Sifnos is rather unique in the variety of ways its people decorate their chimney pots, called flaroi locally. The island is well-known amongst the Cyclades for its pottery with many a household boasting that its pots come from Sifnos. It is to such extravagant creations of clay that the Sifniotes have resorted to putting on their chimney tops that they have become decorative items on other islands on windows, inner yards or used in a variety of ways: from bird feeders to flower pots.
The Sifnos chimney pot has to have at least three exits because it is from three main directions that the island winds come from, so the smoke will be properly dispersed. The more exits, the more the work and the more expensive the chimney pot.
The obsession with whitewashed houses is such that smoke from old wood-fired ovens was carefully regulated for dispersal. Ovens were built in particular areas of the house with a special orientation so that both its inhabitants and their neighbours would not suffer if the wind changed direction.
An example from Serifos to show the difference.
Many a modern house in the Cyclades has a fireplace that remains unused because the flue doesn’t draw the gases away under certain wind conditions. Building an oven or a fireplace was an art which is now being lost.
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