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History - Μines

In the second half of the 19th century, Greece is possessed by a delirium for excavations and Serifos comes again into the foreground with the intensive exploitation of its bowels by the Gromans family that has left behind it a series of dramatic images: drifts – wounds on the body of the hard rock carved with pickaxes and sweat, rough stairs made of stone leading down to the blue sea and, on them, impudent, robust iron constructions – mirrors of their time; the Command Post at Mega Livadi, one of the most beautiful samples of neoclassical architecture and an ark of technology in the Aegean Sea is the ornament of the island.

Here, in August 1916, the first eight-hour employment agreement is signed with the blood of mine workers (with a great participation of women) and gendarmes, when the mine slaves form a society, on the initiative of their compatriot, Konstantinos Speras, who had lived abroad and had just returned to the island, in the first labour struggle of the twentieth century in Greece.

After World War Two, the international markets open, the third countries compete intensely with each other on the price of minerals and they gradually make the mining of any iron ore left from the extortionate exploitation by the Gromans uneconomic. Production drops and the mines finally close in 1963. Grass and shrubs cover the trails and the wagons fall prey to the time, some of them standing upside and some others turned over in an actually theatrical scene outside Mega Livadi that is almost depopulated. Thousands of mine workers leave the island that turns from a primary production site to a location providing high quality services.

Source: Μunicipality of Serifos