On the southeastern coast of the island, 71 km away from the center of Rhodes on the road from Gennadi to Apolakkia, we come across Vati, a tiny picturesque village, unspoiled by time and evolution, inhabited by just a handful of people. Its residents hang out in the small traditional cafés [kafeneia], playing cards or sipping their coffee; cafés that serve as a small grocery store or –sometimes- a post office. Friendly, smiling villagers welcome you and stand ready to help you with whatever you need. Safeguarding their traditions and religious faith seems to be crucial for the inhabitants of Vati; something that is more than evident from their way of life, as well as the existence of so many churches in the village.
The village lies between pine trees and centuries-old evergreen olive groves that are said to date back to the archaic period of Cleobulus of Lindos. At the central square of the village there is the church of Agios Ioannis Theologos [St. John the Theologian], a sample of the Dodecanese architecture, an order with Gothic features found only in the Dodecanese and the coasts of Asia Minor, as well as a newer temple dedicated to Agios Savvas [St. Savvas]. Other interesting chapels are those of Agios Georgios [Saint George], built in the 14th century, Agios Raphail [Saint Raphael], the post-Byzantine monastery of Archangel Michael “Paralimniotis” and Panagia Galatousa [Virgin Mary “Galatousa” (nursing)], where there is a rare 14th century icon that depicts Virgin Mary breastfeeding Jesus. If you walk all the way up to the fire lookout tower on Agios Ioannis’ [St. John’s] Hill, you will admire a view that is breathtaking. Nature lovers can wander along rural roads to admire the nature, while history buffs can discover well-hidden Italian fortifications, watermills and dozens of ancient tombs from the Mycenaean and Geometric periods, as well as findings such as pots and gold jewelry.