Cephalonia

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Kefalonia

Κεφαλονιά
Kefaloniá
Asos, Kefalonia.jpg
View of Asos, Kefalonia
2011 Dimos Kefalonias.png
Cephalonia within the Ionian Islands
Coordinates: 38°15′54″N20°33′09″E / 38.26500°N 20.55250°E / 38.26500; 20.55250 Coordinates: 38°15′54″N20°33′09″E / 38.26500°N 20.55250°E / 38.26500; 20.55250
Country Greece
Region Ionian Islands
Capital Argostoli
Government
  Vice-GovernorStavros Travlos
  MayorTheofilos Michalatos
Area
  Total786.58 km2 (303.70 sq mi)
  Land773 km2 (298 sq mi)
 Total area includes other islands which form part of the Cephalonia regional unit
Elevation
1,628 m (5,341 ft)
Population
 (2011)
  Total35,801
  Density46/km2 (120/sq mi)
Time zone UTC+2 (EET)
  Summer (DST) UTC+3 (EEST)
Postal codes
280 xx
Area codes 267x0
Car plates ΚΕ
Website www.kefallonia.gov.gr

Cephalonia or Kefalonia (Greek : Κεφαλονιά or Κεφαλληνία), formerly also known as Kefallinia or Kephallenia (Κεφαλληνία), is the largest of the Ionian Islands [1] in western Greece and the 6th largest island in Greece after Crete, Euboea, Lesbos, Rhodes, and Chios. It is also a separate regional unit of the Ionian Islands region, and the only municipality of the regional unit. It was also a former Latin Catholic diocese Kefalonia–Zakynthos (Cefalonia–Zante) and short-lived titular see as just Kefalonia. The capital city of Cephalonia is Argostoli. [2]

Contents

History

Antiquity

Legend

Excavations from Melissani in the Archaeological Museum of Argostoli Melissani-exc.jpg
Excavations from Melissani in the Archaeological Museum of Argostoli

An aition explaining the name of Cephallenia and reinforcing its cultural connections with Athens associates the island with the mythological figure of Cephalus, who helped Amphitryon of Mycenae in a war against the Taphians and Teleboans. [3] He was rewarded with the island of Same, which thereafter came to be known as Cephallenia.

Kefalonia has also been suggested as the Homeric Ithaca, the home of Odysseus, rather than the smaller island bearing this name today. Robert Bittlestone, in his book Odysseus Unbound , has suggested that Paliki, now a peninsula of Cephalonia, was a separate island during the late Bronze Age, and it may be this which Homer was referring to when he described Ithaca. A project which started in the summer of 2007 and lasted three years has examined this possibility. [4]

Kefalonia is also referenced in relation to the goddess Britomartis, as the location where she is said to have 'received divine honours from the inhabitants under the name of Laphria'.

Middle Ages

Evangelistria Church, St. George's castle. Kastro Kefalonia church.JPG
Evangelistria Church, St. George's castle.

In the late Roman Empire, Cephalonia was part of the Roman province of Achaea. Ecclesiastically it was a suffragan of the Metropolis of Nicopolis (the eparchy of Epirus I). [5] The four ancient cities of the island survived into late antiquity, with Samos probably as the island's capital. [5]

Following the loss of the bulk of Italy, and the expansion of the Muslims into the Western Mediterranean, the island became a strategically important base of operations for the Byzantine Empire in the area, blocking Muslim raids into the Adriatic and serving as a bridge for expeditions in Italy. [5] Already from the 8th century, it was the centre of the namesake theme of Cephallenia. [5] At the same time, the capital was moved to the Castle of Saint George, a more well-protected site in the island's interior. [5] Mardaites were resettled in Cephalonia to serve as marines, and political prisoners were sometimes exiled there. [5]

The loss of Byzantine Italy in 1071 diminished Cephalonia's importance, and its administration passed from a military strategos to a civilian judge ( krites ). [5] Its main city was besieged by the Italo-Normans in 1085, and the Venetians plundered the island in 1126. [5] Cephalonia was captured during the Third Norman invasion of the Balkans in 1185, and it became part of the County palatine of Cephalonia and Zakynthos under the Kingdom of Sicily and Venetian suzerainty, until its last Count Leonardo III Tocco was defeated and the island conquered by the Ottoman Empire in 1479. [1] [5]

Venetian rule

Turkish rule lasted only until 1500, when Cephalonia was captured by a Spanish-Venetian army, [1] a rare Venetian success in the Second Ottoman–Venetian War. From then on Cephalonia and Ithaca remained part of the Stato da Mar of the Venetian Republic until its very end, following the fate of the Ionian islands, completed by the capture of Lefkas from the Turks in 1684. The Treaty of Campoformio dismantling the Venetian Republic awarded the Ionian Islands to France, a French expeditionary force with boats captured in Venice taking control of the islands in June 1797.

Because of the liberal situation on the island, the Venetian governor Marc'Antonio Giustiniani (1516–1571) printed Hebrew books and exported them to the whole eastern Mediterranean. In 1596 the Venetians built the Assos Castle, one of Cephalonia's main tourist attractions today. From the 16th to the 18th centuries, the island was one of the largest exporters of currants in the world with Zakynthos, and owned a large shipping fleet, even commissioning ships from the Danzig shipyard. Its towns and villages were mostly built high on hilltops, to prevent attacks from raiding parties of pirates that sailed the Ionian Sea during the 1820s.

