Let’s go to Salamis news. The beautiful greek island of Salamina. From the heavily visited island of Salamina Greece. Island of typical natural beauty to the tour of the historic island. We will discover the port of Salamis and we will talk about the famous battle of Salamis and the Persian Greek relations forever divergent.
Where is Salamina? It is the nearest island to the Athenian region (= Attica). It is into the Gulf of Eleusis. It has 30,000 permanent inhabitants but in summer it can reach 250,000 inhabitants. It is a very visited city because it is near Athens and Piraeus. Between Perama and the port of Salamis in Paloukia, one of the highest rates of connections in Europe is recorded: a connection every quarter of an hour to the peak of the summer. Visitors come mostly from Piraeus and Athens; they wish to make a stay for swimming.
Why visit the island of Salamina? The island is underestimated at the tourist level among the Greeks perhaps because it is too close to the capital. Salamis or Salamina would be seen as a tourist landfill, better to avoid during summer time. However, I think that this island is a real treasure that must be absolutely visited by car for the reasons that I will evoke below. The island is known for its beautiful beaches, for the Euripides Theater, for its museums including its superb archaeological museum, for its religious tourism including the beautiful church Apeleftherotria but also for its ancient city with its port.
The ancient city of Salamis of the 5th cent BC. The island became part of the Athens region in 318 BC. Since then, the city of Salamina, with the island of the same name, began to prosper by integrating a major seaport and shopping center. In 1918, archaeologist Keramopoulos, after extensive excavations, brought to light the city walls, port facilities and other important buildings such as what remains of the agora, sanctuaries and temples. At that time, Ajax was honored (legendary king of Salamis) as the 12 Gods and festivals were held in their honour. One could distinguish the trophy of Artemis, Zeus and Moires, the theater and of course the port with its shipbuilding facilities.
The battle of Salamina against the Persians. A trace of the Greek naval forces of Themistocles being united before the historic maritime battle of Salamis against the Persian Empire of King Xerxes in 480 BC. was discovered to the north, west and south of the village of Ampelakia. The Greeks, in numerical inferiority, succeeded in beating 2500 years ago the terrible Persian naval force in the Strait between the Attic Continental and the island of Salamis. The port of Salamis was the 4th port after those of Kantharos, Zea and Mounichias of Piraeus. It was there that, on the eve of the battle of Salamis, the Greek fleet was preparing. It was here that the Polyandreion (the Tomb of the Fighters) of Salamis and the trophy of Kynossoura were held. The location of the harbor was only found thanks to the writings of the geographers Skylakos (4th sc. BC), Strabo (1st sc) and Pausanias.
According to the Greek historian Herodotus, there were 380 triremes in the Greek fleet against 1,200 triremes in the Persian fleet. It was the strategist Themistocles who won the battle by cunning. His triremes pretended to retreat by the western impasse of the bay of Eleusis still free to avoid the final destruction. The objective was to attract the fleet of Persians to Athens by the arm of sea between Salamis and the coast. The narrowness of this passage would not be favorable to the heavy Persian fleet and therefore unmanageable. Themistocles then threw his lightweight and fast triremes, somewhat hidden by the ground, on the Persian ships, who were already blocked. The spurs in front of the agile Greek triremes cut off the great majority of the Persian ships, much to the dismay of King Persia, sitting in an armchair on the top of the hill opposite Salamina. This great Persian attack was the last in Greece and Europe.
The Greek trire
The beaches of the island of Salamis.The whole island has about twenty beaches. All the beaches have crystal clear waters all around the island. You can swim at the beaches of Psili Ammos (and see the chapel of St Gregoire), Aiandio, Kanakia, Selinia, Iliakti, Resti etc … but the most beautiful beaches are located in the southern part of the island. I liked the humble beach of Saterli (photos below) with its particularly clear waters, the beach of Kolones in the shade of the tamarisks, the very picturesque beach of Peristeria (picture at the top) and the beach of Kyriza with its rocks in the water (photo below on the right)..
The theaters of Salamina. 1. The Euripidio theater was built in 1993 in memory of the great author of Greek tragedies ancient Greece Euripides. Euripides was often on the island. It is located on the outskirts of the capital of Salamis, on the hill of Patris. It has 3,000 seats. It is nice expecially during the summer period from June to September where there are various shows (plays and concerts). You can get there by car taking the North entrance (there is a large parking) or walking up the south entrance to Megas Alexandrou street. 2. The small ancient theater in Selinia. There is another small stone theater renovated in 1990 in Selinia (east of the island) and it is absolutely worth seeing. It is not far away from the ancient port of the island. This small theater that licks the sea is a must to see in the afternoon before its sunset … superb.
The monastery of Faneromeni. This 17th century monastery is located northwest of the island of Salamina. In this monastery, an icon of the Virgin Mary was found and made the location famous. One can see hagiographies (realized by Giorgos Markou of Argos, 1735) – including around 3,500 forms! and there is the tomb of the leader of the Greek revolution (1821) Iannis Gkouras. During the revolution, women and children took refuge in the monastery, which also served to hospitalize wounded officers of the Greek army. The monastery became a convent in 1944. The landscape around the monastery is magnificent, surrounded by pine and olive trees is surrounded by a splendid coast. Every year on August 23, the convent is celebrated and the festivals last for three days. People from all over the world come to Faneromeni to venerate the Virgin Mary.
Close to the monastery is the house of the great Greek poet Angelos Sikelianos(1884-1951). He lived in this house with his wife Anna from 1938 to 1949. The house built in 1878 was renovated in 2006. It is said that in the house there are various exhibits such as furniture, photos, letters and other objects of the couple. The house is located directly on the water in a calm atmosphere. A house that stands between the magic of the sparkling sea and the blue sky, to remind the Greeks Angelos Sikelianos and Anna who loved so much this place.
The windmills of Salmina. There are 2 windmills on the hill of St. Nicolas or » mill hill » built in the 18th century. Previously, there were 10 on the island. The mills have been erected by expert masons. The mills have the form of a round tower with a thatched roof. The only door of each mill looks east. There are 2 windows on the upper floor, one on the east and the other on the west. They were aimed at covering the needs of foodstuffs on the island. They worked alongside the mills of the land, marching with horses until 1880. They stopped when the first flour mills were installed on the quay of Salamina.
The Church of Panayia Eleftherotria (signifier of the Liberating Virgin) is located on the hill of Patris. The church was built in 1998 to commemorate the liberation of the island by the Germans on October 12, 1944. Many inhabitants in Salamis died on this hill and it why the Church is celebrated on October 12. I loved this church of minimalist Romanesque influence. The decoration on and in front of the church make it an adorable place.
The Archaeological Museum of Salamis is located in the building of the former primary school of the city of Salamina. The museum’s exhibits come from excavations throughout the island. One can see ceramics and sculptures from the Neolithic era until 300 AD. The exhibits I liked are a narrow cone vase from the Mycenaean period (pictured above right), a superb gourd from the geometric period and a bronze crown decorated with golden clay beads from the 3rd cent. BC
My experience. I loved this island for its humble natural beauty and for its small chapels. I loved the archaeological museum of a very high quality with a very wide variety of objects. I longed to discover myself the ancient port of Ampelakia and everything surrounding it. I desperately wanted to visit this island so full of history.