Salamis Island

Salamis Island

Infobox Greek Isles
name = Salamina
native_name = Σαλαμίνα
skyline = Kaki vigla 02.jpg
sky_caption = Kaki Vigla Beach

coordinates = coord|37|56|N|23|30|E|display=inline,title|region:GR_type:isle
chain = Saronic Islands
isles =
area = 96.161
highest_mount = Mt. Mavrovouni
elevation = 375
periph = Attica
prefect = Piraeus
capital = Salamina (city)
population = 38022
pop_as_of = 2001
postal = 189 xx
telephone = 27340
license = Z
website = []

Salamis (Greek, Modern: Σαλαμίνα "Salamína", Ancient/Katharevousa: Σαλαμίς "Salamís") is the largest Greek island in the Saronic Gulf, about 1 nautical mile (2 km) off-coast from Piraeus and about 16km west of Athens. Due to its roughly crescent shape, the island is also locally known as Koulouri, after the bread roll of this form. [ Salamis] , Howstuffworks encyclopedia] The chief city, Salamis or Salamina, lies in the west-facing core of the crescent on Salamis Bay, which opens into the Saronic Gulf. The island's main port, Paloukia, in size second only to Piraeus, is on the eastern side.


The name Salamis is probably derived from "Salam" ("shalam"), Phoenician for "peace", ["Placenames of the World", Adrian Room, McFarland & Company, 2006, ISBN 0786422483] under which it was mentioned in Homer's writings. Some sources, however, say it was named after the nymph Salamis, according to legend the mother of Cychreus, the first king of the island). ["Place-Names in Classical Mythology: Greece", Robert Eugene Bell, ABC-CLIO, 1989, ISBN 0874365074]

Salamis was probably first colonised by Aegina and later occupied by Megara, but became an Athenian possession in the time of Solon or Peisistratos, following the war between Athens and Megara around 600 BC."Salamis", "Oxford Dictionary of the Classical World", Ed. John Roberts. Oxford University Press, 2007.]

Salamis island is known for the Battle of Salamis, the decisive naval victory of the allied Greek fleet, led by Themistocles, over the Persian Empire in 480 BC. It is said to be the birthplace of Ajax and Euripides, the latter's birth being popularly placed on the day of the battle. In modern times, it is home to Salamis Naval Base, headquarters for the Hellenic Navy.

The oldest known counting board was discovered on the Greek island of Salamis in 1899 [] . It is thought to have been used by the Babylonians in about 300 B.C. and is more of a gaming board rather than a calculating device. It is marble, about 150 x 75 x 4.5 cm, and has carved Greek symbols and parallel grooves.

During the German invasion of Greece in World War II, the harbor was bombed by the Luftwaffe on April 23, 1941, sinking the Greek battleships "Kilkis" and "Lemnos". [ [ Kilkis (Battleship, 1914-1941)] , Naval Historical Center] [ [ Lemnos (Battleship, 1914-1941)] , Naval Historical Center]

In the 1960s and 1970s, during the military junta period, changes in land legislation allowed the subdivision of land plots. [ [ One-sixth of houses are for vacation use] , "Kathimerini", 4-19-2006] This opened the island to massive unplanned and unregulated urban and suburban development, including many weekend homes, especially along the northern and eastern coasts. The lack of corresponding investment in infrastructure, combined with heavy industry, has led to sea and beach pollution on this side of the island. There are, however, ongoing initiatives such as help from the European Union’s Cohesion Fund toward improving sewerage by 2008.

Geography and administration

Salamis has an area of 36 square miles; its highest point is Mavrovouni (1325 feet). As of the mid-20th century, the majority of the inhabitants were Arvanite. According to Strabo, the ancient capital was at the south of the island;, and in classical times it was to the east, on the Kamatero Peninsula overlooking the Strait of Salamis; in modern times it is on the west. ["Greece", Blue Guide series, Stuart Rossiter, Ernest Benn, 1981]

A significant part of Salamis Island is rocky and mountainous. On the southern part of the island a pine forest is located, which is unusual for western Attica. Unfortunately, this forest is often a target for fires. [ Salamina, so near yet so unknown] , Polyxeni Athanassoulia, "Kathimerini", 9-7-2006] While the inland inhabitants are mainly employed within the agricultural sector, the majority of Salamis' inhabitants work in maritime occupations (fishing, ferries, and the island's shipyards) or commute to work in Athens. [ Salamis official website] ] The maritime industry is focused on the north-east coast of the island at the port of Paloukia (Παλούκια), where ferries to mainland Greece are based, and in the dockyards of Ampelakia and the north side of the Kynosoura (Greek: Κυνοσούρα = "dog tail") peninsula.

