The northeast of the island

From a point c. 500 m east of Kastro, 5km of newly-completed road has been driven east through the landscape, down to the tiny beach and inlet of Aghios Giorgios Avlaki. At present there is nothing more than the chapel of St George and the beautiful bay; but it is intended that a new resort for the island be created here in the future. By continuing northwards from the point (1km east of Kastro) where the new road branches downhill to the east, you follow the ridge of the hills for a further 1.5km until the track ends at the chapel of Prophitis Elias. From here a path leads east to Cape Malta at the eastern extremity of the island: the 230m high south face of its promontory is occupied by the island’s other main archaeological site, known as Palaiokastro. Surface finds here suggest that there was settlement in the Early Bronze Age (3rd millennium bc). Most visible today however, are the remains of ancient and Byzantine habitation across the precipitous slope—which, if anything, is even steeper and more exposed than that of Ancient Sikinos. It appears that the ancients on this island relished inaccessibility and the excitement of living on preposterous gradients. (The walk is a minimum 2Β½ hour round-trip from Prophitis Elias. The path is clear at first: then, by following the highest contours, you pass the chapel of Aghia Triada, and thence descend to the narrow neck of the promontory.)
   On the low rise in the path beyond the first dip after leaving Prophitis Elias, two rocks with smooth faces have curious graffiti carved in them, which must date from the early 19th century: they figure two superimposed, quite carefully drawn sailing ships bearing the flag of the Greek Revolution and inscribed ‘ΙΕΔ’. Engraved more deeply are what look like Arabic initials—the letter ‘lām’ (ل‎), twice in succession.
   From a distance the bases of buildings, terracing and retaining walls across the upper reaches of the south slope of the promontory can be seen: these are composed of compact, roughly hewn and squared blocks. Just beyond the neck of the promontory at the western end of the in habited area is a deep cleft in the rock which appears to have been adapted into a natural cistern for water-collection. At the opposite end, quantities of fallen rubble-masonry end abruptly at the eastern perimeter of the settlement, which is clearly delimited, running down from the saddle between the two peaks of the promontory. What this mountain-clinging community must have done for a passable harbour, or even for drinking-water during the long summer months, is not clear; but their panoramic position meant that no maritime traffic south from the islands of Naxos and Ios (both clearly visible on the horizon) escaped their attention.

Sikinos Island is part of the Cyclades Island Group, Greece.

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