the fall-winter season but during the summer season, the number increases and reaches up to 2.000 people. Sikinos produces wine, olive oil, capers and excellent quality thyme honey.

Sikinos is one of the most promising islands in the Cyclades and is waiting for you to explore it.