Monasteries and churches

Halki has 360 churches and monasteries. Many of them are visitable. They can be reached either on foot, by bus or taxi and are particularly impressive.

  • St. Nicolas is the main church of Emborio, an exquisite architectural sample, built in 1861 with marble parts from the ancient temple of Apollo. It has the tallest belfry in the Dodecanese. The courtyard and the entire space surrounding the church are decorated with a superb mosaic of white and black pebbles masterly fashioned into different designs. There is a small upstairs museum with vestments, icons, silver dishes, bibles collected from various churches around the island. St Nicolas is the patron saint of sailors and fishermen and is celebrated on the 6th of December. Services are held every Saturday and Sunday. Anyone is welcome, just buy a candle (50c) and leave when you please.
  • The church of Panagia (the Holy Virgin Mary) just above the old village and under the castle that dominates the area. It is dated from 1400-1600 and includes magnificent frescoes. Holy Virgin is celebrated on the 15th of August with festivities which attract people all over the Dodecanese.
  • Monastery of Ai-Yannis (St John). Situated at the high plateau (at 600 m above sea level) at the western end of Halki. More than 2 hours walk from Emborio or 15 minutes by bus or taxi. Visitor will appreciate the astonishing views all over Halki and much much further. It is possible by arrangement to stay overnight in one of the cells off the peaceful courtyard with its ancient spreading cypress tree. No charge is set – just make a donation. The caretaker of the monastery will provide food and drinks. At the end of August (29) it's the scene of a massive annual celebration, with friends and relatives of the islanders flocking to Halki to join in the party.
  • Monastery of Palarniotis (or Panormitis) housing an idyllic small Byzantine church with a ceiling painted with stars and its magnificent view over the whole island.
  • Monstery of Panaghia Megalochari, an ancient church with frescoes of inestimable value.
  • Impressive are also the monasteries of St Varvara, St Lefteris, St Nektarios, St Anargyri, St Panteleimonas, Sotiros, Stavros and many others.