Areas

Geography and Infrastructure

Lefkada, or Leucas is a Greek island in the Ionian Sea on the west coast of Greece, connected to the mainland by a long causeway and floating bridge. The city of Lefkada, is at the north of the island, approximately 20 minutes by automobile away from Aktion National Airport. Lefkada Town (population: 6,903), has a pedestrianised main street, a marina, and bus access to Athens

The east coast section of the island has small resorts of Lefkada, Nikiana and Perigiali, all north of the largest resort on the island—Nidri. It is set in a sheltered location with views across to Skorpios—owned by Aristotle Onassis, Meganissi and other small islands, as well as the Greek mainland. The main coastal road from Lefkada to Vasiliki runs through the town, although a bypass is being built

There are regular car ferries to Kefalonia, Ithaca and Meganissi. 20km south of Nidri is the resort of Vasiliki—a windsurfing center. There are ferries here to Kefalonia and Ithaca. South of Vasiliki is Cape Lefkada, where the Greek female poet Sappho allegedly leapt to her death from the 100 foot (30m) high cliffs.The West coast, facing the great expanse of the Mediterranean, has the famed beach of Porto Katsiki. Lefkada was attached to mainland Greece (see above about Homer’s Ithaca being Lefkada). The Corinthians dug a trench in the 7th century BC on its isthmus.

History

The myth about Sappho’s suicide at Cape Lefkada is related to other myths linking the island to the ancient Greek goddess of love, Aphrodite, and to Odysseus, the hero of Homer’s Odyssey. The German archaeologist Wilhelm Dörpfeld, having performed excavations at various locations of Lefkada, was able to obtain funding to do work on the island by suggesting that Lefkada was Homer’s Ithaca, and the palace of Odysseus was located west of Nidri off the south coast of Lefkada. There have been suggestions by local tourism officials that several passages in the Odyssey point to Lefkada as a possible model for Homeric Ithaca. The most notable of these passages pushed by the local tourism board describes Ithaca as an island reachable on foot, which was the case for Lefkada since it is not really an island, that it was connected to the mainland by a narrow causeway.

Geography and Infrastructure

Crete is the largest of the Greek islands and the fifth largest island in the Mediterranean Sea at 8,336 km² (3,219 square miles). Very good road network throughout the island. 2 international airports and access via fast boat in 5 hours from Athens. 1 university hospital and 3 other major hospitals.

History

Crete was the center of the Minoan civilization (ca. 2600–1400 BC), the oldest Greek and European civilization. Crete is the location of significant ancient history, which provides popular modern day tourist destinations. They include the Minoan sites of Knossos and Phaistos, the classical site of Gortys, the Venetian old city and port of Chania, the Venetian castle at Rethymno, and the Samaria Gorge.

For centuries Crete has held intact its own distinctive rich and proud culture. Cretan Greek has been maintained as the spoken language, and Cretan wine is a traditional drink. The island is known for its music, and it has many indigenous dances, the most noted of which is probably the Pentozali.

Crete’s mild climate is attracting growing interest from Northern Europeans to have a holiday home or residence on the island. E.U. citizens have the right to freely buy property and reside with little formality.[13] A growing number of real estate companies cater to mainly British expatriates, followed by German, Dutch, Scandinavian and other European nationalities wishing to own a home in Crete

The British expatriates are concentrated in the western prefectures of Chania and Rethymno and to a lesser extent in Heraklion and Lasithi. Some 40% of Britons in late 2006 said they were planning to live outside the United Kingdom or retire abroad due to socio-economic changes in the country. One in ten Britons do so already.

Geography and Infrastructure

Paros is an island of Greece in the central Aegean Sea. One of the Cyclades island group, it lies to the west of Naxos, with which it is separated by a channel about 8 km (5 mi) wide. It lies approximately 100 nmi (185 km) south-east of Piraeus. Today, Paros is one of the most popular European tourist hotspots.

In Parikía town, houses are built and decorated in the traditional Cycladic style with flat roofs, whitewash walls and blue-painted doors and window frames and shutters. Shadowed by luxuriant vines, and surrounded by gardens of oranges and pomegranates, the houses give the town a picturesque and pleasing aspect.

A very good road network connects the main town, parikia, with naousa and most of the numerous beaches on the island. In addition, paros maintains an airport which connects to the international airport in Athens and a very good healthcare system with a large hospital.

History

On a rock beside the sea are the remains of a medieval castle, built almost entirely of the marble remains of an ancient temple. Similar traces of antiquity, in the shape of bas-reliefs, inscriptions, columns, & etc., are numerous. On a rock shelf to the south are remains of a precinct which was dedicated to Asclepius. In addition, close to the modern harbour, the remains of an ancient cemetery are visible, since being discovered recently during non-archaeological excavations.

In Parikía’s main square is the town’s principal church, the Ekatontapiliani (literally: “church of the hundred doors”). Its oldest features almost certainly predate the adoption of Christianity as the state religion of the Roman Empire (391 AD). It is said to have been founded by the mother of the Roman Emperor Constantine the Great (ruled 306–337 AD), Saint Helen, during her pilgrimage to the Holy Land. There are two adjoining chapels, one of very early form, and also a baptistery with a cruciform font.

