Salamis (island)


July 5, 2022

Salamis (in Greek: Σαλαμίνα, transliterated: Salamína; in ancient Greek: Σαλαμίς, Salamís,), also known as Koulouris or Koulouri (in Greek: Κούλουρη), is an island of Greece, in the Aegean Sea. From an administrative point of view it is a municipality on the outskirts of Attica (peripheral unit of the Islands)

Physical geography

With its 95 km² and 104 km of coastline, it is the largest of the islands in the Argosaronic Gulf and, among these, the closest to Attica, from which it is separated by about 2 km of sea. It has a population of 38,022 at the 2001 census distributed over two locations. The oldest and most populous (about 24,000 inhabitants) is Salamis, established in 1835 and the capital of the island. More recent is Ampelakia, established in 1998. Communications between the island and the mainland take place from Piraeus, especially from Perama, with frequent connections reaching the port of Paloukia. The territory of the island is flat, with small mountain ranges, the highest of which, Mavrovuni, in the southern part of the island, reaches 365 m. On the island there are numerous beaches suitable for bathing: Resti, Iliakti, Aianteio, Perani, Kiriza, Maroudi, Peristeria, Kolones, Satirli, Piriakoni, Kanakiani.


According to a tradition, the name derives from the Semitic root sh-l-m, also mentioned in Homer. The name, with the well-known meaning of peace or calm, would have designated an ancient emporium founded by the Phoenicians. According to another mythological tradition the island took its name from the nymph Salamis who in that place joined Poseidon in a union that she generated, Cicreo, first king of the island. A divinatory apparition, in the form of a snake, is attributed to Cicreo to help the Greeks and foretell the imminent victory. Some sources would like the island to be the homeland of Ajax, son of Telamon and an important protagonist, with his king, of the Trojan war.


In the seventh century BC Salamis was occupied by the city of Megara, which from that position hindered the Athenian maritime traffic; it was such a burning issue for Athens that, according to tradition, just talking about it even exposed the risk of the death penalty. After a war fought between Megara and Athens for the possession of the island, thanks above all to Solon and Pisistrato, it became Athenian territory, together with the Saronic port of Nisea, taking them both away from the dominion of Megara. In the narrow channel that separates the island from the mainland, the Greek triremes, under the effective command of Themistocles, defeated the Persian fleet of Xerxes in the battle of Salamis (480 BC), the greatest naval battle of antiquity, crucial for the destinies politicians of the Mediterranean area. The island, in the days immediately preceding the battle, gave hospitality to a considerable number of Athenian refugees, displaced from their city to escape the Persian invasion after the battle of Thermopylae.

Points of Interest

Archaeological Museum - Salamis Faneromeni Monastery (18th century) Agios Nikolaos Monastery (18th century)


In spite of one of the etymologies, the toponym Salamina is variously connected to war operations. In addition to the famous naval battle of 480 BC, the term Salamis is associated with the less important, but also glorious, naval battle of Salamis in Cyprus, in which the Athenians defeated Phoenician ships in the waters of Salamis cyprids in 450 BC, in course of the resumption of war operations against the Persians wanted by Pericles.


Related items

Second Persian War

Other projects

Wikimedia Commons contains images or other files about Salamis Wikivoyage contains tourist information about Salamis

External links

(EL, EN) Official site, on Salamina, on - ​​Online Encyclopedias, Institute of the Italian Encyclopedia. Aldo