Cephalonia or Kefalonia (Greek: Κεφαλονιά or Κεφαλλονιά), formerly also known as Kefallinia or Kephallenia (Κεφαλληνία), is the largest of the Ionian Islands[1] in western Greece and the 6th largest island in Greece after Crete, Evoia, Lesbos, Rhodes, and Chios. It is also a separate regional unit of the Ionian Islands region, and the only municipality of the regional unit. It was also a former Latin Catholic diocese Kefalonia–Zakynthos (Cefalonia–Zante) and short-lived titular see as just Kefalonia.

The capital of Cephalonia is Argostoli.[2]


View of Asos, Cephalonia
View of Asos, Cephalonia
Cephalonia within the Ionian Islands
Cephalonia within the Ionian Islands
Coordinates: 38°15′N 20°30′E / 38.250°N 20.500°ECoordinates: 38°15′N 20°30′E / 38.250°N 20.500°E
RegionIonian Islands
 • Vice-GovernorSotiris Kouris
 • MayorAlexandros Parisis
 • Total786.58 km2 (303.70 sq mi)
 • Land773 km2 (298 sq mi)
 Total area includes other islands which form part of the Cephalonia regional unit
 • Total35,801
 • Density46/km2 (120/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC+2 (EET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+3 (EEST)
Postal codes
280 xx
Area codes267x0
Car platesΚΕ




Excavations from Melissani in the Archaeological Museum of Argostoli

An aition explaining the name of Cephallenia and reinforcing its cultural connections with Athens associates the island with the mythological figure of Cephalus, who helped Amphitryon of Mycenae in a war against the Taphians and Teleboans.[3] He was rewarded with the island of Same, which thereafter came to be known as Cephallenia.

Cephalonia has also been suggested as the Homeric Ithaca, the home of Odysseus, rather than the smaller island bearing this name today. Robert Bittlestone, in his book Odysseus Unbound, has suggested that Paliki, now a peninsula of Cephalonia, was a separate island during the late Bronze Age, and it may be this which Homer was referring to when he described Ithaca. A project which started in the Summer of 2007 and lasted three years has examined this possibility.[4]

Cephalonia is also referenced in relation to the goddess Britomartis, as the location where she is said to have 'received divine honours from the inhabitants under the name of Laphria'.

Middle Ages

Kastro Kefalonia church
Evangelistria Church, St. George's castle.

During the Middle Ages, the island was the center of the Byzantine theme of Cephallenia until 1185.[5] After 1185 it became part of the County palatine of Kephalonia and Zakynthos under the Kingdom of Sicily until its last Count Leonardo III Tocco was defeated and the island conquered by the Ottomans in 1479.[1]

Venetian rule

The Turkish rule lasted only until 1500, when Cephalonia was captured by a Spanish-Venetian army,[1] a rare Venetian success in the Second Ottoman–Venetian War. From then on Cephalonia and Ithaca remained part of the Stato da Mar of the Venetian Republic until its very end, following the fate of the Ionian islands, completed by the capture of Lefkas from the Turks in 1684. The Treaty of Campoformio dismantling the Venetian Republic awarded the Ionian Islands to France, a French expeditionary force with boats captured in Venice taking control of the islands in June 1797.

Because of the liberal situation on the island, the Venetian governor Marc'Antonio Giustiniani (1516–1571) printed Hebrew books and exported them to the whole eastern mediterranean. In 1596 the Venetians built the Assos Castle, one of Cephalonia's main tourist attractions today. From the 16th to the 18th centuries, the island was one of the largest exporters of currants in the world with Zakynthos, and owned a large shipping fleet, even commissioning ships from the Danzig shipyard. Its towns and villages were mostly built high on hilltops, to prevent attacks from raiding parties of pirates that sailed the Ionian Sea during the 1820s.

French, Ionian state period and British rule

The sea mills at the bay of Argostoli (1849) were a natural curiosity in the 19th century. Mount Ainos in the background.
Lixouri 1910
The central square of Lixouri, 1910.

Venice was conquered by France in 1797 and Cephalonia, along with the other Ionian Islands, became part of the French département of Ithaque.

In the following year, 1798, the French were forced to yield the Ionian Islands to a combined Russian and Turkish fleet. From 1799 to 1807, Cephalonia was part of the Septinsular Republic, nominally under the sovereignty of the Ottoman Empire, but protected by Russia.

By the Tilsit Treaty in 1807, the Ionian Islands were ceded back to France, which remained in control until 1809.

