Remote Greek village captured by drone
The Antia villagers speak a unique language of whistles, in which each tone of whistling corresponds to a letter of the alphabet. By putting whistles of different tones in order, they form words. This way, they can talk and understand each other simply by whistling. Children learn the language at the age of 5 or 6.
The interesting custom – which also appears in the nearby villages of Simikouki and Evangelismos – dates back to the times of ancient Greece.
Some speculate that the residents of Antia got the language skills from the Persian soldiers who were guarding Greek prisoners in the Karystos area. After their defeat in the Battle of Salamis, the Persian army left the guards of Karystos behind, and they fled to the highlands around Antia to hide. There they mixed in with the local population and were assimilated by them.
Another theory wants the Antia villagers to be of Doric origin, because they don’t speak the arvanitika dialect like the surrounding populations.
A lesser known theory wants the fathers of the language of whistles to be residents Ainos in Thrace, who moved to the area in 1469 as prisoners of the Venetians.
The “sfyria” language was discovered by mass media in March 1969, when a group of rescuers was searching for the remains of a missing pilot whose plane had crashed in the ‘Ochi’ mountain area.
Although the remaining villagers are still whistling on Antia, its population has shrunk and the area is inhabited by elderly that are slowly dying. The villagers say that they would like to see their whistling language tradition continuing, but their kids mostly have left the village and very few know how to whistle.