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A few words about Ithaki:
Ithaki (ΙΘΑΚΗ in Greek), or Ithaca is
an island in the Ionian Sea, in Greece with an area of 96 kmē and 5,000
inhabitants. It is an independent municipality of the prefecture of Kefalonia,
and lies off the North East coast of Kefalonia.
The capital, Vathy, has one of the world's largest natural harbours.
As of 2002, Ithaca became a popular destination for holiday tourists on day
visits from the other Ionian Islands, especially after Charles, Prince of
Wales and the late Diana, Princess of Wales spent part of their honeymoon
The island has been inhabited since the 2nd millennium BC. It was the capital
of Cephalonia during the Mycenaean period. The Romans occupied the island in
the 2nd century BC, and later it became part of the Byzantine Empire. The
Normans ruled Ithaca in the 12th and 13th century, and after a short Turkish
rule it fell into Venetian hands. Ithaca was then occupied by France at the
end of the 18th century and in 1809 it was conquered by the British. In 1864
Greeks liberated it.
Much of the island's architecture was destroyed in an earthquake in 1953.
In the 1970s, Kalamos split from the province and became part of the
prefecture of Lefkada and the province of Ithaca became a non-provincial
Ithaca: Home of Odysseus?
The modern island named Ithaca is usually assume to have been the legendary
home of Odysseus from Homer's Odyssey. According to some scholars, it may even
have been the home of Homer himself. The Odyssey is an epic poem written by
Homer about Odysseus's voyage and return. Homer describes Ithaca thus:
"Around are many islands, close to each other, Doulichion and Samos and wooded
Zakynthos. Ithaca itself lies low, furthest out to sea, facing the western
sunset. The rest stand apart, and face both dawn and sun."
Homer makes 26 descriptions of specific places on Ithaca, but these do not
match the modern Ithaca. For instance, the modern Ithaca faces east and is
mountainous. Several explanations have been suggested for why this might be
Firstly, it has been suggested that Kefalonia and Ithaca may have once been
joined, because Homer describes Ithaca as if it is much larger than it now is
and on the west side. Geographical data also suggests the islands may have
once been connected, although research is still being done to prove this.
Secondly, it has been suggested, that Paliki -- now the western peninsula of
Kephalonia but geologically diagnosed as probably a separate island during the
late Bronze Age, location 38°17?23.22?N, 20°24?58.86?E -- matches each of
Homer's 26 descriptions. This was suggested in the book "Odysseus Unbound -
The Search for Homer's Ithaca" written by Robert Bittlestone, a British writer
and amateur archeologist,James Diggle, Professor of Greek and Latin at
Cambridge University, and John Underhill, a geologist at Edinburgh University.
Their research has been published by Cambridge University Press, and The Times
reported on September 30, 2005 that "the research has convinced leading
There is also a strait situated in the western part of the island called the
Strait of Ithaca.
The capes in the island include Exogi, the westernmost but not in land,
Melissa to the north, Mavronos and Agios Ilias to the east, Schinous,
Sarakiniko and Agios Ioannis, the easternmost to the east and Agiou Andreou,
the southernmost in the south. Bays include Afales Bay to the northwest,
Frikes and Kioni Bays to the northeast and Ormos Gulf and Sarakiniko Bay to
the southeast. The tallest mountain is Neriton (908 m), the second tallest is
Nerovoulo elevating 552 m.
Ithaca has schools, lyceums, a few gymnasia, banks, a post office, a sporting
centre and squares (plateies).
The municipality includes islands other than Ithaca including one near Cape
Melissa, Atokos to the northeast and several islands in the east including
Drakonero, Echinades, Oxeia and Petallades to the east near Aitoloacarnania.
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