On the west side of the island of Rhodes, about 5 km southeast of the village of Theologos, 25 km from the city of Rhodes and in the area Ano Kalamonas is the beautiful valley of the Butterflies.
It is a unique habitat of incomparable natural beauty, with rich flora and fauna, bridges, cobblestone paths, ponds, and small waterfalls.
With a car hire on Rhodes, you have to visit the place and enjoy. It’s really fantastic!!
According to earlier testimonies, the name of the valley was Pelekanos, but later apparently due to the presence of butterflies, it renamed the Valley of the Butterflies.
During the Turkish occupation, the vegetation in the valley was so dense that it was impossible for someone to cross it. Only some lumberjacks came in and made charcoal.
In 1928 an Italian company settled in the settlement below, called Kalamonas. So this company took advantage of the valley and continued the projects for 10 years. At that time, the Italian professor Alessandro Ghigi spotted the butterfly. Some claim that the Italians brought them mainly for tourist reasons. But older residents, who worked in the valley, say the butterflies existed and they simply discovered them at that time.
Before the war, tourism in the valley was limited. After the war, public organizations and businesses took the valley in their possession.
The first post-war tourists mention that they were the Jews of Rhodes. However, butterflies became popular around the world after 1957. Since then, more and more tourists have visited the Butterfly Valley.
The area of the valley, as a natural habitat, is suitable for concentration and stay of insects for the summer months.
In addition it has proper functionality that allows pairing. There is high relative humidity because of the evaporation of water and the perspiration of plants. For this reason, there are technical facilities of recyclable water in the center of the Valley.
This humidity maintains the required low temperature and nutrients needs of the butterfly.
These climatic conditions of the Valley – low temperature levels with high humidity levels – are crucial for the collection of butterflies in the valley, especially the months July and August.
Protection of butterflies
The butterfly has its own unique contribution to the ecosystem. It is an indicator of ecosystem health. The reduction of their population warns of the dangers. It shows us the pressures that the environment itself receives.
The decrease in the number of butterflies is due to several factors.
The presence of people in the valley, especially during the tourist months, affects this decrease. The loud whistles, which contain ultrasound, and the clapping of the hands cause upset and stress to the butterflies. That’s why you should follow the park protection instructions.
The valley today
In the valley of butterflies, in addition to the natural beauty, you will also find the following:
– The Museum of Natural History.
– The Biology Laboratory with the Library.
– The Centre for Environmental Education of Butterflies.
The Museum of Natural History
The Museum of Natural History is a project that actively contributes to the management and protection of the Valley of the Butterflies, as well as to the ecotourism development of the area.
There are also exhibits of flora – fauna and minerals – rocks, placed in special showcases, so as to simulate their natural environment.
It is a remarkable museum among the many museums of Rhodes.
The Biology Laboratory with the Library
There are microscopes and stereoscopes in the Biology Laboratory. It implements educational programs for schools and other associations.
The library contains books with objects on butterflies, general entomology, fauna-flora (Greece and Abroad), types of habitats, geology, ecology, etc., as well as educational material.