Visit Cephalonia in Greece – Kefalonia – Kefalonia Travel
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Cephalonia or Kefalonia, formerly also known as Kefallinia or Kephallenia (Greek: Κεφαλονιά or Κεφαλλονιά) is the largest of the Ionian Islands in western Greece. It is also a separate regional unit of the Ionian Islands region, and the only municipality of the regional unit. The capital of Cephalonia is Argostoli.
The size of the island is about 781 km2 (300 mi2), and the present population density is 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.
Cephalonia is in the heart of an earthquake zone, and dozens of minor or unrecorded tremors occur each year. In 1953, a massive earthquake almost destroyed all settlement on the island, leaving only Fiscardo in the north untouched.
Among important natural features are the 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. Parts of it have been declared a “Natura Site” in the European Union’s NATURA 2000.
The island’s highest mountain is Mount Ainos, with an elevation of 1628 m; 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 Abies cephalonica (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.
Tourism to Cephalonia started in the early 19th century, also the Royal Family of Greece sent their children in the summer months to Lixouri. But the island for a long time was not discovered by mass tourism until the 1980s.
Tourists from all over Greece, Europe and the world visit Cephalonia. It is a popular vacation destination for many Italians, due to its close proximity to Italy. As one of the largest islands in Greece, it is well-equipped to handle the influx of tourists during the summertime, it has something to offer everyone.
Two natural attractions, Melissani’s underground lake and Myrtos beach, have helped popularize Cephalonia. The film, Captain Corelli’s Mandolin (2001), shot on the island itself, made Cephalonia more widely known.
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 found by Francis of Assisi, it was destroyed 1953 but the ruins still exist.
Although the island was destroyed by some 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.
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