In 1809 Great Britain mounted a blockade on the Ionian Islands as part of the war against Napoleon, and in September of that year they hoisted the British flag above the castle of Zakynthos. Cephalonia and Ithaca soon surrendered, and the British installed provisional governments. The treaty of Paris in 1815 recognised the United States of the Ionian Islands and decreed that it become a British protectorate. Colonel Charles Philippe de Bosset became provisional governor between 1810 and 1814. During this period he was credited with achieving many public works, including the Drapano Bridge.

A few years later resistance groups started to form. Although their energy in the early years was directed to supporting the Greeks in the revolution against the Turks, it soon started to turn towards the British. By 1848 the resistance movement was gaining strength and there were skirmishes with the British Army in Argostoli and Lixouri, which led to some relaxation in the laws and to freedom of the press. Union with Greece was now a declared aim, and by 1849, a growing restlessness resulted in even more skirmishes. The twenty-one instigators were hanged, another 34 were jailed and 87 whipped.[6]

Cephalonia, along with the other islands, were transferred to Greece in 1864 as a gesture of goodwill when the British-backed Prince William of Denmark became King George the First of the Hellenes.

Union with Greece

In 1864, Cephalonia, together with all the other Ionian Islands, became a full member of the Greek state.

World War II

Royal Air Force Operations in Malta, Gibraltar and the Mediterranean, 1940-1945. C3822
Fiskardo in the 1940s.
Napolitano cefalonia
The Italian President Giorgio Napolitano in Cephalonia during remembrance ceremonies in honour of the soldiers of the Massacre of the Acqui Division.

In World War II, the island was occupied by Axis powers. Until late 1943, the occupying force was predominantly Italian – the 33rd Infantry Division Acqui plus Navy personnel totalled 12,000 men – but about 2,000 troops from Germany were also present. The island was largely spared the fighting, until the armistice with Italy concluded by the Allies in September 1943. Confusion followed on the island, as the Italians were hoping to return home, but German forces did not want the Italians' munitions to be used eventually against them; Italian forces were hesitant to turn over weapons for the same reason. As German reinforcements headed to the island the Italians dug in and, eventually, after a referendum among the soldiers as to surrender or battle, they fought against the new German invasion. The fighting came to a head at the siege of Argostoli, where the Italians held out. Ultimately the Germans prevailed, taking full control of the island.

Approximately five thousand of the nine thousand surviving Italian soldiers were executed in reprisal by the German forces. The book Corelli's Mandolin, by Louis de Bernieres (which was later made into the film 'Captain Corelli's Mandolin'), is based on this story. While the war ended in central Europe in 1945, Cephalonia remained in a state of conflict due to the Greek Civil War. Peace returned to Greece and the island in 1949.

The Great earthquake of 1953

Some ruins of the earthquake are still visible.

Cephalonia lies just to the east of a major tectonic fault, where the European plate meets the Aegean plate at a slip boundary. This is similar to the more famous San Andreas Fault. There are regular earthquakes along this fault.

A series of four earthquakes hit the island in August 1953, and caused major destruction, with virtually every house on the island destroyed. The third and most destructive of the quakes took place on August 12, 1953 at 09:24 UTC (11:24 local time), with a magnitude of 7.3 on the Richter magnitude scale. Its epicentre was directly below the southern tip of Cephalonia, and caused the entire island to be raised 60 cm (24 in) higher, where it remains, with evidence in water marks on rocks around the coastline.

The 1953 Ionian earthquake disaster caused huge destruction, with only regions in the north escaping the heaviest tremors and houses there remaining intact. Damage was estimated to run into tens of millions of dollars, equivalent to billions of drachmas, but the real damage to the economy occurred when residents left the island. The majority of the population left the island soon after, seeking a new life elsewhere.

Recent history

Argostoli paralia
Promenade of Argostoli

The forest fire of the 1990s caused damage to the island's forests and bushes, especially a small scar north of Troianata, and a large area of damage extending from Kateleios north to west of Tzanata, ruining about 30 square kilometres (12 sq mi) of forest and bushes and resulting in the loss of some properties. The forest fire scar was visible for some years.

In mid-November 2003, an earthquake measuring 5.3 on the Richter magnitude scale caused minor damage to business, residential property, and other buildings in and near Argostoli. Damages were in the 1,000,000 range.

