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Chapels in silence of the mountains

Chalki (Halki, Khalki, also Chalce; Greek: Χάλκη) is a Greek island and municipality in the Dodecanese archipelago in the Aegean Sea, some 6 km west of Rhodes. With the area of 28 km˛ (11 sq. mi.), it is the smallest inhabited island of Dodecanese. It has permanent population of 330 (much increased during the summer months), concentrated in the only village Emborio (official name Chalki). The 2001 census showed a population of 313 inhabitants, making it the smallest municipality (category dímos, Greek δήμος) in Greece; however, there are many smaller communes (category koinótita, Greek κοινότητα). The community is divided in two parts, Chorio and the port. The island supported a much larger population but following emigration in the mid twentieth century Chorio was almost completely abandoned. A ruined medieval castle of the Knights of St. John overlooks the old town and the chapel contains some of the original frescoes.
There is virtually no natural water supply on the island and rainfall is collected in large cisterns. Drinking water is brought in from Rhodes but there can be shortages during the summer months with the increased population. The island's primary industry is tourism, although fishing is also substantial.

History

Chalki possibly got its name from the copper (in Greek chalkos) workshops that were there in ancient times. The Titans were according to Greek mythology the first inhabitants of all the surrounding islands. The Pelasgians lived here for a long time, leaving several constructions behind, before they were succeeded by the Carians, the Dorians and later the Phoenicians. Aretanassa, the illustrious queen of Halki lived here once, before being exiled in Karpathos where she committed suicide after her husband's death. Remains of three temples of the god Apollo are preseved at the location of Pefkia, today's Nimborio (along the coastline). The god was worshipped here with exceptional honours. During the flourishing period of the Athenian state, Chalki regularly paid the alliance taxes. In the 7th century it is concered by the Arabs, until 825 when it is liberated. Venetians and Genovians arrived on the island in 1204 and repaired the ancient acropolis, building at the same time a fortress on the island of Alimia. In 1523 Chalki was conquered by the Turks. It takes part in the 1821 revolution, it is conquered by the Italians in 1912 and finally is annexed to Greece along with the rest of the Dodecanese.(Source: Dodecanese islands and Wikipedia)

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Additional Photos by George Rumpler (Budapestman) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 8900 W: 3 N: 20435] (82620)
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