Kamenos Spilios (Burnt Cave): is considered one of the most important attractions of the island due to its beauty and historical importance. All the women and children of the island had taken refuge in the cave in the 17th century to escape the vengeful fury of the Italian Admiral Francisco Morosini, as the inhabitants of Halki had warned the Ottomans of Rhodes in time about the arrival of the Venetian armada.
The cave was impregnable and that was the reason why the Admiral lit large fires at the base of the cave, resulting in those who were inside to die of suffocation.
This is the reason why the cave got this name “Burnt Cave” since to this day there are obvious signs of smoke.
Access to the cave is on foot through a path.
The crystal-clear waters of Halki in combination with its underwater wealth, do not leave diving enthusiasts unmoved.
In recent years, the island has a diving center which offers many activities for all ages and all levels to suit everyone interested, always under the supervision of diving professionals.
Through diving you will discover the unique seabed of the island with its crystal-clear waters that have a clarity of 40 meters, the underwater caves of the island and the shipwrecks that are located around the island.
The island has a feast of gastronomic delicacies that you should not forget to try during your stay on the island.
- Halki spaghetti, handmade spaghetti with sauteed onion and local soft cheese from goat and sheep milk
- Halki dolmadas with minced meat
- Ofto stuffed goat baked in a traditional wood oven
- Fried or cooked fresh scallops
- Chalki shrimp, which is the smallest shrimp species. It is fried and eaten whole with their shell and is very tasty.
- Local cheeses (axevotyriasto and mizithra)
- Local honey, accompanying loukoumades and xerotigana
• Spoon sweets
Halki has several trails ideal for those who love this activity.
- Imborios – Chorio – Palarniotis: A beautiful route that passes through the Byzantine church of Agioi Anargyroi, the ancient, vaulted tomb of Spilio, Chorio (Village) and its old olive mill, Pano Vryti with the oldest spring of Chorio etc.
- Palarniotis – Agios Georgios Ryakiou: Route full of ruins of medieval churches, dry stones, and ruined windmills. During the hike you will encounter age-old trees, the acramites.
- Stavros tou Xilou (Cross of wood) – Kamenos Spilios (Burnt Cave)- Pyrgos: Very nice route with a half hour hike to Kamenos Spilios. From there there are two paths to Lefkos and Pyrgos.
- Imborios – Areta Beach: A route a little difficult, but in the end,you will be surprised. The descent to the beach needs special attention.
Knights Castle: located in the northeast of the island at the top of the hill of Agios Nikolaos, built on the foundations of a Hellenistic wall.
The founders of the castle were the Knights of Ioannina in the middle of the 14th century and their stay lasted until the island fell into the hands of the Ottoman Empire in 1522.
To get there today you must cross on foot the steep path that starts from the church of Panagia in Chorio (Village) and lasts about 20 minutes.
Today, the coat of arms of the Captain of the Knights (Pierre d’Aubusson) is preserved, which is integrated at the entrance of the castle and the church of Agios Nikolaos with frescoes inside the 15th and 17th centuries.
Temple of Apollo: in Pefkia are the ruins of the ancient temple. Some marble columns are preserved.
Chorio (Village) (Palio Chorio / Old Village): the old capital of the island that was abandoned in 1970. The churches of Agioi Anargyroi and Sotira, the small monasteries of Agia Triada, Agios Konstantinos and the church of Panagia Choriani are preserved from the settlement today. You should not forget to notice the walls that are in some destroyed houses, the sarcophagi, the scattered architectural parts of the cemetery as well as my two thrones are carved in the rock with the inscription “DIOS EKATIS”.
In the port of the island there is a marina where boats dock. From there the visitor can rent a boat or board local boats that make day trips. Starting your excursion, you can visit the beaches of the island which can only be reached by boat and take a dip in the crystal-clear waters of the island. You can also see the uninhabited islets that surround Halki and take a dip in the island of Alimia.