On the morning of Tuesday, September 20, 2005, an early-morning earthquake shook the south-western part of the island, especially near Lixouri and nearby villages. The earthquake measured 4.9 on the Richter magnitude scale, and its epicentre was located off the island at sea. Service vehicles took care of the area, and no damage was reported. From January 24–26, 2006, a major snowstorm blanketed the entire island, causing extensive blackouts. The island was recently struck yet again by another forest fire in the south of the island, beginning on Wednesday, July 18, 2007 during an unusual heatwave, and spreading slowly. Firefighters along with helicopters and planes battled the blaze for some days and the spectacle frightened residents on that area of the island.

In 2011 the eight former municipalities of the island lost their independence to form one united municipality. After losing its role as the capital of the island in the 19th century, Lixouri lost also its role as a seat of a municipality after 500 years. The Technological Educational Institute of the Ionian Islands closed one faculty in Lixouri and one in Argostoli.

In January 2014, an earthquake measuring 5.9 on the Richter magnitude scale left at least seven injured. There are reports of minor injuries and some damage to property,” said the Foreign Office, on its website. “The airport remains operational but there may be some disruption to port services.”


Coins from Pale/Pali, the ancient town north of Lixouri.

In the southwestern portion of the island, in the area of Leivatho, an ongoing archaeological field survey by the Irish Institute at Athens has discovered dozens of sites, with dates ranging from the Palaeolithic to the Venetian period.

From an archaeological point of view, Cephalonia is an extremely interesting island. Archaeological finds go back to 40,000 BP. Without doubt, the most important era for the island is the Mycenaean era, from approximately 1500–1100 B.C. The archaeological museum in Cephalonia’s capital, Argostoli – although small – is regarded as the most important museum in Greece for its exhibits from this era.

The most important archaeological discovery in Cephalonia (and indeed in Greece) of recent decades is that, in 1991, of the Mycenaean Tholos tomb at the outskirts of Tzanata, near Poros in southeastern Cephalonia (former Municipality of Elios-Pronni) in a lovely setting of olive trees, cypresses and oaks. The tomb was erected around 1300 B.C; kings and highly ranked officials were buried in such tombs during the Mycenaean period. It constitutes the largest tholos tomb yet found in northwestern Greece and was excavated by archaeologist Lazaros Kolonas. The size of the tomb, the nature of the burial offerings found there, and its well-chosen position point to the existence of an important Mycenaean town in the vicinity.

In late 2006, a Roman grave complex was uncovered as the foundation of a new hotel was being excavated in Fiskardo. The remains date to the period between the 2nd century BC and the 4th century AD. Archaeologists described it as the most important find of its kind in the Ionian Islands. Inside the complex, five burial sites were found, including a large vaulted tomb and a stone coffin, along with gold earrings and rings, gold leaves that may have been attached to ceremonial clothing, glass and clay pots, bronze artefacts decorated with masks, a bronze lock, and bronze coins. The tomb had escaped the attention of grave robbers and remained undisturbed for thousands of years. In a tribute to Roman craftsmanship, when the tomb was opened, the stone door easily swung on its stone hinges. Very near to the tomb, a Roman theatre was discovered, so well preserved that the metal joints between the seats were still intact.

A dissertation published in 1987 claims that St. Paul, on his way from Palestine to Rome in AD 59, was shipwrecked and confined for three months not on Malta but on Cephalonia.[7][8]

According to Clement of Alexandria, the island had the largest community of Carpocratians, an early Gnostic Christian sect, because Carpocrates lived on the island.

Population: historical evolution

In the ancient period, the people lived in four cities on the island. Krani, Sami, Pale and Pronni formed a federation called "tetrapolis".

The population reached 70,000 in 1896, but declined gradually in the 20th century. The great 1953 Ionian earthquake forced many people to leave the island.[9] Many people who left the island moved to Patras or Athens, or they immigrated to America and Australia, following relatives who had left the island decades before. In the same time, people from poorer areas of Greece such as Epirus and Thrace came to the island. The population has hovered between 35,000 and 42,000 since then; in the 2011 census, it was 35,801.[10]

Year Population
1879 68,321[11]
1896 70,077[12]
1920 55,030[13]
1940 58,437[14]
1961 39,793[15]
1981 41,319[16]
2001 34,544[17]
2011 35,801[10]

Most of the indigenous people of Cephalonia have surnames ending in "-atos", such as the Alexatos (Greek: Αλεξάτος) families, and almost every settlement on the island has a name ending in "-ata", such as Metaxata, Chavriata, Frangata, Lourdata, Favata, Delaportata and others.