On the north side of the island is the bay of Naoussa (Naussa) or Agoussa, forming a safe and spacious harbour. In ancient times it was closed by a chain or boom. Another good harbour is that of Drios on the south-east side, where the Turkish fleet used to anchor on its annual voyage through the Aegean during the period of Ottoman rule over Paros (1537 – 1832).

Geography and Infrastructure

Samos is in the North Aegean sea, south of Chios, north of Patmos and the Dodecanese, and off the Ionian coast of Turkey. The area of the island is 478 km2 (184.6 sq mi), 43 km (27 mi) long and 13 km (8 mi) wide. It is one of the principal and most fertile of the islands of the Aegean Sea that closely adjoin Anatolia, from which it is separated by a strait of one mile in width. The island is remarkably fertile, and a great portion of it is covered with vineyards, the wine from the Vathy grapes enjoying an especially high reputation. The island’s population is 33,814. The nearest airport is Samos International Airport. The Samian climate is typically Mediterranean.

One day excursion to Kushadashi and Ephesus. Very good road network throughout the island. 1 airport and access via fast boat in 5 hours from Athens. Major hospital on the island.

History

In classical antiquity the island was a centre of Ionian culture and luxury, renowned for its Samian wines and its red pottery (called Samian ware by the Romans). Its most famous building, was the Ionic order archaic Temple of goddess Hera – the Heraion. Perhaps the most famous persons ever connected with classical Samos were Pythagoras, the Samian, and one slave who belonged to Iadmon, whose name was Aesop famous for his Aesop’s Fables. His name and figure are found on coins of the city of imperial date. In 1955 the town of Tigani was renamed Pythagoreio in honour of the famous mathematician.

Other notable personalities include the philosopher Epicurus, who was of Samian born. The astronomer Aristarchus of Samos, whom history credits with the first recorded heliocentric model of the solar system, also lived in Samos. The historian Herodotus, known by his Histories resided in Samos for a while.

Geography and Infrastructure

Kos or Cos is a Greek island in the south Sporades group of the Dodecanese, next to the Gulf of Cos. It measures 40 km by 8 km, and is only 4 km from the coast of Bodrum, Turkey and the ancient region of Caria. Kos is a large island with an international airport, a very good health care system and an excellent road network. In addition, the town of Kos maintains one of the largest marinas in Greece and is bustling with life and tourists through most part of the year.

History

The island was originally colonised by the Carians. A contingent from Kos participated in the War of Troy[2] The Dorians invaded it in the 11th century BC, establishing a Dorian colony with a large contingent of settlers from Epidaurus who took with them their Asclepius cult and made their new home famous for its sanatoria. The other chief sources of the island’s wealth lay in its wines, and in later days, in its silk manufacture.

In the Hellenistic age Kos attained the zenith of its prosperity. Its alliance was valued by the kings of Egypt, who used it as an outpost for their navy to watch the Aegean. As a seat of learning it rose to be a kind of provincial branch of the museum of Alexandria, and became a favorite resort for the education of the princes of the Ptolemaic dynasty; among its most famous sons were the physician Hippocrates, the painter Apelles, the poets Philitas and, perhaps, Theocritus.

Kos was also known as Meropis and Nymphæa. Diodorus Siculus (xv. 76) and Strabo (xiv. 657) describe it as a well-fortified port. Its position gave it a high importance in Ægean trade; while the island itself was rich in wines of considerable fame (Pliny, xxxv. 46). Under Alexander III of Macedon and the Egyptian Ptolemies (from 336 B.C.) the town developed into one of the great centers in the Ægean; Josephus (“Ant.” xiv. 7, § 2) quotes Strabo to the effect that Mithridates was sent to Kos to fetch the gold deposited there by the queen Cleopatra of Egypt. Herod is said to have provided an annual stipend for the benefit of prize-winners in the athletic games (Josephus, “B. J.” i. 21, § 11), and a statue was erected there to his son Herod the Tetrarch (“C. I. G.” 2502 ).

Geography and Infrastructure

Athens, the capital and largest city of Greece, dominates the Attica periphery: as one of the world’s oldest cities, its recorded history spans at least 3,000 years.

History

Classical Athens was a powerful city-state. A centre for the arts, learning and philosophy, home of Plato’s Academy and Aristotle’s Lyceum,[7][8] Athens was also the birthplace of Socrates, Pericles, Sophocles and its many other prominent philosophers, writers and politicians of the ancient world. It is widely referred to as the cradle of Western civilization and the birthplace of democracy,[9][10] largely due to the impact of its cultural and political achievements during the 5th and 4th centuries BC on the rest of the then known European continent.[11]

The heritage of the classical era is still evident in the city, represented by a number of ancient monuments and works of art, the most famous of all being the Parthenon on the Acropolis, widely considered a key landmark of early Western civilization. The city also retains a vast variety of Roman and Byzantine monuments, as well as a smaller number of remaining Ottoman monuments projecting the city’s long history across the centuries. Landmarks of the modern era are also present, dating back to 1830 (the establishment of the independent Greek state), and taking in the Greek Parliament (19th century) and the Athens Trilogy (Library, University, and Academy). Athens was the host city of the first modern-day Olympic Games in 1896, and 108 years later it welcomed home the 2004 Summer Olympics, with great success.