Chalki was designated by Unesco as the island of peace and friendship.
Pelasgi, Kares, Durians and Phoenicians all resided on the island at different times. Chalki owes its name to the copper mines which existed during medieval times.
Throughout antiquity, the island was divided into 30 municipalities and formed an alliance with Rhodes from an early stage. The ruins of three temples dedicated to Apollo, well preserved, confirm the fact that the god was worshiped throughout antiquity, at a time when Chalki was known mainly for its sponge fishing.
In the 14th century the Knights of Rhodes granted Chalki to the assanti Family as a fief. The family built their Castle above the ruins of an ancient fortressed acropolis. Further downhill, at trachia, ruins possibly from a prehistoric settlement as well as classical and Hellenistic walls have been discovered.
From the mid-19th century onwards and under Turkish domination Chalki reached the golden age of prosperity. Along with Symi, Kalymnos and Kastellorizo the islands developed their trade, sponge fishing and considerably increased the population’s intellectual and financial status.
Unfortunately, in the final years of Turkish rule and during Italian domination the privileged rights once given to the island were removed, trade and sponge fishing took a hit and the “bleeding” of the population with the wave of immigration started. Chalki’s integration with the rest of Greece took place in 1948.
Chalki is an island in the southeastern Aegean in the island complex of the Dodecanese with 478 inhabitants. Is located west and very close to Rhodes. To be exact, it is 36 n.m. from the port of Rhodes, 11 n.m. from Skala Kamirou and only 5 n.m. from cape Armenistis in Monolithos. It is located 230 n.m. away from Piraeus.
With a total extent of 27 km2 it is one of the smallest islands in the Dodecanese.
Its rocky coasts extend over 40.4 km forming a few beaches with sand and pebbles.
Chalki has a geographical orientation from East to West. The rocky islets of Nissaki, Agios Theodoros, Atrakoussa, Strongyli, Makri and Alimia, all in the east, are included in its own small island complex.
The only inhabited area on the island is the preserved settlement of Nimborio, built amphitheatrically inside a naturally protected bay on the eastern coast.
The territory of Chalki is semi-mountainous and barren. The highest peaks on the island are Merovigli (601m) on its NE part and the hill of Profitis Ilias (579m) in the central part. The terrain is semi-mountainous and infertile due to the earlier systematic overgrazing. Among the elevations there are lowland areas, such as the valleys of Pontami, Lentaki, Kissos and Zia.
The vegetation on the island is Mediterranean maquis consisting mainly of sclerophyllous scrublands and brushwood lands. Notable birds such as Cory's Shearwater, Eleonora's Falcon, Bonelli's Eagle, Phalacrocorax aristotelis and Larus audouinii find shelter on the coastal rocks.
The climate of the island is Mediterranean, with mild winters and cool summers.
The inhabitants of the island are engaged in fishing and tourism.