Ecclesiastical history

In 1222 the Frankish Crusaders established the Diocese of Kefalonia–Zakynthos (Cefalonia–Zante in Curiate Italian), which survived their rule and even the Turks. In 1919, the residential see was suppressed but immediately transformed into a Titular bishopric of Kefalonia (Cefalonia in Italian). The territory and title were merged into the Metropolitan Archdiocese of Corfu–Zakynthos–Kefalonia. In 1921, this was also suppressed, never having had an incumbent.


Poppy field at Kefalonia island, Greece
A poppy field
Argostoli and Lixouri from the mountains of Kefalonia
Argostoli and Lixouri from the mountains.
Myrtos Beach, Kefalonia
The famous Myrtos Beach

The main island of the regional unit is Cephalonia and has a size of 773 km2 (300 mi2), with a population density of 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.

The other major islands are: Petalas Island, Asteris Island, but they are uninhabited.

Cephalonia lies in the heart of an earthquake zone, and dozens of minor, unrecorded tremors occur each year. In 1953, a massive earthquake destroyed almost all of the settlements on the island, leaving only Fiskardo in the north untouched.

Important natural features include 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. Some areas have been declared a site in the European Union’s Natura 2000 network.


The island's highest mountain is Mount Ainos, with an elevation of 1628 meters; 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 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.



Most of the Ainos mountain range is designated as a National Park[18] and is covered with the unique species of Greek fir (Abies Cephalonica) and black pine (Pinus nigra).[19]


Cephalonia is well known for its endangered Loggerhead turtle population, also known as the Caretta caretta turtle, which nests on many of the beaches along the south coast of the island. A small population of the endangered Mediterranean monk seal, Monachus monachus, also lives around the island's coast, especially on parts of the coast which are inaccessible to humans due to the terrain. Caves on these parts of the coast offer ideal locations for the seals to give birth to their pups and nurse them through the first months of their lives. The most famous breeding ground in Cephalonia is a cave on Foki beach, located on the north-east coast near Fiskardo.

The European pine marten also inhabits the island.

Over 200 species of birds have been spotted on the island.[20]


Cephalonia has hot, sunny summers and mild rainy winters. During winter it can occasionally snow on the mountain peaks of the island's mountain ranges. The winter months can experience up to 156 mm of rainfall, resulting in high levels of humidity on the island. Winter temperature on Kefalonia average at 14-15 C the day and fall at night to an average of 8-9 C. During the summer months there is usually little to no rainfall. Rain in the summer can usually be seen, but the dry air prevents it from being felt as it is evaporated before it reaches the ground.


Calcium carbonate loaded in the port of Argostoli.
Fiskardo, Kefalonia
Fiscardo is a tourism attraction the northern part of the island.

Wine and raisins are the oldest products exported, being important until the 20th century. Today fish farming and calcium carbonate are most important.


The primary agricultural occupations are animal breeding and olive growing, with the remainder largely composed of grain and vegetables. Most vegetable production takes place on the plains, which cover less than 15% of the island, most of which is rugged and mountainous, suitable only for goats. Less than a quarter of the island's land is arable.

Until the 1970s, most Cephalonians lived in rural areas, while today, two-thirds of the population lives in urban areas, with the other third in rural towns and villages close to farmland.

The island has a long winemaking tradition and is home to the dry, white lemony wines made from the Robola grape.[22]

Olive oil production

Olive oil production is a major component of Cephalonia's economy. Until the 18th century, the quantity of olive oil produced on the island just covered the needs of the residents. However, the pressure of Venetian conquerors’ for olive plantation, especially after the loss of Peloponnese and Crete, resulted in increasing the production to such a degree that the first exports to Venice began. Before the 1953 Ionian earthquake, there were 200 oil presses operating on the island; today, there are thirteen. There are over one million olive trees on Cephalonia, covering almost 55% of the island's area. Olive oil is very important to the island's local, agricultural economy. “Koroneiki” and “theiako” are the two main varieties cultivated on the island, followed by a smaller number of “ntopia” and “matolia”. Kefalonian olive oil has a green tone, a rich, greasy touch, and low acidity.


Tourism to Cephalonia started in the early 19th century. The Royal Family of Greece sent their children in the summer months to Lixouri, in the early 20th century, but the island was not discovered by most tourists until the 1980s. Cephalonia is a popular vacation destination for many Italians, due to its proximity to Italy.

Two cultural attractions, the fishing villages of Fiscardo and Assos, and other natural attractions, including Melissani underground lake, Drogarati cave and Myrtos beach, have helped popularize Cephalonia. The film, Captain Corelli's Mandolin (2001), shot on the island itself, made Cephalonia more widely known.

