Chalkis Jewish Cemetery
It is likely that a small Romaniot community (considered the most ancient of Greek Jewish communities) existed in Chalkis from the second century B.C.E.. According to the account of a traveler’s in the 12th century, it was home to a community of around 200 Jews. A synagogue was built in 1270. Another synagogue was built in 1433. Many moved to Istanbul at the outset of Turkish rule in Chalkis (1453) and formed a community there. The remaining Jews maintained the community’s Romaniot character with some Sephardic Jews moving to the island. A new synagogue was built in 1642. In 1685-86, when the Venetian rules took over the region, the community was destroyed. It was reestablished in 1717. The Jewish population in 1841 numbered 200. An1894 earthquake destroyed many Jewish homes, the school, and the synagogue. Ferdinand James Rothschild visited Chalkis in 1897. The Jewish population stood at 350 in 1940. After WWII, the community was revived, but remained small.
The exact period of the cemetery’s establishment is unknown, but most likely that the first cemeteries appeared in Chalkis at some point between the 12th and 13th centuries. The increase in the sizeof the community corresponds to this era.