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Sifnos is a kore—one of those elegantly draped young female figures that the Archaic islanders liked to carve out of the finest marble. Her beauty is graceful and modest. Unlike her parched neighbor Seriphos, just 19 km (12 mi) northwest, Sifnos is well watered and fertile, a garden island. But to passing boats she appears formidable, for her sweetness is guarded by steep cliffs, broken suddenly by only a few deep-cut bays with safe anchorage. The main towns of the island, Apollonia and Artemonas, are found along the central ridge, while the popular beaches are in the south; the north, where the ancient silver mines were, is sparsely inhabited. Because Sifnos is small (2,000 people) and relatively undeveloped (though ministers, ambassadors, and artists have houses here), her 35,000 tourists yearly overwhelm resources in August, when the beaches are clogged and the buses packed.
Sifnos at a Glance
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