French, Ionian state period and British rule

The sea mills at the bay of Argostoli (1849) were a natural curiosity in the 19th century. Mount Ainos in the background. Meeresmuhlen-argostoli.jpg
The sea mills at the bay of Argostoli (1849) were a natural curiosity in the 19th century. Mount Ainos in the background.
The central square of Lixouri, 1910. Lixouri 1910.jpg
The central square of Lixouri, 1910.

Venice was conquered by France in 1797 and Cephalonia, along with the other Ionian Islands, became part of the French département of Ithaque.

In the following year, 1798, the French were forced to yield the Ionian Islands to a combined Russian and Turkish fleet. From 1799 to 1807, Cephalonia was part of the Septinsular Republic, nominally under the sovereignty of the Ottoman Empire, but protected by Russia.

By the Tilsit Treaty in 1807, the Ionian Islands were ceded back to France, which remained in control until 1809.

In 1809 Great Britain mounted a blockade on the Ionian Islands as part of the war against Napoleon, and in September of that year they hoisted the British flag above the castle of Zakynthos. Cephalonia and Ithaca soon surrendered, and the British installed provisional governments. The treaty of Paris in 1815 recognised the United States of the Ionian Islands and decreed that it become a British protectorate. Colonel Charles Philippe de Bosset became provisional governor between 1810 and 1814. During this period he was credited with achieving many public works, including the Drapano Bridge.

A few years later resistance groups started to form. Although their energy in the early years was directed to supporting the Greeks in the revolution against the Turks, it soon started to turn towards the British. By 1848 the resistance movement was gaining strength and there were skirmishes with the British Army in Argostoli and Lixouri, which led to some relaxation in the laws and to freedom of the press. Union with Greece was now a declared aim, and by 1849, a growing restlessness resulted in even more skirmishes. The twenty-one instigators were hanged, another 34 were jailed and 87 whipped. [6]

Cephalonia, along with the other islands, were transferred to Greece in 1864 as a gesture of goodwill when the British-backed Prince William of Denmark became King George the First of the Hellenes.

Union with Greece

In 1864, Cephalonia, together with all the other Ionian Islands, became a full member of the Greek state.

World War II

Fiskardo in the 1940s. Royal Air Force Operations in Malta, Gibraltar and the Mediterranean, 1940-1945. C3822.jpg
Fiskardo in the 1940s.
The Italian President Giorgio Napolitano in Cephalonia during remembrance ceremonies in honour of the soldiers of the Massacre of the Acqui Division. Napolitano cefalonia.jpg
The Italian President Giorgio Napolitano in Cephalonia during remembrance ceremonies in honour of the soldiers of the Massacre of the Acqui Division.

In World War II, the island was occupied by Axis powers. Until late 1943, the occupying force was predominantly Italian – the 33rd Infantry Division Acqui plus Navy personnel totalled 12,000 men – but about 2,000 troops from Germany were also present. The island was largely spared the fighting, until the armistice with Italy concluded by the Allies in September 1943. Confusion followed on the island, as the Italians were hoping to return home, but German forces did not want the Italians' munitions to be used eventually against them; Italian forces were hesitant to turn over weapons for the same reason. As German reinforcements headed to the island the Italians dug in and, eventually, after a referendum among the soldiers as to surrender or battle, they fought against the new German invasion.[ citation needed ] The fighting came to a head at the siege of Argostoli, where the Italians held out. Ultimately the Germans prevailed, taking full control of the island.

Approximately five thousand of the nine thousand surviving Italian soldiers were executed in reprisal by the German forces. The book Captain Corelli's Mandolin (US title Corelli's Mandolin), by Louis de Bernières, which was later made into a film, is based on this event. While the war ended in central Europe in 1945, Cephalonia remained in a state of conflict due to the Greek Civil War. Peace returned to Greece and the island in 1949. [ citation needed ]

Earthquake of 1953

Some ruins of the earthquake are still visible. Z-assos-1953.jpg
Some ruins of the earthquake are still visible.

Cephalonia lies just to the southeast of a major active fault zone, where the Eurasian Plate meets the Aegean Plate at a transform boundary. The island itself is affected by a series of active thrust faults, which are responsible for the continuing uplift.

A series of four earthquakes hit the island in August 1953, and caused major destruction, with virtually every house on the island destroyed. The third and most destructive of the quakes took place on August 12, 1953 at 09:24 UTC (11:24 local time), with a magnitude of 6.8 on the Moment magnitude scale. Its epicentre was directly south of the southern tip of Cephalonia, and caused the entire island to be raised 60 cm (24 in) higher, where it remains, with evidence in water marks on rocks around the coastline.

The 1953 Ionian earthquake disaster caused huge destruction, with only regions in the north escaping the heaviest tremors and houses there remaining intact. Damage was estimated to run into tens of millions of dollars, equivalent to billions of drachmas, but the real damage to the economy occurred when residents left the island. The majority of the population left the island soon after, seeking a new life elsewhere.

