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History of the island

IMG_1908Halki has been inhabited since prehistoric years. For the origin of the name, according to the prevailing version it was named after the word “Calhoun” or “Halki”, which means purple. The other version is that it took its name from the copper-processing mines that existed there in ancient times (copper in Greek is “Halkos”). Geographer Strabo referred to Halki as “Halka”, while Thucydides as Halki.

According to mythology, the Titans were the first inhabitants, The Pelasgians lived on the island for many

years, leaving a lot of buildings behind them. Carians, Dorians and later the Phoenicians came after Pelasgians. Aretanassa, the queen of Halki lived there and then was exiled in Karpathos where she committed suicide when she learned about the death of her husband. Remains of the three temples in honor of the god Apollo are still in Pefkia. During the acne of the Athenian state, we find Halki paying the allied tax as well. In historical times occasionally reported as a vassal of Kamiros and is reported as an ally of the Athenians in the fiscal lists of the Delian League, which means they had an independent administrative status at that time.

Later Halki seems to be depended again on Kamiros and it follows the rise and the fall of Rhodes in the centuries that followed. In the 7th century the islamd was conquered by the Arabs until 825 when it was released. The Venetians and the Genovezeoi arrive there in 1204 and repaired the ancient acropolis, building at the same time a fortress on the island of Alimia. In the 14th century the Knights of Rhodes granted Halki as a fief to the Assanti family from Ischia. Then they built their castle on the ruins of the ancient citadel. Among survived armorial crest of the Grand Master D’ Aubusson (1476-1530), who restored the fort after a devasting raid Halki conceded by the Venetians. Population resorted in the Castle in case of raid.

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In 1523 Halki was conquered by the Turks. It takes part in the revolution of 1821, was conquered by the Italians in 1912 and then incorporated in Greece along with the rest of the Dodecanese. From the mid- 19th century the Turkish Halki reaches its peak. Along with Symi, Kalymnos and Kastelorizo, developed trade and sponge fishing. After the establishment of schools the educational level of the population notes a sharp increase. In the last years of Turkish rule and during the Italian rule the traditional privileges were abolished, trade and sponge fishing were affected and started the bleeding of immigration. In 1912 Halki, like the rest of Dodecanese come under Italian sovereignty, first military and political after 1923. During the Second World War Halki glorified thanks to the race and blood deserving local people as Lt. Alexandros Diakos and Captain Diogenes Fanourakis. Halki island has been included in the European network NATURA 2000 as a special protection area. Halki is one of the smaller islands of Dodecanese. It is beautiful with natural beauty and pristine beaches.

It is the ideal travel destination for those that try to avoid crowded and cosmopolitan tourist resorts and prefer a quiet island for nature walks and have achieved important historical monuments.