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What travelers are saying
- currents change every 6 hours. People in town are helpful and nice. teens swimming in the sea friendly Nice breeze to seat outdoors and walkWritten 7 June 2021This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
- We went at night for drinks >>The view was impressive >>The lights , the pines Best memories >>Recommendable to go in the eveningWritten 7 June 2021This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
- Every summer, end of July, is the name date of Agia Paraskevi when the city celebrates. It's a nice chance to light a candle and honour the city's saintWritten 28 May 2020This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
- Licated in a lovely spot next to the pier, with a small but very green courtyard, The Red House should be seen by all visitors interested in architecture.Written 12 October 2017
- Since most of the monuments of Venetian and Ottoman Chalkis have been wilfully destroyed, the 17th-century Emir Zade mosque with its elegant lines and imposing bulk stands as an isolated reminder of the Muslim past of this city which has seen so many empires come and go. (The museum in the Karababa castle on the mainland provides an excellent overview of this rich history.) No longer in use as a mosque, it is now a museum housing interesting temporary exhibitions. It is a pity that the minaret and arcaded loggia have perished, but exterior and interior are impressive. The pretty fountain is a later addition. The nearby synagogue and church of Agia Paraskevi with the recently restored Bailo's residence complete the multi-faith ensemble.Written 14 January 2016
- We were brought to Chalkis by our tour guide, Haim Ischakis, who is the last remaining Romaniote cantor in Greece.
Because Haim also possesses skills in reading the Torah in the traditional Byzantine tune, we were privileged to have him unlock the ark, show us the Torahs contained inside and then, read the Torah portion of the week.
The Torah is read from a table on the Bimah, an enclosure several steps up, which in Romaniote synagogues is in the back of the congregation.
The Jews of Chalkida (Chalkis) were probably the only members of a community in Europe to continuously inhabit the same town for more than 20 centuries, and the synagogue on Kotsou Street is one of the most ancient synagogues in Greece. It has been destroyed and rebuilt at least six times over the centuries. Tradition dates its founding back to the early Byzantine period, about 1,500 years ago. The present structure was built in 1854 but was substantially rebuilt in the 20th century, after the earthquake of May 1894.
The small yellow stucco building, situated in a courtyard, is an important example of the traditional Romaniote synagogue. The interior is a rectangular space with six marble columns forming a nave and two aisles. The bima (where the Torah is read) is in the back of the synagogue, which is a custom unique to the Romaniote community. The Ark, covered by a velvet Parochet, faces east. Crystal chandeliers hang from the ceiling, and there is seating around the walls.
Inscribed gravestones from an ancient cemetery decorate the exterior of the synagogue’s arched windows. They were given to the Jewish community when the fortifications of Chalkis were demolished in the early 20th century; possibly they were taken from graves of a lost cemetery, used as building material when the castle was constructed.
Adjacent to the synagogue is a small garden with an etrog tree, as well as other plants necessary for the celebration of Sukkot. Grapevines with clusters of grapes dangling from them shade the inner courtyard. The garden also contains a frame for a communal sukkah.
The mikvah has been filled in.
Of the community’s 327 members only 22 perished in the Holocaust, as the rest were hidden and assisted by their Christian neighbours. The town Metropolite hid all the holy items of the Synagogue in his church.Written 17 August 2016
- The tour guide for our Jewish Heritage Tour, one of the few survivors of the Romaniote Jewish Community still living in Greece, was born in Chalkis and he took us here to visit his home town by the sea,and to show us the former Jewish Quarter, the synagogue, the cemetery and the Holocaust Memorial.
I was especially impressed by the old graves that had been restored.
Many of the ancient Jewish cemeteries in Greece were desecrated and destroyed during World War II. This is one of the few cemeteries one can still visit.
It is very helpful to go with a tour guide. Ours was Haim Ishakis.
If you do not go with a tour guide, here is some history about the Jewish Community of Chalkis and of the cemetery.
You can find more online.
About the community (briefly)--
The Jewish presence in Evoia and especially Chalkis goes so far back that it is assumed that the first Jews arrived after 586 B.C.
They settled in the Northeastern part of the Fortress (that was inhabited from 500 B.C. until 1890 when it was torn down), near Ano Pyli (Upper Gate), which was also named Pyli ton Ioudaion (Gate of the Jews). Ano Pyli Street (today called Kotsou Street) ran through the Jewish quarter down to the crossroad between Papanastasiou Street and M. Frizi Street.
The Romaniote Jewish Community of Chalkis may not be the oldest one in Greece, but it is the only one in Europe that has been living in the same city for 2,500 years without interruption.
It is one of the few communities that lost only 22 out of 327 members, owing to the protection given by fellow citizens, the National Resistance Fighters and by the Metropolitan Bishop Grigorios, who hid sacred objects belonging to the Synagogue inside the Metropolitan Church.
About this particular cemetery--
The old and the new cemeteries of Chalkis are located in the same area, in a space of about 4 acres on Messopion Street (which the Municipality of Chalkis has lately renamed Ellinon Evraion Martyron (Greek Jewish Martyrs') Street.
Between 1990-2000 about 600 old graves underwent restoration and conservation works. Through the tombstones, most of which belong to rabbis, one may discover that the Community had been a spiritual center, justifying the name it was given, 'little Tsfat' (a spiritual and Cabalistic center in Northern Israel). This title was also given to communities such as Thessaloniki and Patras.
The tombstones of the Jewish cemetery also prove the presence of a large number of Spanish Jews who settled in the community of Chalkis but did not assimilate to the Romaniotes. However, they certainly contributed to the greatest possible extent to the spiritual and economic prosperity of the Community. The cemetery includes a hall for funeral services, a washroom, the guard's house, and an old building which was renovated and houses the findings of the cemetery, like a museum. This was originally the guard's house. Its construction was sponsored by Ferdinand Rothchild in 1897 when he visited Chalkis. In the Fall of 1999 the ceremony for the placement of the Mezuzah was held in the renovated building.
I have taken pictures, which I will post when this site is listed.Written 25 July 2016
- A beautiful memorial in the memory of the victims of the Holocaust has been erected in the area of the Jewish cemetery, just outside its walls.
For anyone interested in the Jewish history of Chalkis, it is well worth visiting this memorial and also the cemetery, where there are a number of restored ancient graves.
The busts of the late Metropolitan Bishop Grigorios and Colonel Frizis stand on each side of the Holocaust Memorial.
In 1940, in the Greek - Italian war one of the first Greek officers who fell heroically in battle was a Jew from Chalkis, Colonel Mordechai Frizis.
(One more bust of the war hero M. Frizis is erected on a square near the old bridge of Chalkis and, in addition, a section of Siokou Street is called M. Frizis Street. A square opposite the Fire Brigade building bears the same name.)
Khalkis was one of the few Greek communities that lost only 22 out of 327 members. due to the protection given by fellow citizens, the National Resistance Fighters and by the Metropolitan Bishop Grigorios, who hid sacred objects belonging to the Synagogue inside the Metropolitan Church.
The memorial and the busts were unveiled in June 2000 in a ceremony in which the Municipality of Chalkis, the Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece and the Jewish Community of Chalkis participated.Written 25 July 2016
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