On this small uninhabited island of Alimia located between Halki and Rhodes you can relax on the beach with its golden sand and icy turquoise waters, see the kids who go down to the sea to cool off and find food, walk to virgin soil of the island which due to its rare beauty is part of the European network of protected areas Natura 2000. On the island you will see a small lake with salt water, which is one of the 37 natural wetlands of the Dodecanese.
Monastery of Taxiarchis Michael Panormitis / Palarniotis: located on the hill of Agios Onoufrios near Chorio (Village). The courtyard of the monastery is designed with geometric shapes of pebble mosaic and are an authentic example of Dodecanese art. Apart from the religious part, you will be surprised by the panoramic view from there.
Monastery of Agios Ioannis of Alarga: a very beautiful monastery on the west side of Halki in a remote area. The view from the monastery will impress you. The largest celebration of the island takes place on August 28 in the monastery.
Church of Agios Nikolaos: the imposing church of Agios Nikolaos is in the only settlement on the island today. The black and white mosaic courtyard and the church bell tower will pique your interest. It is worth mentioning that the bell tower of the temple was made of marble from the ancient temple of Apollo and is the highest bell tower of the Dodecanese.
Church of Panagia Choriani: a beautiful chapel located in the abandoned Chorio (Village). The frescoes inside the temple will impress you. The church celebrates the day of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary on August 15.
MUSEUMS & OTHER ATTRACTIONS
The Traditional House of Halki: is in Imborio and includes exhibits of objects of the cultural heritage of the island such as kitchen utensils and embroidery.
Ecclesiastical Museum: inside the church of Agios Nikolaos in Imborio there is a small ecclesiastical museum.
The Clock Tower: located in the port and settlement of the island of Imborio. The tower stands out for its unique architecture. It is of particular importance to the locals as it was built with the donations of the expatriate community of Halki.
Windmills: You should not miss to visit the windmills of the island located at the top of the hill above Imborio. The windmills are no longer operating, but they are a landmark of the island due to its long history.
FESTIVALS & EVENTS
On the island and especially in religious holidays important for the locals, festivals are organized with dance, food, and drink.
Ai Gianni Festival: takes place every year on August 28-29 at the monastery of the same name. In addition to the feast with the traditional dances, on the 28th of the month lamb with potatoes or spaghetti and appetizers are offered while on the day of the feast of the Saint, breakfast is served with honey and a fasting meal.
August 15th Festival: It is solemnly celebrated in Panagia Choriani, located in the abandoned settlement of Chorio, Halki. For the locals there is also a ritual which remains indelible in time. A few days before the feast of the Virgin Mary, they all clean the church together and on the 14th of August, they all start together for the Chorio (Village). The party includes music with lyre and couplets that evoke memories and emotions of people from Chalki from the ruined old capital of the island, the Chorio (Village).
Great festivals on the island where locals and foreigners become one dancing and having fun together are also the following:
- The festival at the monastery of Stavros on September 14
- The feast of Palarniotis on November 8
- The festival of Agios Georgios in the monastery of Alimnia
- The festival of Panagia Ettria on August 23 in the courtyard of Ai Giannis of Alarka
The customs of the Resurrection: during the Apostasy the church closes and opens in the early hours of Saturday. Then the praises are sung, and the procession of the Epitaph takes place along the port. The children knock on the doors and windows of the houses with stones and a ceremony for the epitaph is followed. At the end of the procession, there is a kind of
auction of the epitaph “bakatikiasma”. The Resurrection does not take place at midnight, as in the rest of Greece, but at 3-4 in the morning. On the Second Resurrection, under the cypress tree in the churchyard, they hang and burn the “Frank”, a straw man dressed in old clothes and a hat, which used to symbolize Judas.
The first half of September every year is held on the island cultural festival of international scope due to the characterization of the island as an Island of Peace and Friendship. In this context, visitors have fun listening to older and newer songs that have their roots on the island.
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