Recent history

Promenade of Argostoli Argostoli paralia.JPG
Promenade of Argostoli

The forest fire of the 1990s caused damage to the island's forests and bushes, especially a small scar north of Troianata, and a large area of damage extending from Kateleios north to west of Tzanata, ruining about 30 square kilometres (12 sq mi) of forest and bushes and resulting in the loss of some properties. The forest fire scar was visible for some years.

In mid-November 2003, an earthquake measuring 5.3 on the Richter magnitude scale caused minor damage to business, residential property, and other buildings in and near Argostoli. Damages were in the 1,000,000 range.

On the morning of Tuesday, September 20, 2005, an early-morning earthquake shook the south-western part of the island, especially near Lixouri and nearby villages. The earthquake measured 4.9 on the Richter magnitude scale, and its epicentre was located off the island at sea. Service vehicles took care of the area, and no damage was reported. From January 24–26, 2006, a major snowstorm blanketed the entire island, causing extensive blackouts. The island was recently struck yet again by another forest fire in the south of the island, beginning on Wednesday, July 18, 2007 during an unusual heatwave, and spreading slowly. Firefighters along with helicopters and planes battled the blaze for some days and the spectacle frightened residents on that area of the island.

In 2011 the eight former municipalities of the island lost their independence to form one united municipality. After losing its role as the capital of the island in the 19th century, Lixouri lost also its role as a seat of a municipality after 500 years. The Technological Educational Institute of the Ionian Islands closed one faculty in Lixouri and one in Argostoli.

In January 2014, an earthquake measuring 5.9 on the Richter magnitude scale left at least seven injured. There are reports of minor injuries and some damage to property," said the Foreign Office, on its website. "The airport remains operational but there may be some disruption to port services."

Archaeology

Coins from Pale/Pali, the ancient town north of Lixouri. Pale-bronze-coins.jpg
Coins from Pale/Pali, the ancient town north of Lixouri.

In the southwestern portion of the island, in the area of Leivatho, an ongoing archaeological field survey by the Irish Institute at Athens has discovered dozens of sites with dates ranging from the Palaeolithic to the Venetian period.

Cephalonia is extremely interesting archaeologically; finds go back to 40,000 BP. Without doubt, the most important era for the island is the Mycenaean era, from approximately 1500BC to 1100 BC. The archaeological museum in Cephalonia's capital, Argostoli – although small – is of great importance due to its exhibits from this era.

The most important archaeological discovery in Cephalonia (and indeed in Greece) of recent decades is that, in 1991, of the Mycenaean Tholos tomb at the outskirts of Tzanata, near Poros in southeastern Cephalonia (former Municipality of Elios-Pronni) in a setting of olive trees, cypresses and oaks. The tomb was erected around 1300 BC; kings and highly ranked officials were buried in such tombs during the Mycenaean period. It is the largest tholos tomb yet found in northwestern Greece, and was excavated by archaeologist Lazaros Kolonas. The size of the tomb, the nature of the burial offerings found there, and its well-chosen position point to the existence of an important Mycenaean town in the vicinity.

In late 2006, a Roman grave complex was uncovered as the foundation of a new hotel was being excavated in Fiskardo. The remains date to the period between the 2nd century BC and the 4th century AD. Archaeologists described it as the most important find of its kind in the Ionian Islands. Inside the complex, five burial sites were found, including a large vaulted tomb and a stone coffin, along with gold earrings and rings, gold leaves that may have been attached to ceremonial clothing, glass and clay pots, bronze artefacts decorated with masks, a bronze lock, and bronze coins. The tomb had escaped the attention of grave robbers and remained undisturbed for thousands of years. In a tribute to Roman craftsmanship, when the tomb was opened, the stone door easily swung on its stone hinges. A Roman theatre was discovered very near the tomb, so well preserved that the metal joints between the seats were still intact.

A dissertation published in 1987 claims that St. Paul, on his way from Palestine to Rome in AD 59, was shipwrecked and confined for three months not on Malta but on Cephalonia. [7] [8]

According to Clement of Alexandria, the island had the largest community of Carpocratians, an early Gnostic Christian sect, because Carpocrates lived on the island.

Population: historical evolution

In the ancient period, the people lived in four cities on the island. Krani, Sami, Pale and Pronni formed a federation called "tetrapolis".

In more recent times the population reached 70,000, in 1896, but declined gradually in the 20th century. The great 1953 Ionian earthquake forced many people to leave the island. [9] Many of those who left moved to Patras or Athens, or emigrated to America and Australia, following relatives who had left the island decades before. In the same period people from poorer areas of Greece such as Epirus and Thrace came to the island. The population has hovered between 35,000 and 42,000 since then; in the 2011 census, it was 35,801. [10]

YearPopulation
187968,321 [11]
189670,077 [12]
192055,030 [13]
194058,437 [14]
196139,793 [15]
198141,319 [16]
200134,544 [17]
201135,801 [10]

Most of the indigenous people of Cephalonia have surnames ending in "-atos", such as the Alexatos (Greek: Αλεξάτος) families, and almost every settlement on the island has a name ending in "-ata", such as Metaxata, Chavriata, Frangata, Lourdata, Favata, Delaportata and others.

