Municipality of Kalithea,
The quite big entrance to Kalithea Springs does not give much away about what is hidden inside. It takes only little imagination to envision what the place looked like at the former peak of its time in the 60ies, before deteriorating completely into a pile of crushed concrete and rubble. Fortunately, for us as visitors as well as the rhodenian people, the place in undergoing big rebuilding of the place, bringing the old spa up to date, while still respecting the original Lombardi design of the late 1920ies.
Once inside, a eerie yet wonderful sensation of peace and quiet falls over the visitor. This is a place of rest, relaxation, recovering. It has been said, that this spot has been used for recouperation and revitalization for hundreds, if not thousands, of years due to the – apparantly proven – effect of the water from the springs.
The area has been gently brought up to date with a more recent and modern color scheme – gone is the red and yellows from times past, and in has come bright, yet subtle, colors instead.
Though the area is undergoing heavy reconstruction, the first thorn jumps into your eye as you walk down the stoa past the entrance. The small rotunda, as it is called, is still not finished, seemlingly for the 3 year in a row, not foreboding good tidings of the progress of the reconstruction. The grey concrete shell of the rotunda, does draw an outline of times to come, and one can only hope that this building will be finished within reasonable time as it is going to be marvelous.
Past the small rotunda lies the sandy beach, offering the most clear (and cold!) water we have experienced on Rhodes. Follow the left of the beach is an area with lounge chairs as well as more reconstruction going on. On the right of the beach, is a cafe area as well as the main building, the large rotunda.
Inside the large rotunda, is again the feeling of serenity and refreshment, something Lombardi seemingly tried to achieve deliberate, inspired by the way sea shells work, by filtering out the bad, leaving only the good. I personally fail to see the sea shell resemblance, but I certainly felt the refreshing touch inside the rotunda.
A wedding ceremony had just finished as we entered, feeding the imagination as to how wonderful this place really is. The first half of the rotunda is specked with fantastic photographs of the Kalithea Spring from before the reconstruction began compared with what it looks like now. One of the wings is dedicated to the importance the Springs have played in a handful of Hollywood productions back in the 50ies and 60ies.
The latter half of the rotunda is a huge open circle, offering the most breathtaking view of the rocks and the ocean. Words cannot describe how wonderful this place is – you have to go for yourself! Apparantly the owners of the Springs recognize this, as they are planning to build an amphi theatre facing the ocean. I would love to watch a greek tragedy there some day.
Walking back through the park, overlooking the Springs and the beach, one cannot help comparing this to the german baths, and then decide that there is no comparison at all. The Kalithea Springs is something quite of its own, and it deserves to be brought completely back to life, not just kept on life support, as it seems right now.