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. 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.
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 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.
In the 1960s and 1970s, during the military junta period, changes in land legislation allowed the subdivision of land plots. 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.
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.
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. 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. 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.
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.
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. 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).
|Year||Municipal population||Municipal and Island population||Population of Capital|
The area is close to Salamis Naval Base (in Greek Nafstathmos), which is a major base of the Hellenic Navy.
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:
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.
The beaches of Kaki Vigla are clean and the area has pine and olive trees.
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.
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.
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.
|Landmark||Year of construction||Location|
|Faneromeni Monastery||15th century||Faneromeni|
|Chantry of Saint George||around 1250||Agios Georgios|
|Euripideio Theatre||1993||in suburbs of Salamis City (in hill Patris)|
|Church of Saint Dimitrios||1806||center of Salamis City (in hononymous district)|
|The Cave of Euripides||450 BC||at south Salamis Island (near Peristeria)|
|The Cottage of Angelos Sikelianos||1935||Faneromeni|
|The Stone Lighthouse||1901||Peristeria|
|The bust of Georgios Karaiskakis||1982||center of Salamis City (in Vourkari district)|
|The Windmills||19th century||in suburbs of Salamis City (in a hill)|
|Chantry of Prophet Elias||early of 20th century||Salamis City (in a stone hill)|
|Chantry of Saint Grygorios||12th century||Psili Ammos|
|The Stony small Theater||1990||Selinia|
|The City Hall of Salamis||2000||Salamis City|
|The Monastery of Saint Nicolaos||17th century||at south Salamis Island (near Kanakia)|
|The Church of Saint John the Kalyvitis||11th century||at south Salamis Island (near Kanakia)|
|The Folklore Museum||2000||it ' s lodging at Salamis City Hall|
|The Mansion of Galeos Family||19th century||at Salamis center (at Agios Minas district)|
|The Church of Saint Minas||1869||at Salamis City (at Agios Minas district)|