Ecclesiastical history

In 1222 the Frankish Crusaders established the Diocese of Kefalonia–Zakynthos (Cefalonia–Zante in Curiate Italian), which survived their rule and even the Turks. In 1919, the residential see was suppressed but immediately transformed into a titular bishopric of Kefalonia (Cefalonia in Italian). The territory and title were merged into the Metropolitan Archdiocese of Corfu–Zakynthos–Kefalonia. In 1921, this was also suppressed, never having had an incumbent.

Geography

A poppy field Poppy field at Kefalonia island, Greece.jpg
A poppy field
Argostoli and Lixouri from the mountains. Argostoli and Lixouri from the mountains of Kefalonia.jpg
Argostoli and Lixouri from the mountains.
The famous Myrtos Beach Myrtos Beach, Kefalonia.jpg
The famous Myrtos Beach
Melissani Cave Lake-Melissani.JPG
Melissani Cave

The main island of the regional unit is Cephalonia and has a size of 773 km2 (300 mi2), with a population density of 55 people per km2 (140/mi2). The town of Argostoli has one-third of the island's inhabitants. Lixouri is the second major settlement, and the two towns together account for almost two-thirds of the prefecture's population.

The other major islands are: Petalas Island and Asteris Island, but they are uninhabited.

Cephalonia lies in the heart of an earthquake zone, and dozens of minor, unrecorded tremors occur each year. In 1953, a massive earthquake destroyed almost all of the settlements on the island, leaving only Fiskardo in the north untouched.

Important natural features include Melissani Lake, the Drogarati caves, and the Koutavos Lagoon in Argostoli.

The island has a rich biodiversity, with a substantial number of endemic and rare species. Some areas have been declared a site in the European Union's Natura 2000 network.

Mountains

The island's highest mountain is Mount Ainos, with an elevation of 1628 meters; to the west-northwest are the Paliki mountains, where Lixouri is found, with other mountains including Geraneia (Gerania) and Agia Dynati. The top of Mount Ainos is covered with fir trees and is a natural park.

Forestry is rare on the island; however its timber output is one of the highest in the Ionian islands, although lower than that of Elia in the Peloponnese. Forest fires were common during the 1990s and the early 2000s, and still pose a major threat to the population.

Capes

Flora

Most of the Ainos mountain range is designated as a National Park [18] and is covered with the unique species of Greek fir (Abies Cephalonica) and black pine (Pinus nigra). [19]

Fauna

Cephalonia is well known for its endangered loggerhead turtle population, also known as the Caretta caretta turtle, which nests on many of the beaches along the south coast of the island. The turtles can also be seen in the waters of Argostoli harbour, in Koutavos Lagoon, while walking on De Bosset Bridge. A small population of the endangered Mediterranean monk seal, Monachus monachus, also lives around the island's coast, especially on parts of the coast which are inaccessible to humans due to the terrain. Caves on these parts of the coast offer ideal locations for the seals to give birth to their pups and nurse them through the first months of their lives. The most famous breeding ground in Cephalonia is a cave on Foki beach, located on the north-east coast near Fiskardo.

The European pine marten also inhabits the island.

Over 200 species of birds have been spotted on the island. [20]

Climate

Cephalonia has hot, sunny summers and mild rainy winters. During winter it can occasionally snow on the mountain peaks of the island's mountain ranges. The winter months can experience up to 156 mm of rainfall, resulting in high levels of humidity on the island. Winter temperature on Kefalonia average at 14-15 C the day and fall at night to an average of 8-9 C. During the summer months there is usually little to no rainfall. Rain in the summer can usually be seen, but the dry air prevents it from being felt as it is evaporated before it reaches the ground.

Climate data for Argostoli (1981–2010)
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDecYear
Average high °C (°F)14.3
(57.7)
14.1
(57.4)
15.7
(60.3)
18.5
(65.3)
22.9
(73.2)
27.0
(80.6)
29.5
(85.1)
29.9
(85.8)
26.9
(80.4)
23.5
(74.3)
19.0
(66.2)
15.5
(59.9)
21.5
(70.7)
Daily mean °C (°F)11.3
(52.3)
11.1
(52.0)
12.3
(54.1)
14.9
(58.8)
19.7
(67.5)
22.6
(72.7)
25.1
(77.2)
25.7
(78.3)
23.0
(73.4)
19.9
(67.8)
15.9
(60.6)
12.6
(54.7)
17.8
(64.0)
Average low °C (°F)8.3
(46.9)
8.0
(46.4)
9.0
(48.2)
11.2
(52.2)
14.5
(58.1)
18.2
(64.8)
20.6
(69.1)
21.6
(70.9)
19.1
(66.4)
16.3
(61.3)
12.8
(55.0)
9.7
(49.5)
14.2
(57.6)
Average rainfall mm (inches)93.1
(3.67)
100.0
(3.94)
66.6
(2.62)
49.7
(1.96)
20.4
(0.80)
10.5
(0.41)
1.3
(0.05)
5.6
(0.22)
31.3
(1.23)
94.7
(3.73)
155.9
(6.14)
150.0
(5.91)
779.1
(30.68)
Average rainy days (≥ 1.0 mm)9995310137111270
Source: meteo-climat-bzh [21]

Economy

Calcium carbonate loaded in the port of Argostoli. Kalk-kefalonia.jpg
Calcium carbonate loaded in the port of Argostoli.
Fiscardo is a tourist attraction on the northern part of the island. Fiskardo, Kefalonia.jpg
Fiscardo is a tourist attraction on the northern part of the island.