Listed in The Daily Telegraph as one of the 20 Mediterranean islands you must visit in your lifetime [1]


The Church of Gerasimus of Kefalonia, patron saint of Cephalonia, in Skala.
Kambana Square
Cambana Square, Argostoli.

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 in 1953 but the ruins still exist. Although much of the island was destroyed by 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.


Lixouri Philharmonic Orchestra 1836
The Lixouri Philharmonic Orchestra during Easter.

The Ionian Islands have a musical tradition called the Ionian School. Lixouri has the Philharmonic Orchestra (since 1836) and Argostoli the Rokos Vergottis Conservatory. Richard Strauss visited Lixouri some times where he had an affair with the pianist Dora Wihan (born Weiss).

Literature and film

The novelists Nikos Kavvadias (1910–1975) and the Swiss Georges Haldas (1917–2010) spent parts of their life on the island. Andreas Laskaratos was a satirical poet and wrote about the society in the town of Lixouri. Lord Byron wrote parts of "Prelude" and "Don Juan" in Livatho.

Perhaps the best known appearance of Cephalonia in popular culture is in the novel Captain Corelli's Mandolin, by the English author Louis de Bernières. The book is believed to have been inspired by the village of Farsa, just outside Argostoli. The love story comprising the theme of the book is set before and after the Acqui Division massacre,[23] during the Second World War. A film adaptation was released in 2001. During filming there was lively debate between the production team, local authorities as well as groups of citizens, as to the complex historical details of the island's antifascist resistance. As a result, political references were omitted from the film, and the romantic core of the book was preserved, without entering complex debates about the island's history. In 2005, Riccardo Milani made his TV movie, Cefalonia, also about the massacre, with music by Ennio Morricone.


  • Korgialeneios Museum (under the Korgialeneios Library) in Argostoli
  • Kosmetatos Foundation in Argostoli
  • Archaeological Museum of Argostoli
  • Iakovatios-Library (and museum) in Lixouri
  • Museum in Fiskardo
  • Kefalonia Natural History Museum

Higher education



  • AINOS Kefalonia


  • AINOS Kefalonia podilatikos omilos 26710-25029

Football (soccer)

  • Anogi F.C.
  • Argostoli A.U.
  • Asteras Lixouri
  • Asteras Z
  • Dilinata AU
  • Efgeros Faraklades Argostoli
  • Ikossimias AU
  • Kefalliniakos
  • Kefalonia-Ithaca
  • Leivatho A.U.
  • Papavrgiakos
  • PAO Kefalos
  • Pylariakos
  • Proodos Ithaki
  • Sami AU

Other sports

  • Nautical Racing Club of Kefalonia and Ithaca
  • Natura & Pet – Veterinary pharmacy


Ferry loading at, Argostoli, Kephalonia, Greece
The ferry between Lixouri and Argostoli.

Harbours and ports

There are five harbours and ports in the prefecture: four main harbours on the island, Sami, a major port with links to Patras and Ithaca; Poros, in the south, has ferry routes to Kyllini; Argostoli, in the west, is the largest port, for local boats and ferries to Zante and regularly to Lixouri; Fiscardo, in the north, has links to Lefkas and Ithaca. There is room for about 100 small boats in Argostoli, where the port stretches 1 kilometre around the bay, while Lixouri is situated 4 km (2 mi) across the bay from Argostoli, on the Lixouri peninsula. There is a road connection to the rest of the island, but driving from Lixouri to Argostoli involves a 30 km (19 mi) detour.


The first larger roads were built by the British in the 19th century. In the 20th century asphalted roads were built, and since 1995 almost all streets connecting villages and beaches are covered with asphalt. Since c. 2000 the Lixouri bypass was built and a four lane street south of Argostoli was constructed. Some important roads include:

  • Greek National Road 50, commonly Argostoli-Sami Road
  • Argostoli-Poros Road
  • Argostoli-Fiskardo Road (with link to Lixouri).
  • Road linking Poros and Sami

Public transportation

The ferry between Argostoli and Lixouri goes every hour and every half-hour in the season. There are a few bus lines serving the more rural areas of Kefalonia, but often only two times a day. The KTEL bus cooperation offers services from Lixouri, Poros and Argostoli to the mainland.


