Chalkis Jewish Cemetery

Cemetery Information

Site address
20-12, Messapion Street. The cemetery’s gate is on the opposite side of the street.
GPS coordinates
38.46438, 23.60297
Perimeter length
250 metres
Is the cemetery demolished
Type and height of existing fence
The front of the fence consists of masonry, while the rest of the fence is concrete, measuring between 1.5 and 3 metres height.
Preservation condition
Fenced and protected Jewish cemetery
General site condition
The cemetery is operational.
Number of existing gravestones
750 tombstones total, of which 500 old and 250 new.
Date of oldest tombstone
Date of newest tombstone
Urgency of erecting a fence
Fence is not needed
Land ownership
Property of local community
Preserved construction on site
The cemetery houses a beit-tahara, a museum, and the house of the president. The cemetery also includes a memorial to Holocaust victims, and a monument to Mordechai Frizis, a Greek military officer who fought in World War I.
Drone surveys

Historical overview

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.

3D model