Wine and raisins are the oldest products exported, being important until the 20th century. Today fish farming and calcium carbonate are most important.

A beach close to Argostoli in 1930 Paralia tou Platu Gialou.jpg
A beach close to Argostoli in 1930

Agriculture

The primary agricultural occupations are animal breeding and olive growing, with the remainder largely composed of grain and vegetables. Most vegetable production takes place on the plains, which cover less than 15% of the island, most of which is rugged and mountainous, suitable only for goats. Less than a quarter of the island's land is arable.

Until the 1970s, most Cephalonians lived in rural areas, while today, two-thirds of the population lives in urban areas, with the other third in rural towns and villages close to farmland.

The island has a long winemaking tradition and is home to the dry, white lemony wines made from the Robola grape. [22]

Olive oil production

Olive oil production is a major component of Cephalonia's economy. Until the 18th century, the quantity of olive oil produced on the island just covered the needs of the residents. However, the pressure of Venetian conquerors' for olive plantation, especially after the loss of Peloponnese and Crete, resulted in increasing the production to such a degree that the first exports to Venice began. Before the 1953 Ionian earthquake, there were 200 oil presses operating on the island; today, there are thirteen. There are over one million olive trees on Cephalonia, covering almost 55% of the island's area. Olive oil is very important to the island's local, agricultural economy. "Koroneiki" and "theiako" are the two main varieties cultivated on the island, followed by a smaller number of "ntopia" and "matolia". Kefalonian olive oil has a green tone, a rich, greasy touch, and low acidity.

Tourism

Tourism to Cephalonia started in the early 19th century. The royal family of Greece sent their children in the summer months to Lixouri, in the early 20th century, but the island was not discovered by most tourists until the 1980s. Cephalonia is a popular vacation destination for many Italians, due to its proximity to Italy.[ citation needed ]

Two cultural attractions, the fishing villages of Fiscardo and Assos, and other natural attractions, including Melissani underground lake, Drogarati cave and Myrtos beach, have helped popularize Cephalonia.[ citation needed ] The film, Captain Corelli's Mandolin (2001), shot on the island itself, made Cephalonia more widely known.

Listed in The Daily Telegraph as one of the 20 Mediterranean islands you must visit in your lifetime.

Culture

The Church of Gerasimus of Kefalonia, patron saint of Cephalonia, in Skala. St.Gerasimos1.jpg
The Church of Gerasimus of Kefalonia, patron saint of Cephalonia, in Skala.
Cambana Square, Argostoli. Kambana Square.JPG
Cambana Square, Argostoli.

Monasteries and churches

Across the broader island, two large monasteries are to be found: the first is that of Haghia Panagia in Markopoulo to the southeast, and the other lies on the road between Argostoli and Michata, on a small plain surrounded by mountains. This second has an avenue of about 200 trees aligned from NW to SE, with a circle in the middle, and is the monastery of Saint Gerasimus of Kefalonia, patron saint of the island, whose relics can be seen and venerated at the old church of the monastery. The monastery of "Sissia" was probably founded by Francis of Assisi, it was destroyed in 1953 but the ruins still exist. Although much of the island was destroyed by earthquakes, many notable churches all over the island have survived, some dating back to the renaissance. The ornaments of the churches are influenced by Venetian manierism.

Music

The Lixouri Philharmonic Orchestra during Easter. Lixouri Philharmonic Orchestra 1836.JPG
The Lixouri Philharmonic Orchestra during Easter.

The Ionian Islands have a musical tradition called the Ionian School. Lixouri has the Philharmonic Orchestra (since 1836) and Argostoli the Rokos Vergottis Conservatory. Richard Strauss visited Lixouri some times where he had an affair with the pianist Dora Wihan (born Weiss).

Literature and film

The novelists Nikos Kavvadias (1910–1975) and the Swiss Georges Haldas  [ de ] (1917–2010) spent parts of their life on the island. Andreas Laskaratos was a satirical poet and wrote about the society in the town of Lixouri. Lord Byron wrote parts of "Prelude" and "Don Juan" in Livatho.

Perhaps the best known appearance of Cephalonia in popular culture is in the novel Captain Corelli's Mandolin , by the English author Louis de Bernières. The book is believed to have been inspired by the village of Farsa, just outside Argostoli. The love story comprising the theme of the book is set before and after the Acqui Division massacre, [23] during the Second World War. A film adaptation was released in 2001. During filming there was lively debate between the production team, local authorities as well as groups of citizens, as to the complex historical details of the island's antifascist resistance. As a result, political references were omitted from the film, and the romantic core of the book was preserved, without entering complex debates about the island's history. In 2005, Riccardo Milani made his TV movie, Cefalonia, also about the massacre, with music by Ennio Morricone.

