Seriphos of Serifos - history


The inhospitable offshore islet of Seriphopoula has remarkably revealed traces of a human presence in the Late Neolithic period. In the west of Seriphos itself are settlements from the Early Cycladic period, with evidence of ore-mining and metallurgic activity at this early period. The first settlers in historic times were Aeolians from Thessaly: Herodotus says the island was later colonised by Ionians from Athens. In the 6th century bc the city of Seriphos, on the same site as today’s Chora, became prosperous through its metal mining activity, and issued its own coinage. The only substantial archaeological remains visible today are from the late 5th century bc and the Hellenistic period, when a network of towers and forts was erected in the south and west of the island to protect the lucrative metal trade. The island became a Roman possession in 146 bc. The mines continued to be exploited by them, and the island was used as a place of exile: Tacitus (Annals, IV. 21) relates how the outspoken orator, Cassius Severus, was exiled to Seriphos on a charge of lese-majeste, or ‘maiestas minuta populi Romani’, under Augustus, and died there around 35 AD.
   After the capture of Constantinople in 1204, the ownership of the island passed into the hands of the Venetian Ghisi and Giustiniani families, although it returned to Byzantine rule between 1276 and 1296 after being re-taken by the Veronese admiral Licario for Byzantium. A treaty in 1303 between Byzantium and Venice returned the island to Venetian possession, after which several names appear as prominent in the late 14th century—Ermolao Minotto, who reopened the mines to commercial activity, and Niccoli² Adoldo, a ruthless adventurer supported by Cretan mercenaries, who effectively pillaged the island in 1393. Cristoforo Buondelmonti visited Seriphos in c. 1421 and found the islanders living in fear of pirate attack. In 1537 Khaireddin Barbarossa captured the island for the Otto man Empire.
   In 1829 Seriphos joined the Greek State. The industrial exploitation of the iron mines re-opened with an official licence in 1867. Deteriorating safety and unreasonable demands on the employees led to a strike in 1916—one of the first and bloodiest in the history of Greece’s labour movement (see box below). The mines closed in 1963. The island now lives from a moderate seasonal tourism.

Seriphos or Serifos Island is part of the Cyclades Island Group, Greece.


Seriphos or Serifos Island, Greece.

G.A. Ferries and Ventouris Lines run services (4 hrs 30 mins) which together provide daily connections with Piraeus by car ferry. This is supplemented in the summer season by a daily service by faster boat, operated either by Aegean Speed Lines or Hellenic Seaways Highspeed, both of which take vehicles and make the journey in 2 hrs 30 mins. Nearly all services continue to Siphnos and Milos.

Seriphos Travel Guide


Seriphos or Serifos Island, Greece.

Livadi Beach
Livadakia BeachPopular sandy bay of Psili Ammos
Serifos or Seriphos Travel Guide


Seriphos or Serifos Island, Greece.

Taverna Marditsa by the beach at Megálo Livádi produces some of the best and simplest home-cooking on the island. One of the joys of Seriphos is its excellent fresh cognac-coloured wine: this can be purchased at "Loza", be low the castle in Chora, or be sampled together with mezés at the Café Stou Stratou in the picturesque square of the Demarcheion in Chora. The café also serves properly made Greek coffee.

Serifos or Seriphos Travel Guide


Seriphos or Serifos Island, Greece.

The island’s selection of accommodation is plentiful but does not offer great style. More comfortable than most are the well-equipped Studios Niobi (Easter to Oct), overlooking the bay of Livádi from the east side (T./fax. 22810 52564, The Hotel Naias in the port is open all year (T. 22810 51749). Currently there are few options available in the more picturesque setting of Chora: a modern and comfortable solution on the edge of Chora is Anatoli Studios (T. 22810 51510).

Serifos or Seriphos Travel Guide

practical info

Seriphos or Serifos Island, Greece.

840 05 Seriphos: area 74sq km; perimeter 83km; resident population 1262; max. altitude 583m. Port Authority: T. 22810 51470. Travel and information: Krinas Travel (T. 22810 51500, fax 51488), www.ser
Serifos or Seriphos Travel Guide

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