Salamis Island is very popular for holiday and weekend visits from the Athens and Piraeus area; its population rises to 300,000 in peak season of which ca. 31,000 are permanent inhabitants. This supports a strong service industry sector, with many cafes, bars, "ouzeries", tavernas and consumer goods shops throughout the island. On the south of the island, away from the port, there are a number of less developed areas with good swimming beaches including those of Aianteio, Maroudi, Perani, Peristeria, Kolones, Saterli, Selenia and Kanakia. [ [ Salamina] , "Anatropes" newspaper site (in Greek)]

Salamis Island belongs to the Piraeus Prefecture of the Attica periphery. [ [ Salamina] , Greek Travel Pages]

It is divided into two municipalities: Salamina and Ampelakia. The current mayor of Salamina is Spyros Sofras and of Ampelakia Marios Travlos, both elected in the Hellenic municipal election of October 2006. Spyros Sofras is the first time as mayor of Salamina, and Marios Travlos is the mayor of Ampelakia for a second time.Fact|date=September 2007

In the Municipality of Salamina, which has a land area of 80.992 km² and a 2001 census population of 30,962, the chief population centre is the city of Salamina (also called Salamis, Salamis City or Koulouris, pop. 25,730 in 2001), consisting of the districts Alonia, Agios Minas, Agios Dimitrios, Agios Nikolaos, Boskos, Nea Salamina, Tsami and Vourkari.Fact|date=September 2007 Its second-largest town is Aiánteio (pop. 4,456). In the Municipality of Ampelákia, which has a land area of 15.169 km² and a population of 7,060, the largest towns are Ampelákia (pop. 4,537) and Selínia (2,346).


Villages in the Municipality of Salamina


Paloukia (Greek: Παλούκια) (Population 1.695) which means Poles in English, is located in the northeast of the island. Many ferryboats, fishing vessels and port police crafts dock in this harbor. In Paloukia is based the port police department of Salamina.The visitors who come to Salamis Island first arrive at Paloukia with ferryboats that run across Perama or Piraeus.

The area is close to Salamis Naval Base (in Greek "Nafstathmos"), which is a major base of the Hellenic Navy.


Aianteio or Aiantio or Eantio (Greek: Αιάντιον) , (Modern Greek : Αιάντειο) older forms Aiantio, Aiandion, Eantion and Eandion (transliteration may vary) is a large village in the southwestern part of Salamis Island and is named after Ajax, from Homer's Iliad, "King of the Salamis".The village in the medieval times and until the late-20th century was known as Moulki (Μούλκι).

In the region, there are churches of the 12th and the 11th century such as Saint John and Saint Dimitrios. Interesting places to visit are:
*the oldest church in the island, Saint John the "Kalyvitis", which dates back in the 10th century and has remarkable hagiographies, and
*the monastery of Saint Nicolas which dates back in the 18th century and is situated in a forest.


Batsi or Mpatsi (Greek, Modern: Μπάτσι, Ancient/Katharevousa: -on), older forms Batsion is a little community (population 212) in the north of Salamis in the municipality of Salamis placed at the foot of a piney mountain, located about 6 to 8 km E of Megara.

In the mountain, there is a cave of archeological interest that has not been investigated yet. In the winter there are few tourists; it is more popular with tourists from Athens during the summer months. It is a nice place with the beaches next to the pine-trees making an interesting combination.

Kaki Vigla

Kaki Vigla (Greek: Κακή Βίγλα), (translated Bad View in Greek) is a small community (Population 236) located at the south of Salamis Island, near to Aianteio .

The beaches of Kaki Vigla are clean and the area has pine and olive trees.

Agios Georgios

A new village, founded in 1960


Peristeria (Greek: Περιστέρια) (Population 456) is a small village at the southeast of Salamis Island, 45 km from Salamis City. It took its name from the bird of peace, the pingeon (Greek: περιστέρι), because it is so calm, peaceful and isolated place, far off from the cars and from noise. Another interpretation says that its name may be derived from the doves which were living and had nests in the area.

The area has a marina, which has yachts and piscatorials. The beaches of Peristeria are the cleanest of Salamis. The village is near to the Cave of Euripides.

Psili Ammos

Psili Ammos (Greek: Ψιλή Άμμος) (Population 271), which means Fine Sand is so named because it is covered with sand. The area is located at the northwest of the island opposite of Elefsina. In the area there is one of the oldest landmarks, a church building of island , the chantry of Saint Grigorios (Saint Gregory).


Steno (Greek: Στενό) (Population 985), which means Narrow in Greek, is a small community in the northwest of Salamis Island. The area is separated from Fanaromeni Monastery by a hill with shrubs and pine trees. The area is adjacent to the bay of Agios Georgios. Steno has wide and well-planned roads.


Vasilika (Greek: Βασιλικά) (Population 4.264) which means Royally is a big village in Salamis Island, located in the northwest of the island. Vasilika is the third area in Salamis by population after Salamis City and Aianteio. Vasilika has a sandy large beach apt for swimming.