Cephalonia has one airport, Kefalonia Island International Airport, named Anna Pollatou (IATA: EFL, ICAO: LGKF) with a runway around 2.4 km (1.5 mi). in length, located about 10 km (6 mi) south of Argostoli. Almost every scheduled flight is an Olympic Air route, flying mainly to and from Athens, although there is an Ionian Island Hopper[24] service three times a week calling at Cephalonia, Zante and Lefkas. In summer the airport handles a number of charter flights from all over Europe.

In December 2015 the privatisation of Kefalonia Airport and 13 other regional airports of Greece was finalised with the signing of the agreement between the Fraport AG/Copelouzos Group joint venture and the state privatisation fund. "We signed the deal today," the head of Greece's privatisation agency HRADF, Stergios Pitsiorlas, told Reuters. According to the agreement, the joint venture will operate the 14 airports (including Kefallinia International Airport) for 40 years as of autumn 2016. [25]


Cephalonia is a distinct regional unit of the Ionian Islands region, and the only municipality of the regional unit. The seat of administration is Argostoli, the island's main town. Amid the 2011 Kallikratis government reform, the regional unit of Kefallinia was created from part of the former Kefalonia and Ithaca Prefecture. During the same reform, the current municipality of Cephalonia was created from the eight former municipalities:[2]

The municipality has an area of 786.575 km2.[26] The Cephalonia regional unit also includes a number of uninhabited islands of the Echinades group. They are administered by the municipality of Pylaros. The most significant are as follows:

Name Greek Subgroup Area (km²)[27] Highest
Praso Πράσο Drakoneres 38°28′58″N 20°58′10″E / 38.48278°N 20.96944°E
Sofia Σοφία Drakoneres 0.174 38°28′49″N 21°0′5″E / 38.48028°N 21.00139°E
Lamprinos Λαμπρινός Drakoneres 0.352 61 m 38°28′22″N 21°0′18″E / 38.47278°N 21.00500°E
Filippos Φίλιππος Drakoneres 0.046[29] 38°28′17″N 21°0′55″E / 38.47139°N 21.01528°E
Pistros Πίστρος Drakoneres 0.114 41 m 38°27′51″N 21°0′58″E / 38.46417°N 21.01611°E
Kalogiros Καλόγηρος Drakoneres 0.249 38°29′28″N 21°8′49″E / 38.49111°N 21.14694°E
Tsakalonisi Τσακαλονήσι Drakoneres 0.1 38°27′44″N 21°2′11″E / 38.46222°N 21.03639°E
Girovaris or Gkravaris Γηρόβαρης or Γκράβαρης Modia 24 m 38°26′24″N 21°1′36″E / 38.44000°N 21.02667°E
Soros Σωρός Modia 0.038[29] 31 m 38°26′5″N 21°1′30″E / 38.43472°N 21.02500°E
Apasa Άπασα Modia 0.024[29] 17 m 38°25′53″N 21°1′29″E / 38.43139°N 21.02472°E
Modio or Modi Μοδιό or Μόδι Modia 0.258 66 m 38°25′25″N 21°1′20″E / 38.42361°N 21.02222°E
Petalas Πεταλάς Ouniades 5.497 251 m 38°24′50″N 21°5′41″E / 38.41389°N 21.09472°E

Notable people and residents

Cephalonia-born Greeks of the 18th century. Petros Melissinos (c. 1726–1797) (left) and Spiridon Louzis (c. 1741–1815) (right).[30]