Museums

Higher education

Sport

Baseball

Cycling

Football (soccer)

  • Anogi F.C.
  • Argostoli A.U.
  • Asteras Lixouri
  • Asteras Z
  • Dilinata AU
  • Efgeros Faraklades Argostoli
  • Ikossimias AU
  • Kefalliniakos
  • Kefalonia-Ithaca
  • Leivatho A.U.
  • Papavrgiakos
  • PAO Kefalos
  • Pylariakos
  • Proodos Ithaki
  • Sami AU

Other sports

Transportation

The ferry between Lixouri and Argostoli. Ferry loading at, Argostoli, Kephalonia, Greece.jpg
The ferry between Lixouri and Argostoli.

Harbours and ports

There are five harbours and ports in the prefecture: four main harbours on the island, Sami, a major port with links to Patras and Ithaca; Poros, in the south, has ferry routes to Kyllini; Argostoli, in the west, is the largest port, for local boats and ferries to Zante and regularly to Lixouri; Fiscardo, in the north, has links to Lefkas and Ithaca. There is room for about 100 small boats [27] in Argostoli, where the port stretches 1 kilometre around the bay, while Lixouri is situated 4 km (2 mi) across the bay from Argostoli, on the Lixouri peninsula. There is a road connection to the rest of the island, but driving from Lixouri to Argostoli involves a 30 km (19 mi) detour.

Roads

The first larger roads were built by the British in the 19th century. In the 20th century asphalted roads were built, and since 1995 almost all streets connecting villages and beaches are covered with asphalt. Since c. 2000 the Lixouri bypass was built and a four lane street south of Argostoli was constructed. Some important roads include:

Public transportation

The ferry between Argostoli and Lixouri goes every hour and every half-hour in the season. There are a few bus lines serving the more rural areas of Kefalonia, but often only two times a day. The KTEL bus cooperation offers services from Lixouri, Poros and Argostoli to the mainland.

Airport

Cephalonia has one airport, Kefalonia Island International Airport, named Anna Pollatou (IATA: EFL, ICAO: LGKF) with a runway around 2.4 km (1.5 mi). in length, located about 10 km (6 mi) south of Argostoli. Almost every scheduled flight is an Olympic Air route, flying mainly to and from Athens, although there is an Ionian Island Hopper [28] service three times a week calling at Cephalonia, Zante and Lefkas. In summer the airport handles a number of charter flights from all over Europe.

In December 2015 the privatisation of Kefalonia Airport and 13 other regional airports of Greece was finalised with the signing of the agreement between the Fraport AG/Copelouzos Group joint venture and the state privatisation fund. "We signed the deal today," the head of Greece's privatisation agency HRADF, Stergios Pitsiorlas, told Reuters. According to the agreement, the joint venture will operate the 14 airports (including Kefallinia International Airport) for 40 years as of autumn 2016.

Administration

Cephalonia is a distinct regional unit of the Ionian Islands region, and the only municipality of the regional unit. The seat of administration is Argostoli, the island's main town. Amid the 2011 Kallikratis government reform, the regional unit of Kefallinia was created from part of the former Kefalonia and Ithaca Prefecture. During the same reform, the current municipality of Cephalonia was created from the eight former municipalities, which are now municipal units: [2]

The municipality has an area of 786.575 km2. [29] The Cephalonia regional unit also includes a number of uninhabited islands of the Echinades group. They are administered by the municipality of Pylaros. The most significant are as follows:

NameGreekSubgroupArea (km2) [30] Highest
Point [31]
Location
Praso ΠράσοDrakoneres 38°28′58″N20°58′10″E / 38.48278°N 20.96944°E / 38.48278; 20.96944 (Praso)
Sofia ΣοφίαDrakoneres0.174 38°28′49″N21°0′5″E / 38.48028°N 21.00139°E / 38.48028; 21.00139 (Sofia)
Lamprinos ΛαμπρινόςDrakoneres0.35261 m 38°28′22″N21°0′18″E / 38.47278°N 21.00500°E / 38.47278; 21.00500 (Lambrinos)
Filippos ΦίλιπποςDrakoneres0.046 [32] 38°28′17″N21°0′55″E / 38.47139°N 21.01528°E / 38.47139; 21.01528 (Philippos)
Pistros ΠίστροςDrakoneres0.11441 m 38°27′51″N21°0′58″E / 38.46417°N 21.01611°E / 38.46417; 21.01611 (Pistros)
Kalogiros ΚαλόγηροςDrakoneres0.249 38°29′28″N21°8′49″E / 38.49111°N 21.14694°E / 38.49111; 21.14694 (Kalogiros)
Tsakalonisi ΤσακαλονήσιDrakoneres0.1 38°27′44″N21°2′11″E / 38.46222°N 21.03639°E / 38.46222; 21.03639 (Tsakalonisi)
Girovaris or GkravarisΓηρόβαρης or ΓκράβαρηςModia24 m 38°26′24″N21°1′36″E / 38.44000°N 21.02667°E / 38.44000; 21.02667 (Gravaris)
Soros ΣωρόςModia0.038 [32] 31 m 38°26′5″N21°1′30″E / 38.43472°N 21.02500°E / 38.43472; 21.02500 (Soros)
Apasa ΆπασαModia0.024 [32] 17 m 38°25′53″N21°1′29″E / 38.43139°N 21.02472°E / 38.43139; 21.02472 (Apasa)
Modio or ModiΜοδιό or ΜόδιModia0.25866 m 38°25′25″N21°1′20″E / 38.42361°N 21.02222°E / 38.42361; 21.02222 (Modi)
Petalas ΠεταλάςOuniades5.497251 m 38°24′50″N21°5′41″E / 38.41389°N 21.09472°E / 38.41389; 21.09472 (Petalas)

