Serifos History

Just like so many other parts of Greece, Serifos history relates to various myths and historical facts. The last prove that the island was already inhabited since Prehistoric times, according to the findings in Koutalas Cave. The Cretans came in the historical times and their economy was based on exploiting the mines of Serifos. After the Cretans, Serifos was inhabited by the Phoenicians and then by the Mycenaeans. These settlements left many traces like tombs, the 5th century White Tower and other monuments of different origins.

Ancient times

Later on, in the 6th century BC, the island had a rapid development, thanks to the mining activity. By those times, Serifos had already been a colony and was living in a democracy. In addition, it is part of the Athenian Alliance and participates in the Persian wars. However, there are not many findings regarding this period, since many of them have been looted, while others are simply lost. So the few pieces that exist today are hosted at the Archaeological Museum in Chora. In addition, the Hellenistic period has left a wide range of monuments, such as Grias Castle, with its remaining sections of the walls, an oil press, and various clay and stone elements, among others.

However, in 146 BC, the island suffers the Roman invasion during the pirate attacks. But this did not mean that Serifos completely lost its autonomy since according to the Roman use, the conquered locations could choose their direct governors. Serifos was also taken advantage by Romans as a destination for political exiles.

Medieval times

Then, the Byzantine period began, but it did not necessarily mean an abrupt change in terms of organization and development. The later Venetian domination, however, produced many improvements in economic as well as in cultural terms. This development has left traces that remain until our days. The cultural development of Serifos is based on the Venetian constructions like the imposing buildings that you can see in Chora, whereas the reopening of the mines after 1000 years of inactivity was an important source for economic growth.

After this flourishing period for Serifos, a dark stage started when the violent Turkish domination combined with constant pirate attacks began and the mines were closed once again. The history of the mines, the main economic resource of the island, continues on to the 19th century when the state of Greece conceded for the first time some mine companies to reopen and exploit the mines. In fact, along with history, the flourishing of this place has been defined by the utilization of this resource.

Present times

Today, although the population has decreased and the remaining inhabitants are devoted to agriculture and fishing, Serifos manages to attract tourists by means of its natural beauty, which is also one of its main current economic resources, hosting thousands of tourists every year.