Halki is in the west of Rhodes, just 5 miles from Monolithos peninsula. There are two versions for the name of Halki. It was named so after the copper (halkos means copper in Greek) processing workshops, or it comes from the word "kalhi" or "halki" that means shell or cockle. Geographer Stravon referred to Halkia as "Halkia", while Thucysides called the island "Halki". In the early Christian period (4th till 6th century BC) important villages grew at Halki. The Knights of Rhodes (14th century) gave Halki as a feud to Assanti family from Ischia. Then they built their castle on the ruins of ancient acropolis. Among the coats of arms the one of the Great Magistrate D' Aubusson (1476-1530) has been repaired. He repaired the fortress after the devastating raid of the island by the Venetians. In the middle of 19th century Halki, although under Turkish rule, reaches its apogee: With Simi, Kalymnos and Kastellorizo they developed their commerce and sponge diving, while school are established and the education of the people grew rapidly. In the last years of the Turkish rule and during the Italians' rule, the traditional privileges were removed, commerce and sponge diving were badly hit and emigration started. In 1912 the Italians conquered Halki, first militarily and then politically after 1923. In the 2nd World War Halki fought and became famous thanks to heroes such as Alexander Diakos and Captain Diogenis Fanourakis.
HISTORICAL LANDMARKS & MONUMENTS
Fort of Knights of St. John (15th cent.): Built in NE of island, above well-preserved castle dating from Hellenistic period, and close to remains of ancient city.
Funerary monuments: More than 20 graves and a number of finds were uncovered in 1930 in the only systematic excavation carried out on the island.
Arapi Cave: Ancient grave.
Indications of an ancient settlement (Horio): Ancient fragments were found incorporated in the wall of the cemetery, where large, hewn stones, walls and ceramic ware attest the existence of an ancient settlement.
Isodomic wall (Horio- 4th cent. BC): At entry to castle, above the Aghia Triada monastery, we see the inscription «ΙΣΑΝΔΡΟΣ ΙΑΡΑΤΕΥΣ».
Doric capital (Horio- 4th cent. BC): At Monastery of Aghios Konstantinos.
Altar (Foiniki): At Church of Ai-Zacharias, with a bucranium relief.
Kammenos Spilios (Burnt cave) (8km from Niborio): In 1658 the Venetian Morozini, to take revenge on the Chalkians, who had informed the people of Rhodes of his presence, thereby ruining his plans for a surprise attack, murdered the people hiding in the cave by setting a fire at the mouth of the cave.
Three windmills: Recently repaired, built high up in the left-hand part of the island, they offer a magnificent view of the harbour.
Horio (Abandoned village) (1 hour from harbour): The old capital of Halki, built on a carefully selected site to avoid pirate raids. There is a castle in the region (14th-15th cent.) and many stone-built houses, now half-ruined, and a cemetery.
Church of Aghios Ioannis and Monastery of Aghia Triada: Within the castle, with wall paintings.
Monastery of Aghios Ioannis Alarkas: (West of island) : The most important place of worship on the island. The icon is dated 1835 and bears the letters «ΙωΑΧΣΠΘ», but the Monasteries must have been built much earlier. A short distance away are the Monasteries of Agia Triada Stavrou tou Xylou and Panagia "Ettrias" (Odogitria).
Early Christian basilicas:
At Niborio, a basilica with mosaic floor, at the Viglimia a three-aisled basilica, at Limenaria atree-aisled church with marble decoration, at Koka a tree-aisled hurch with architectural features from various periods, and two basilicas on the little of Alimia.
Notable wall paintings: At the churches of Aghios Nikitas(Amali), Taxiarchis Panormitis(Koka), Aghios Georgios, Panayia Enniameritissa and Aghios Andreas (vincinity of Antramasos), Aghios Zacharias(Foiniki), Aghia Triada, Panayia Portiani and Metamorfosi tou Sotiros(Horio) and Aghios Nikolas(Kastro).
Churches without wall paintings: Aghios Nektariso(Horio), Panayia (Horio, there is religious festival on15/8), nameless church near Prtiani (Horio), Aghios Nikolaos (Niborio).
MUSEUMS, EXHIBITIONS, LIBRARIES
This section is still under construction.
Nimborio Harbor: Built at the foot of a mountain it is today the only inhabited region in Halki. The houses, "Italian" architectural style and neoclassic, two-floor with tiled roofs, with five windows, one big door in each floor and pediments with "eye", reach the sea and the whole village has an air of island elegance.
Aghios Nikolaos bell tower (Nimborios): It is supported on an arch that contains ancient marble pieces from the temple of Apollo.
Roloi (The Clock): A donation of people from Halki living abroad, a building in front of the Town Hall, it is a sample of excellent architecture with twin side staircases and rich decoration.
Post Office: Built in the familiar architectural style imposed by the Italians throughout the Dodecanese, with curves and geometric patterns.
Hotel Halki (left of the harbor): An excellent sample of past elegance, that used to be a sponge storehouse.
Kifes: Old sheepfolds made of big stones and a second layer of external wall, scattered throughout Halki.
We can see ancient pieces with architectural elements with inscriptions built in the house walls and the bell tower of Aghios Nikolaos.
The main religious festivals of Aghios Ioannis, with deep roots in the hearts of the local people, and Panayia Horiani, bring people born in Halki and living all over the world, and thus constitute perhaps one of the elements that bond emigrants and local people with strong ties. Days before the festivals, the local people paint the churches white and they polish the items of the church.
Panayia Horiani festival (15/8): In the eve, an evening mass takes place and festivities follow with dancing, food and joyful or teasing songs till morning. Many people stay to listen to the morning mass.
Aghios Ioannis festival (29/8): In the eve the monastery offers the people lamb from the monastery sheepfolds with potatoes or spaghetti and snacks. The following day breakfast is offered with honey and meatless lunch.
Other important festivals and events: monastery of Stavros festival (14/9), "Palarniotis" 98/11), Gianni Konta (Easter Tuesday) at Signi, festival of Aghios Georgios (at a precipitous location in Halki and at the monastery in Alimnia). Panayia Ettria festival (23/8) at the yard of Aghios Giannias Alarkas.
Good Friday: Following "Apokathilosi" - the deposition of Christ from the Cross, the church closes and opens again at 1-2 in the morning of Saturday, when the epitaph will be sung and the Epitaph litany will take place along the whole length of the harbor. The children return home, hit the doors and windows with stones and shout "Gat up for the Epitaph". At the end of the litany, "bakatiarisma", a kind of auction, takes place.
The Resurrection is not celebrated as in the rest of Greece, but 3-4 in the morning.
Second Resurrection: Under the cypress of the church yard, they hang and burn the "Franc" a man of straw dressed in old clothes and a hat, that symbolized Judas.
Excellent honey is produced as well as wax, bread, cheese and other diary products made at "kifes" the characteristic elliptical stone houses of shepherds.
This section is still under construction.
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