Xeno (Greek: Ξένο) (Population 786) which means Foreign in English is located at the northwest of the island. The area took this name because the first residents who came in Xeno were not from Salamis but from the close areas of Pireaus.

Villages in the Municipality of Ampelakia


Kynosoura or Kinosoura (Greek: Κυνοσούρα), which means the tail of dog in Ancient and Modern Greek, is a small peninsula at Salamis Island, located in the east of island. The area probably took its name, because the area is long and oblong, such as a dog' s tail. At the south side of area there are a few houses (Population 69). At the north there is a dockyard, which constructs and fixes any type of ship like: oilers, transports, containers etc .


Selinia (Greek: Σελήνια)(Population 2.523) is one of the resorts of Salamis Island, Greece, located a few kilometers southeast of Salamis city . Selinia use to be the weekend resort of many Athenians due to its proximity to Piraeus and Athens. Selinia also features restaurants and taverns.


Its geography includes residential areas around the area and farmlands in its outskirts. The mountains that features grasslands and barren land along with forests dominates the outer areas.


Selinia offers prestigious views of the area and its beach. It also offers nice views of Athens and Piraeus along with its harbor and the southern suburbs, it also views the nearby mountains as well as Aigaleo and Hymettus. The island of Aigina can be seen in the southern parts.


Famous mythological and ancient people

*Ajax the Great, the legendary king of Salamis island, son of Telamon and half-brother of Teucer
*Cychreus, the first king of Salamis Island
*Euripides, tragedian (485 or 480 B.C. - 406 B.C.)
*Telamon, the king of Salamis Island , father of Ajax the Great and Teucer
*Teucer, the half-brother of Ajax the Great, son of Telamon, warrior of Trojan War, and founder of the city-state of Salamis, Cyprus.

Modern celebrities

*Georgios Karaiskakis (c.1780-1827), Greek War of Independence hero, is buried on Salamis.
*Dimitrios Mpogris (1890-1964), playwright
*Polychronis Lempesis (1848-1913), painter
*Angelos Sikelianos (1884–1951), poet and playwright, whose cottage was near the Monastery of Faneromeni.
*Giorgos Papasideris (1902-1977), country singer, composer and lyricist
*Memos Mpegnis (1974-), actor
*Giorgos Vasileiou, actor, former representative of the Hellenic Parliament and councilman of the Salamina municipality, has his permanent residence in the Batsi area.


Salamis island has eleven primary schools (ten public and one private), four high schools and four lycees. The majority of students are proficient in school, and usually the pupils (above age 13) have acquired diplomas and certificates in English, French or in German like ECCE, FCE, CPE, ECPE and others. Many students from Salamis island also possess many computer skills. Many students also study abroad, usually in countries such as the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, and France. In the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s, the pupils went to Italy for studies since it was close to Greece.

Recreational areas

On Salamis island, a visitor can find many bars, cafeterias, beaches, shops, with different views of Salamis Bay. The main cafeterias and bars are based at the area of Agios Nikolaos, which is at the west suburbs of Salamis city. The district took its name from the homonymous church. Taverns and inns are in every place of the island with their local food and dishes. The shops are opened from 8:00 up until 2:00 in the morning and at 5:30 to 9:00 in the afternoons during weekdays (also open from 9:00 to 1:30 in the mornings and 6:00 to 8:30 in the afternoons during Saturdays). Salamina has a plethora of shops for clothes, souvenirs, appliances, vehicles, and computers.


Salamis island has two football teams, Aias (Ajax) Salaminas and Ampelakiakos F.C.

Local newspapers and magazines [ [ Newspapers and magazines] , Salamis official website (in Greek)]

*"Salaminiaki Protoporia" (Salaminian Vanguard)
*"Anatropes " (Tippings )
*"I Enotita tis Salaminas" (The Unity of Salamis)
*"I Nea Salamina" (The New Salamis)
*"I Foni tis Salaminas" (The Voice of Salamis)
*"Neo Ithos tis Salaminas" (New Morale of Salamis)
*"Apopsi" (Opinion)
*"Palmos tis Salaminas" (Pulse of Salamis)
*"Athlitikoi Palmoi" (Athletic Vibrations)
*"Politis me dikaioma" ( Citizen with rights)
*"Sports Week Salamina"
*"30 Imeres tis Salaminas" (30 Days of Salamina)


ister Cities

*flagicon|Cyprus Famagusta, Cyprus (1998)

Photo Gallery

ee also

*Trojan War
*Greek Revolution


External links

* [ Official website of Municipality of Salamina] en el icon
* [ Official website of Municipality of Ampelakia] el icon

Geographic Location (8-way)
Centre = Salamis Island
North = Batsi
Northeast =
East = Paloukia
Southeast = Ampelakia
South = Aianteio
Southwest =
West = Agios Georgios Bay
Northwest = Vasilika

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