Avithos-Livatho-Argostoli Cultural Sites & Places to Visit

Cultural Sites

Much of Cephalonia's history is well-preserved, and there are many fascinating sites that we would recommend visiting. Here is just a selection of our favourite cultural sites...
 
Agios Georgios Castle

The castle is built on a hilltop with a height of 300 metres. The castle grounds cover an area of about 16.000 square metres and the perimeter of the castle walls is about 600 metres. The polvgonal-shaped castle consists of an external wall, an internal wall in the shape of a horseshoe, and a rocky peak in the centre of the compound upon which are the ruins of the old fortress, which dates back to the tl ι i rteenth century. Within the ibrtress compound there were both public and private buildings, churches, food and ammunition storerooms, hospitals, barracks, prison cells and water reservoirs. Engraved in many buildings is the coat of arms of noble families.The castle grounds are monitored bv guards and are open from Tuesday to Friday during the summer months.It is located at the T-junction as you enter (he village of Kastro, and Ayios Theodore's church which you access via a lanewav that veers off the main road in Kastro before you reach the castle.

Archaeological Museum of Argostoli 

This museum houses a displav of finds which date back to the Paleolithic and Roman periods, and it shows the development of both civilisation and art on the island by displaying tools, coins, vessels, mosaics, sculptures, jewellery etc. An entire hall is dedicated to the display' of finds from the Mycenaean period, being the most significant period of all in Cephalonia.
On display are items found from excavations of tombs at Mazarakata. Kokolata, Metaxata. Lakithra. Kondovenada. and Poros. It is open from Tuesday to Sunday from 08:30 to 15:00 and is closed on public holidays.

Napier's Garden

Argostoli Region Just next to PlateiaVallianouinthe heart of Argostoli is Napier's Garden. It sits on the low Koutoupi Hill and with its many picnic tables shaded by beautiful till trees, it is a lovely place to escape from the hustle and bustle of busy Argosotli. Sir Charles Napier bought the land at Koutoupi Hill in 1828. Napier loved Cephalonia so much that he even named one of his daughters Emily-Kefallinia! At a later date the Archbishop of Cephalonia asked Emily-Kefallinia if she would donate the property' in order for a hospital to be built there. The land was eventually handed over to the Municipality in 1905. after which time the Garden was developed in Napier's memory. A kiosk and cafe were built in the Garden, and a marble bust of Napier was erected. As a result of World War II the park was destroyed by both bombing raids and vandals. It was reconstructed but damaged again when the earthquake hit in 1953. Today. Napier's Garden has been restored and it is a quiet place of recreation maintained by the Municipality.

Ayios Andreas Monastery

The Ayios Andreas 'Milapidia' Monastery was founded in 1579. The old Monastery of Ayios Andreas 'Milapidia' has been converted into a Byzantine museum which houses rare exhibits dating from (he thirteenth to nineteenth centuries. In the new church the right foot of Apostle Andreas is stored. The old church dates back to 1600 and was restored by the army after the 1953 earthquake and was converted to a museum. The museum has some exquisite frescoes dating from the fifteenth to eighteenth centuries, and a temple from the seventeenth century. There are also icons painted by famous Greek iconographers. as well as a gold-embroidered sack dating back to 1721 which belonged to a bishop of Cephalonia. The sack is regarded as one of the most significant pieces of embroidery in the world. As with Saint Gerasimos, the Monastery of Ayios Andreas is a nunnery.

Cephalonia Botanica 

Cephalonia Botanica was first started in 2000 by the Focas-Cosmetatos Foundation. It is set in a former olive grove in an idyllic setting, its primary purpose being that of recreation and education. It has a collection of native flora species which it is trying to conserve. It is open to the public Tuesday to Saturday from 09:30 to 13:00 from May to October, and is closed on public holidays.

