Interesting Places in Kefalonia
Kefalonia is filled with interesting historical and unusual sites, below are just a few…
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Here are some of the wonderful sights in Kefalonia, there are some wonderful things to do on the island and great tours including boat trips and much more. Most people holiday in Kefalonia to relax and enjoy the sunshine, perhaps enjoy a walk and take in the beauty. However if you are looking to see more of the island here are some things that you may wish to seek out.
For an interesting day out you might wish to visit the mummified body of St Gerasimos who is the Patron Saint Of Kefalonia. His body is sacred and is kept in a casket within the monastery. The old monastery is built over the cave where St Gerasimos lived as a hermit and can be reached by climbing down a ladder into the cavern below.
The Mycenaean tombs are worth checking out. They are situated beneath Saint Georges castle near the town of Travliata close to Argasoli’s main road. It would be easy to miss these ancient relic’s but they offer an interesting insight into Kefalonia’s history.
Mount Ainos Mountain
Mount Ainos is the mountain that stands on Kefalonia and gives the island some fantasitc scenary. As Greeces 3rd highest mountain it sits between Argostoli and Sami. Its highest peak (megalos Soros) is 1626 metres above sea level and stretches as far as the outlying villages of Poros in the South. The forest on mount Ainos was declared a National Park in 1962. There is an abundance of flora and fauna- great for nature lovers and walkers, but the road is rough and approximately 6 kms long. On the highest peak – just when you could do with finding a place for refreshments – all you will see are Radio and Television towers as well as a radar base for the NATO defence forces. If you are lucky you may also spot the last few remaining wild horses living on the south eastern slopes. However, the views of the island are amazing and make everything else worthwhile.
St. Georgios Castle
The castle of St George dates back to Byzantine times but the castles form that you will see now dates to the sixteenth century. After the Venetians conquered the Turks, the Castle became the capital of their new colony. At the peak of Venetian power, 15,000 people lived in the fortress and its surrounding houses. Within up to 82 ft high and 20 ft thick walls, 8000 people found shelter whenever pirates or hostile forces attacked. It was the capital of the island until 1757.
Just 1.5 miles from from Sami you will find the cave of Drogarati a naturally formed cave that is at least 150 million years old. It has steps leading down in to the depths of the earth with a very impressive path, comfortable to walk on, has been hammered out between the huge stalactites and stalagmites. Because of its fantastic acoustics, Drogarati during the summer the cave is often used for musical concerts and performances.
The Melissani lake is one of the islands wonders, it is a stunning underground lake with the most stunning crystal blue water and is truely beautiful. Most of the roof of the cave collapsed during the earthquake of 1953. The rocks at the bottom of the lake cause the water to shimmer in all shades of green and blue. Small rowing boats manned by experiences guides take you into the cave giving you an amazing viewpoint of the stalactites which are over 1000 years old. In ancient times the cave was used as a place of worship of the God Pan and the nymph Melissan.
During the earthquake of 1953 the former convent from Byzantine times was very badly damaged and was mostly lost. Fortunately although much was unable to be saved the church was able to be restored and is now used as a facinating museum. During the earthquake, plaster fell from the church walls and revealed frescoes from the 16th century. You can also see precious vestments and icons in the museum. the most valuable treasure of the church is a relic – in a glass case lies the sole of St Andrea’s right foot.
Kourkoumelata / Metaxata
A small but pretty village worth visiting is Kourkoumelata. Kourkoumelata was crushed by the earthquake in 1953 but was completely rebuilt and restored by Giorgos Vergotis a Greek shipowner. If you like poetry, on the return journey from Kourkoumelata to Argostoli you will see where the famous poet Lord Byron stayed in Metaxata – a small village where he has been honoured with a bust that has been erected in front of the house where he stayed.
Monasteries of Kefalonia
Kefalonia has many Monasteries for you to visit while taking a holiday on the island. In the valley of Omalon you wll find the Agios Gerasimos monastery which is famous as it is holds the remains of a famous saint.
- The Monastery of Panagia of Thematon , situated near Agia Efthimia.
- The Monastery in Panagia Atrou, this is actually Kefalonia’s oldest Monastery.
- The Monastery of Panagia Kekrionos is close to Lixouri village as is the Kipouria Monastery and the Monastery of Panagia Koronatou .
- Near Fiscardo there is the Monastery of Panagia of Platiteras and if you are visiting Assos you will be able to visit a Venetian Castle.
- The village of Lixouri will give you the oportunity to visit graves that date back to the Mycenaean times.
- The Monastery of Agios Andreas, holds the Saint’s remains and is located just up the road from Svoronata village.
- In Sami you will find the ancient city which is close to the new town, you can also find the Panagia of Agrilion Monastery.
- If you fancy visiting the folk museum a trip to the capital, the public library in Argostoli will give you access to a large collection of historical icons.
- For a historical overview of the island you could visit the Archeological Museum in Argostoli, here you will find all sorts of interesting information and findings about the islands historical nature.
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