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Salakos, Rhodes Island

Salakos is a nice inland village at a distance of 39 kilometers southwestern to the capital town of Rhodes, at an altitude of 290 meters, just at the feet of Prophetes Ilias (Elijah) mountain, the second, in height, mountain of the island. Its name is owed to the farmer who possessed the area in the past. The village is situated within a fertile valley and surrounded by olive trees and vineyards. It counts some 600 permanent residents and it is famous for the walnuts it produces and the handmade wooden chairs that the locals make. Even today, when most of the residents are occupied in tourism and are affected by tourist development, the traditional customs are still alive and the visitor, when there, would enjoy a quite traditional image. You may see the old women grinding wheat to make “pligouri”, or baking bread and pancakes for the feasts in traditional ovens.

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Salakos is a village with abundant current water, thanks to which there are a lot of trees. It is still a traditional village, preserving several of the old buildings. Once there, don’t miss to have a coffee in a traditional café of the central square of the village, under the shadow of tall trees. The square, arranged by the Italians, preserves also some ruins of the walls of the medieval castle.

One of the most interesting features of the nice environment of the village is the famous spring called “Nymph” that waters not only the village, but also the town of Rhodes. The spring, apart from the water, offers the suitable environment for the famous night – butterfly “Panaxia”, the same species as this found in the Valley of the Butterflies at Theologos.

The abundant water also helps the growing of woods in the region, which results to the survival of two rare species of animals in the area. The first is the well known “platoni” of Rhodes, a species of deer, one of the few still surviving in Europe. The deer lives in the woods of the area around Salakos and has been adopted as the symbol of the island of Rhodes. According to scholars and to the locals, only 50-60 animals survive today. Another 50 animals are discarded in zoos, both in Rhodes and in the rest of Greece. It is thought that this rare species endemic in Asia Minor in the remote past, settled in Rhodes thousands of years ago.

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The other rare species living in Salakos is “gizani”, a cute, small fish one of the rarest species of sweet water fish. A guide of the European Union considers this species as one of the species risking to extinct in the European territory. The fish lives in the water basin close to the site of Eleousa.

Just beside the spring of Nymph, a zig-zag path will lead you, after 20-minutes walking, at the top of the mountain Prophetes Ilias (Elijah), where you will come across another wonder of the nature of Rhodes. It is the wild flower “Paeonia Rhodia”, a rare species growing exclusively at this place.

Not far from the village, on the side of the sea, you may visit the ruins of ancient Kameiros, one of the three most important cities of ancient Rhodes. It is really worth a long visit; you will stroll around the large archaeological site and you will come across and admire the ruins of ancient glory.

If you are interested in archaeological remains, you may see several traces of Hellenistic graves and Byzantine churches, everywhere in the village.

The near by villages of Apollona, Soroni and Dimylia have small folk museums housed in traditional houses and in an old oil mill (at Dimylia).

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At the site of Fountoukli you may see the Byzantine small churches of Aghios Georgios (St. George) and Aghios Nicolaos (St. Nicolas) with frescoes dated in the 15th century.

At Aghia Eleousa you will see ruined buildings going back to the period of the Italian domination of the island.

There are several other beauties that wait for you to discover them: the breathtaking sunsets at Kameiros, the rich and rare flora and the local customs not only will give you a better idea of the place, but they will also enrich your holidays.

Close to the end of the village there is the cave of Makarouna , with easy access.

The village offers some alternatives for lodging, but in general it is difficult to find accommodation, as it is almost always occupied from the windsurfers who stay here when they come for wind-surfing at the nearby coast of Prassonissi. The traditional taverns of the village offer tasty food and gorgeous dishes of the local cooking, along with nice local wines and an atmosphere of authentic tradition. If you are just passing by, don’t miss to have a coffee at the traditional café, side by side with the local old men, who will communicate to you their calmness and the taste of a wonderful everyday life.

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Health services are available in the local Medical Center of the village.

On Christmas Eve a representation of the birth of Christ takes place in the cave Makarouna.

The locals celebrate the Assumption of Virgin Mary on the 15th of August and the name day of Aghios Georgios (on Monday following the Easter or on the 23rd of April) with local feasts (panighyri).

Access to the village is possible by rented or private car and motorbikes.
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