Notable people and residents

Constantine Phaulkon. Constantin Phaulkon.jpg
Constantine Phaulkon.
Melissinos Petros.JPG
Spiridione Lusi (1741 - 1815).jpg
Cephalonia-born Greeks of the 18th century. Petros Melissinos (c. 1726–1797) (left) and Spiridon Louzis (c. 1741–1815) (right). [33]
Statue of Panayis Athanase Vagliano in Argostoli. Panagis Vallianos.jpg
Statue of Panayis Athanase Vagliano in Argostoli.
Antiquity
Middle Ages to 1800
1800 to recent past
Recent past to present

Cephalonia is the home of Kassandra and Alexios, main characters of the videogame Assassin's Creed Odyssey (2018). [38]

The 1994 novel Captain Corelli's Mandolin by Louis de Bernières, and the 2001 film adaptation of the same name, are primarily set in Cephalonia. [39]

See also

Related Research Articles

Ithaca Regional unit in Ionian Islands, Greece

Ithaca, Ithaki or Ithaka is a Greek island located in the Ionian Sea, off the northeast coast of Kefalonia and to the west of continental Greece.

Ionian Islands Traditional region of Greece

The Ionian Islands are a group of islands in Greece. They are traditionally called the Heptanese, but the group includes many smaller islands as well as the seven principal ones.

Argostoli Place in Greece

Argostoli is a town and a former municipality on the island of Kefalonia, Ionian Islands, Greece. Since the 2011 local government reform it is part of the municipality Kefalonia, of which it is a municipal unit. It has been the capital and administrative centre of Kefalonia since 1757, following a population shift down from the old capital of Agios Georgios to take advantage of the trading opportunities provided by the sheltered bay upon which Argostoli sits. Argostoli developed into one of the busiest ports in Greece, leading to prosperity and growth. The municipal unit has an area of 157.670 km2. The 2011 census recorded a population of 10,633 in the Argostoli municipal unit. Its largest towns are Argostóli, Razata (507), Dilináta (496) and Kompothekráta (449).

Septinsular Republic Ottoman and Russian protectorate in the southwest Balkans from 1800-07

The Septinsular Republic was an oligarchic republic that existed from 1800 to 1807 under nominal Russian and Ottoman sovereignty in the Ionian Islands.

Tzanata Place in Greece

Tzanata is an inland village in the southeast of Kefalonia, one of the Ionian Islands of Greece. It is part of the community of Poros within the Eleios-Pronnoi municipal unit. It is situated 3 km southwest of Poros, 25 km southeast of Sami and 36 km east of Argostoli.

Vlachata Place in Greece

Vlachata is a village and a community in the eastern part of the municipal unit of Leivatho near the south coast of the island of Kefalonia, Greece. To avoid confusion with another Vlachata near Sami, it is also known as Vlachata Eikosimias. The community consists of the villages Vlachata and Simotata, which is 2 km east of Vlachata. Vlachata is situated on a mountain slope above the Ionian Sea coast, at about 200 m elevation. Mount Ainos, the highest point of Cephalonia, is 4 km to the northeast. Vlachata is 1 km northwest of Lourdata, 2 km southeast of Mousata, 13 km southwest of Poros and 13 km southeast of Argostoli. The road from Argostoli to Poros runs through Vlachata. Vlachata suffered great damage from the 1953 Ionian earthquake.

Poros, Cephalonia Place in Greece

Poros is a picturesque small town located in the municipal unit of Eleios-Pronnoi, some 40 km SE of Argostoli, 28 km SE of Sami and 12 km NE of Skala, in the southeast of Cephalonia, one of the Ionian Islands of Greece.

Fiskardo Place in Greece

Fiskardo is a village and a community on the Ionian island of Kefalonia, Greece. It is part of the municipal unit of Erisos. It is the northernmost port of Kefalonia, a short distance from Ithaca. Fiskardo has a small and diminishing fishing fleet. The coast around Fiskardo is mainly rocky with numerous pebble-beached coves. The port serves ferry routes to the ports of Frikes (Ithaca) and Lefkada. It is 5 km north of Vasilikades, 24 km north of Sami and 32 km north of Argostoli. Cephalonia International Airport is 61 km to the south, by road. The community of Fiskardo consists of the villages Fiskardo, Evreti, Katsarata, Matsoukata and Tselentata.

Peratata Place in Greece

Peratata is a village and a community in the municipal unit of Leivatho, in the southern part of the island of Cephalonia, Greece. It is situated at the foot of a hill, which is crowned by the Agios Georgios fortress. The community consists of the villages Peratata and Kastro. The western part of Peratata is referred to as Travliata. Peratata is 2 km north of Kerameies, 3 km south of Troianata, 8 km southeast of Argostoli and 19 km west of Poros. The road from Argostoli to Poros and Skala passes through the village.