Melissinos Petros
Spiridione Lusi (1741 – 1815)
Panagis Vallianos
Statue of Panayis Athanase Vagliano in Argostoli.
  • Cephalus, hero-figure in Greek mythology, Patriarch of all Kephalonians (cephallenians)
  • Odysseus of Ithaca, king of the Cephalonians
  • Epiphanes was born on Cephalonia in the late 1st century or early 2nd century to Carpocrates (his father), and Alexandria of Kephallenia. He is the legendary author of On Righteousness, a notable Gnostic literary work that promotes communist principles.
  • Gaius Antonius Hybrida, the uncle of the famed triumvir Mark Antony and co-consul of Cicero, who was exiled to Cephalonia in 59 BC.
Middle Ages to 1800
  • Juan de Fuca (Ioannis Phokas) (1536–1602), captain and explorer[31]
  • Constantine Phaulkon (1647–1688), adventurer, first counsellor to King Narai of Ayutthaya[32]
  • Giacomo Pylarini (1659–1718), doctor who gave the first smallpox inoculation outside of Turkey and contributed to the later development of vaccination against smallpox, by Edward Jenner.
  • Ilias Miniatis (1669–1714), clergyman, writer and preacher. Born in Lixouri
  • Leichoudes brothers, founders of the Slavic Greek Latin Academy in Moscow
  • Andreas Metaxas (Greek: Greek: Ανδρέας Μεταξάς) (1786 – September 19, 1860), prime minister of Greece born on the island of Cephalonia.
  • Spiridonos Louzis (Greek: Greek: Σπυρίδωνος Λούζης) (c. 1741–1815), Greek scholar, diplomat, politician and naturalized ambassador of Prussia.[30]
  • Petros Melissinos Greek: Greek: Πέτρος Μελισσηνός)(c. 1726–1797) was a General of the Army of the Russian Empire and was widely considered the best Russian artilleryman of the 18th century.[33]
1800 to recent past
  • Panayis Athanase Vagliano, Greek: Greek: Παναγής Βαλλιάνος a.k.a. Panaghis Athanassiou Vallianos, (1814–1902) was a merchant and shipowner, acclaimed as the father of modern Greek shipping.
  • Georgios Bonanos, sculptor
  • Nikolaos Xydias Typaldos (1826–1909), painter
  • Photinos Panas, (January 30, 1832 – 1903) ophthalmologist, born on the Greek island of Cephalonia, Spartia. In 1860 he obtained his medical degree at Paris. He was the first professor of ophthalmology at the University of Paris, and in 1879 established the ophthalmology clinic at the Hôtel-Dieu de Paris.
  • Ioannis Metaxas (April 12, 1871 – January 29, 1941), General, appointed Prime Minister of Greece between April and August 1936, and dictator during the 4th of August Regime, from 1936 until his death in 1941.
  • Marinos Antypas (1872–1907), lawyer and journalist, one of the country's first socialists
  • Christian Zervos 1889–1970) art collector, writer and publisher
  • Mikelis Avlichos (1844–1917) Greek Anarchist
Recent past to present



Church in Russian style, Antipata

Kefalonia Fae375

Facade of Evangelistria church

Druipsteengrot op Kefalonia

Drogarati cave

Kefalonias capital (2174702875)

Port of Argostoli

Kefalonia Fae010

Street of Fiskardo

Blick auf Assos


Bell tower of the Monastery of Agios Gerassimos

Belltower of the Monastery of Agios Gerasimos

Illari-soullaroi-st.marina 01

St. Marina in Soullaroi (Illari)

Pissara and pine-nut salad

Salad from Cephalonia (local name "pissara")

In popular culture

Cephalonia is the home of Kassandra and Alexios, main characters of the popular videogame Assassin's Creed Odyssey (2018).[35]

