What are some of the most interesting facts and legends about Kefalonia?

Kefalonia is one of the most beautiful and mysterious islands in Greece. It has a long and rich history, a stunning natural beauty, and a fascinating culture. Whether you are planning to visit Kefalonia or you are just curious about this amazing place, here are some of the most interesting facts and legends about Kefalonia that you should know.

1. Kefalonia has a long history

Kefalonia is one of the oldest inhabited places in Greece, dating back to the Paleolithic age. The first inhabitants of Kefalonia were the Leleges, who worshipped Poseidon, the ancient Greek god of the sea. They founded four main cities on the island: Sami, Pahli, Krani, and Pronnoi, which were named after their sons. These cities were independent and autonomous, and had their own regimes and coins. This is why Kefalonia was called Tetrapolis (Four Towns) during this period.

Kefalonia participated in the Persian and Peloponnesian Wars on the side of both Athens and Sparta. It was also attacked by Philip of Macedonia, who was defeated by the help of the Athenians. The Romans conquered Kefalonia in 187 BC, after months of fighting against the resistance of the islanders. They used Kefalonia as a strategic spot to conquer the mainland and turned it into a naval base. During this period, the island suffered from invaders and pirate raids.

The Byzantine era began in the 4th century AD, but it was also marked by the threat of pirates, especially the Saracens. In the 11th century, Kefalonia fell under Frankish rule, and then it was successively conquered by the Normans, the Orsinis, the Andeans and the Toccans. The first Turkish attack was made by Ahmed Pasha in 1480, who ruled the island for a short time and devastated it when he left.

Kefalonia came under the domination of the Venetians and the Spanish in the following centuries. The political and military centers of the island were the Fortress of Saint George and the Castle of Assos, which was destroyed by an earthquake in 1757. The capital moved to Argostoli and is still there today. During the Venetian domination, the island’s society was divided into three classes: the nobles, who had all the privileges; the bourgeoisie, who were merchants and craftsmen; and the peasants, who were poor and oppressed.

The French arrived in 1797 and were welcomed by the inhabitants as Napoleon promised to liberate them from the oligarchic system created by the Venetians. The French publicly burnt the Golden Book where the names and privileges of the nobles were written. The French were later defeated by the allied fleet of the Russians, the Turks, and the English. The Ionian State was founded in Constantinople in 1800 and was under the supervision of the Sultan. The nobles regained their privileges.

The British took over Kefalonia in 1809 and ruled it until 1864, when it finally reunited with Greece. The British made many improvements on the island, such as roads, bridges, schools, hospitals, and public works. They also introduced cricket as a sport on Kefalonia. However, they also faced resistance from some locals who wanted independence.

A big earthquake in 1953 destroyed almost all
the buildings of Kefalonia, causing huge damages to
the island. Despite this natural disaster and
the mass immigration from
the island,
Kefalonia managed to recover,
thanks to shipping
and tourism development.

2. Goats have golden teeth in Kefalonia

This may sound strange,
but it’s true.
There are goats with golden teeth
in Kefalonia!
The reason for this phenomenon
is that
the soil in Kefalonia is rich
in inorganic metals,
which are responsible for
the goats’ golden teeth.
Kefalonian goats live
the wild nature
and can survive many days without drinking any water,
thanks to
the island’s humidity!
keep your eyes peeled for
the beautiful goats climbing on
the steep cliffs of
the island!

3. Kefalonia is very close to Corfu

Another interesting fact about Kefalonia is that
it is very close to Corfu,
another famous and beautiful island
in Greece.
It is only about 100 km away
from Corfu,
and you can easily visit both islands
at once.
Corfu has luxurious hotels,
amazing beaches,
and luscious local dishes!
Corfu also has a long history
and was conquered many times,
same as Kefalonia.
As a result,
it has many interesting places for sightseeing!
try to combine your trip to Kefalonia
with your Corfu holidays.
We promise it’s gonna worth it!

4. Kefalonia is home to the endangered caretta-caretta sea turtles

If you are a nature lover,
you’ll love the adorable caretta-caretta turtles!
This sea turtle species
is the only one that finds shelter
in Greece.
They are between 1-1.2 meters long
and can live up to 65 (!) years.
Many beaches in Kefalonia are protected
during caretta-caretta reproduction period.
This is because
the female caretta-caretta turtles drag themselves out of
the sea at night
and bury their eggs in the sand to hatch.

The most famous beach for
the caretta-caretta turtles
is Skala beach,
where you can see them laying their eggs
or swimming in the water.
You can also visit the Sea Turtle Protection Society of Greece (Archelon)
in Argostoli,
where you can learn more about these amazing creatures
and how to protect them.

5. Kefalonia has some of the most exotic beaches in Greece

Kefalonia is blessed with some of the most exotic beaches in Greece,
with emerald waters and white sand.
Some of these beaches are so unique and stunning
that they have been featured in movies and magazines.
For example,
Myrtos beach is considered one of the most beautiful beaches in the world,
with its turquoise water and dramatic cliffs.
It was also the setting for some scenes of the movie Captain Corelli’s Mandolin,
based on the novel by Louis de Bernieres.

Another famous beach is Antisamos beach,
which was also used for the movie Captain Corelli’s Mandolin.
It has crystal clear water and green surroundings,
making it ideal for swimming and snorkeling.

One of the most impressive beaches in Kefalonia is Melissani beach,
which is actually a lake inside a cave!
The lake was formed by an earthquake that collapsed the roof of the cave,
creating a natural skylight that illuminates the water with different colors.
You can take a boat ride inside the cave and admire the stalactites and stalagmites.

6. Kefalonia has a mysterious phenomenon called Katavothres

Katavothres is a mysterious phenomenon that occurs on the coast of Argostoli,
the capital of Kefalonia.
It consists of sea water that enters through holes on the rocks
and disappears underground.
The mystery is where does this water go and how long does it take to reappear?

Scientists have tried to solve this mystery for decades,
by using dye, radioactivity, and other methods.
They have found out that the water travels under the island for about 15 days
and reappears on the other side of the island, at Karavomylos lake, near Sami.
The water also powers some old water mills along its way.

The Katavothres phenomenon is unique in the world
and attracts many visitors who want to see it for themselves.

7. Kefalonia has a rare fir tree forest

Kefalonia is not only famous for its beaches,
but also for its mountains and forests.
One of the most remarkable forests in Kefalonia
is the fir tree forest on Mount Ainos,
the highest mountain on the island (1,628 meters).
The fir tree forest covers an area of about 3,000 hectares
and is home to many rare plants and animals.

The fir tree species that grows on Mount Ainos
is endemic to Kefalonia and Ithaca,
and is called Abies cephalonica or Greek fir.
It has dark green needles and cones that produce resinous seeds.
The fir tree forest is protected as a national park since 1962
and is a must-see for nature lovers.

8. Kefalonia has a strong musical tradition

Kefalonia has a strong musical tradition that dates back to ancient times.
The islanders love music and singing,
and they have their own musical instruments and songs.
One of the most characteristic instruments