Drapanos Bridge 

The stone bridge joining Argostoli to Drapanos was built in 1813 under the administration of Charles Philippe De Bosset. De Bosset realised the difficulty posed by Argostoli's disconnection from the rest of the island, and so he proposed the idea of a bridge - up until then the only way to reach Argostoli was either by small boat across the lagoon or by travelling through the dangerous marshland around the lagoon, which was nothing more than a swamp. The Argostoli council rejected the bold plan due to the financial cost invoked and for fear that Argostoli would become vulnerable to gang invasions from villages across the lagoon. However De Bosset was able to overcome these obstacles and the wooden bridge was built in two weeks.Drapanos Bridge largely survived the 1953 earthquake but required repairs. Unfortunately the bridge has started to deteriorate and since 2005 vehicular access to the bridge has ceased, the Municipality-having designated it as a pedestrian-only bridge.

K
ourkoumelata 

The village of Kourkouinelata was rebuilt after the 1953 earthquake with the financial aid of ship-owner and benefactor George Vergotis. He reorganised and rebuilt the village in keeping with the neoclassical architecture that was prevalent during that time. The village is beautifully laid out with lovely flowerbeds and manicured lawns. New roads were built and it was the first village to receive electricity after Argostoli and Sami. Along with the beautiful homes, the village also has well-maintained public areas and buildings where concerts, exhibitions and lectures occur. When Vergotis rebuilt the village, he even paid the electricity bill for all of its inhabitants.
 
Lord Byron's Rock

There is an area where the village of Lakithra ends at the top of a hill above the airport called Kallithea (meaning 'good view'). As the name suggests, the view from here is truly beautiful as you can see the whole of the Livathos region before you extending out to the airport, and in the background is Zakynthos amidst the deep blue sea. It was in this area that Lord Bvron would sit and contemplate at a place called the Vrahos (meaning "rock'). Here, he composed his poems whilst looking out at the beautiful Ionian Sea. This area is now aptly known as 'Lord Byron's Rock', and a plaque has been placed on the rock with (he inscription 'If I became a poet I owe it to the air of Greece'.

Mazarakata Tombs 

The tombs at Mazarakata were excavated under (he administration of Charles de Bosset from 1810-1814, and then by Greek archaeologist P. Kavadia in the years 1889 and 1908-1909. Later excavations were also carried out by Spiro Marinatos in 1951. The excavations revealed many Mycenaean pots and vessels and other small personal items, some of whichcan be viewed atthe ArchaeologicalMuseum of Argostoli, and others at the National Archaeological Museum of Athens. Some archaeological finds, however, were transferred by De Bosset himself to the Neuchatel Museum of Switzerland.

Italian War Memorial 

The Italian War Memorial is on a peaceful hilltop between Argostoli and Katavothres. The memorial was erected in memory of the 10.000 Italian troops of'the Acqui Division who lost their lives in 1943 as a result of the tragic turn of events between the Italian and German forces on the island. Formal memorial services held in memorv of the fallen soldiers are also attended bv Italian Government officials. The site also sees manny Italians make their pilgrimage there to pay their respects.

Katavothres 

The Katavothres are underground seawater rhannels in which water is drawn up from the sea and then disappears. They are located on the fringe along the Fanari Road circular walk. The Katavothres phenomenon remained an mexplained mystery until 1963, when a group of scientists added a special pigment to the water at the swallow holes and it re-emerged two weeks later in region of Sami. The experiment illustrated how ter travels a distance of fifteen kilometres rough the underground channels, arriving after dayson Melissani Lake. Along the wav the seawater mixes with fresh water currents underground and so it finally emerges as a mixture of sea and fresh water on the east coast.

Korgialenios Historical & Folklore Museum

This museum is located on the ground floor of the Korgialenio Library and has a rich display of exhibitions which give an insight into the way of life in Cephalonia, particularly in the nineteenth century. The culture and history of the island is demonstrated through a series of reconstructed rooms, from a peasant's home to a mansion. On display are items such as intricate lacework, needlework and outfits, local traditional costumes, antique furniture, lithographs and photographs of Cephalonia both pre- and post-earthquake. The pre-earthquake photographs of .Argostoli, in particular, capture the beautiful architecture prior to its destruction, giving the visitor an appreciation of the classical architecture and culture that prevailed at that time.
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