Karytaina Place in Greece

Karytaina or Karitaina is a village and a community in Arcadia, Greece. Karytaina is situated on a hill on the right bank of the river Alpheios, near its confluence with the Lousios. The village dates back to the Middle Ages, but its history is unknown before the Crusader conquest ca. 1205. Karytaina became the seat of a barony under the Frankish Principality of Achaea, and the Castle of Karytaina was built in the mid-13th century on a steep rocky outcrop by Baron Geoffrey of Briel. The area returned to Byzantine control in 1320, and came under Ottoman control in 1460. After a brief period of Venetian rule (1687–1715), Karytaina returned to Ottoman control, and prospered as an administrative and commercial centre. Karytaina and its inhabitants were among the first to rise up during the Greek War of Independence of 1821–29. Today Karytaina is a protected traditional settlement and has, alongside the remains of its Frankish castle, several other medieval and Ottoman monuments.

Paliki Place in Greece

Paliki is a peninsula and a former municipality on the island of Kefalonia, Ionian Islands, Greece. Since the 2011 local government reform it is part of the municipality Kefalonia, of which it is a municipal unit. The municipal unit has an area of 119.341 km2. The name comes from the ancient town of Pale/Pali, which was north of Lixouri and is now an archaeological site. The peninsula is the westernmost part of Kefalonia. The seat of the municipality was the town Lixouri (3.752).

Lixouri Place in Greece

Lixouri is the main town on the peninsula of Paliki in the island of Kefalonia, the largest of the Ionian Islands of western Greece. Lixouri is the second largest town in Kefalonia after Argostoli and before Sami and is the capital of the peninsula. It is located south of Fiskardo and west of Argostoli.

Farsa, Greece Place in Greece

Farsa is a village on the island of Kefalonia, Greece, part of the municipal unit of Argostoli. It is situated on the eastern shore of the Gulf of Argostoli. Farsa is 2 km northwest of Davgata, 4 km northeast of Lixouri and 6 km north of Argostoli. Records exist in the Venetian archives for this village since the early Venetian period. During World War II many Italian soldiers were posted there and it was one of the places that the Massacre of the Acqui Division took place. The 1953 Ionian earthquake damaged many buildings in the old village of Farsa but did not totally destroy it. The remains of the old village are visible today. Dr. Nicholas Zaferatos, an environmental studies professor in the Huxley College at Western Washington University has made a study with his students on the renovation of the old village. The entire population that time as well as other parts of the island were homeless and part of the population left Farsa.

United States of the Ionian Islands

The United States of the Ionian Islands was a Greek state and amical protectorate of Great Britain between 1815 and 1864. The successor state of the Septinsular Republic, it covered the territory of the Ionian Islands, in modern Greece, and was ceded to Greece as a gift of Britain to the newly-enthroned King George I after the resolution for union with Greece had been proposed by the Party of Radicals.

Arginia Place in Greece

Arginia is a small village in the southern part of the island of Kefalonia, Greece. In 2011 its population was 15. It is situated on the southeastern slope of the Mount Ainos, at about 550 m elevation. It is 2 km north of Valerianos, 3 km west of Pastra, 8 km southwest of Poros and 22 km southeast of Argostoli. Arginia was devastated by the 1953 Ionian earthquake.

Xenopoulo Place in Greece

Xenopoulo is a small village and a community in the island of Kefalonia, Greece. Its population in 2011 was 50 for the village, and 108 for the community, which includes the villages Andriolata and Kapandriti. Xenopoulo is situated at the eastern slope of Mount Ainos, at about 320 m elevation. It is 3 km northwest of Agia Eirini, 5 km west of Poros and 21 km east of Argostoli. Xenopoulo was devastated by the 1953 Ionian earthquake.

Andreas Laskaratos Greek satirical poet and writer

Andreas Laskaratos was a satirical poet and writer from the Ionian island of Cefalonia, representative of the Heptanese School (literature). He was excommunicated by the Greek Orthodox Church because his satire targeted many of the church's prominent members.

1953 Ionian earthquake

The 1953 Ionian earthquake struck the southern Ionian Islands in Greece on August 12. In mid-August there were over 113 recorded earthquakes in the region between Kefalonia and Zakynthos, and the most destructive was the August 12 earthquake. The event measured 6.8 on the moment magnitude scale, raised the whole island of Kefalonia by 60 cm (24 in), and caused widespread damage throughout the islands of Kefalonia and Zakynthos. The maximum felt intensity of shaking was X (extreme) on the Mercalli intensity scale. Between 445 and 800 people were killed.

Ionian Islands (region) administrative region of Greece

The Ionian Islands Region is one of the thirteen administrative regions of Greece, and the smallest of the thirteen by area. The administrative region does not include all of the Ionian Islands; the island of Kythera, which historically was part of the island group, was separated and integrated to the Attica Region.

Assos Castle

The Assos Castle is a Venetian fortification on Cephalonia island in western Greece.

References

Citations

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Further reading