See also


  1. ^ a b c Wikisource Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Cephalonia" . Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.
  2. ^ a b Kallikratis law Greece Ministry of Interior (in Greek)
  3. ^ Robert L. Fowler, 'The myth of Kephalos as aition of rain-magic' (Pherekydes FrGHist 3F34), in Zeitschrift für Papyrologie und Epigraphik 97 (1993), pp. 29–42
  4. ^ Gatopoulos, Derek (March 27, 2007). "Engineers to Help Find Homer's Ithaca". USA Today, Associated Press. Retrieved 2007-03-28.
  5. ^ Harrison, Dr. David (December 2013). "The Hidden Mysteries of Kefalonia; Crusaders, Byzantium and Venetians" (PDF). Knight Templar Magazine. pp. 25–27. Retrieved 3 November 2018.
  6. ^ British Occupation
  7. ^ Loggerhead Turtles In Agnes Seppelfricke: Paulus war nie auf Malta
  8. ^ "Hmc - St. Paul The Apostle". Imk.gr. Retrieved 2013-03-26.
  9. ^ Odysseus Unbound: The Search for Homer’s Ithaca – excerpt. Robert Bittlestone, Cambridge University Press, 2005. Page relating the account of a local to the 1953 great earthquake.
  10. ^ a b Detailed census results 2011 Archived December 25, 2013, at the Wayback Machine (in Greek)
  11. ^ "Detailed census results 1879" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2013-05-25. (145 MB) (in Greek) (in French)
  12. ^ "Detailed census results 1896" (PDF). (53 MB) (in Greek) (in French)
  13. ^ "Detailed census results 1920" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2013-05-30. (88 MB) (in Greek) (in French)
  14. ^ "Detailed census results 1940" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2014-10-24. (47 MB) (in Greek) (in French)
  15. ^ "Detailed census results 1961" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2014-10-24. (35 MB) (in Greek) (in French)
  16. ^ "Detailed census results 1981" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2017-05-04. (13 MB) (in Greek)
  17. ^ "Population & housing census 2001 (incl. area and average elevation)" (PDF) (in Greek). National Statistical Service of Greece. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2015-09-21.
  18. ^ "Ιστοσελίδα ΕΚΒΥ / Προστατευόμενες περιοχές". www.ekby.gr. Retrieved 2016-09-26.
  19. ^ "kefaloniainfo.net". www.kefaloniainfo.net. Archived from the original on 2011-09-12. Retrieved 2016-09-26.
  20. ^ "Loggerhead Turtles In". Allkefalonia.com. Archived from the original on 2013-06-09. Retrieved 2013-07-23.
  21. ^ "moyennes 1981/2010".
  22. ^ J. Robinson Jancis Robinson's Guide to Wine Grapes pg 158 Oxford University Press 1996 ISBN 0198600984
  23. ^ "Cefalonia 1943". La Storia siamo noi. Archived from the original on 2008-09-20. Retrieved 2009-06-05.
  24. ^ "Airsealines.com". www.airsealines.com. Retrieved 2015-11-25.
  25. ^ "Kephalonia International Airport", Wikipedia, 2019-01-18, retrieved 2019-01-25
  26. ^ "Population & housing census 2001 (incl. area and average elevation)" (PDF) (in Greek). National Statistical Service of Greece. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2015-09-21.
  27. ^ Arnold, Charles. Die Inseln des Mittelmeers. (German.)
  28. ^ Data from GTP. Archived 2010-07-04 at the Wayback Machine
  29. ^ a b c Προσδιορισμός και χαρτογράφηση των ορνιθολογικά ευαίσθητων στα αιολικά πάρκα περιοχών της Ελλάδας, Ελληνική Ορνιθολογική Εταιρεία (Griechische Ornithologische Gesellschaft) PDF Online (1,883 MB), griechisch
  30. ^ a b Kosch, Wilhelm (1959). Biographisches Staatshandbuch: Lexikon der Politik, Presse und Publizistik, Volume 1. Francke. p. 798. OCLC 9227578. Lusi, Spiridion Count of, born 1741 studied on the island of Cephalonia, who died in 1811, at Potsdam, educated at the Greek College in Venice, Padua
  31. ^ Bernabeu Albert, Salvador (1995). Trillar los mares: la expedición descubridora de Bruno de Hezeta al noroeste de América, 1775. Editorial CSIC - CSIC Press. p. 32. ISBN 9788400074593.
  32. ^ WindowSeater (14 August 2017). "The Astonishing Story of Constantine and Maria of Lop Buri". Medium.com. Retrieved 22 September 2018.
  33. ^ Masson, Charles François Philibert (1802). Secret memoirs of the court of Petersburg: particularly towards the end of the reign of Catharine II and the commencement of that of Paul I. T.N. Longman and O. Rees. pp. 339–340. OCLC 35652011. GENERAL MELISSINO – In these Memoirs we have frequently spoken of general Melissino, whose name will long live in Russia. He originally came from Cephalonia and prided himself on his Greek origin, which he was fond of recollecting.
  34. ^ Folklore, April, 2004 by Thornton B. Edwards
  35. ^ "Assassin's Creed: Odyssey put to the test". The Star. Star Media Group. 21 October 2018. Retrieved 17 December 2018.

Further reading

External links

A.O. Eikosimias F.C.

A.O. Eikosimias Football Club is a Greek football club, based in Vlachata, Cephalonia, Greece.

Agia Eirini, Cephalonia

Agia Eirini (Greek: Άγια Ειρήνη, for Saint Irene) is a community in the municipal unit of Eleios-Pronnoi in the southeastern part of the island of Cephalonia, Greece. It is situated in an inland valley, at about 90 m elevation. It is 2 km south of Tzanata, 3 km southeast of Xenopoulo, 3 km north of Pastra and 4 km southwest of Poros. It is located on the road connecting Poros with Argostoli.


Argostoli (Greek: Αργοστόλι, Katharevousa: Ἀργοστόλιον) is a town and a former municipality on the island of Kefalonia, Ionian Islands, Greece. Since the 2011 local government reform it is part of the municipality Kefalonia, of which it is a municipal unit. It has been the capital and administrative centre of Kefalonia since 1757, following a population shift down from the old capital of Agios Georgios (also known as Kastro) to take advantage of the trading opportunities provided by the sheltered bay upon which Argostoli sits. Argostoli developed into one of the busiest ports in Greece, leading to prosperity and growth. The municipal unit has an area of 157.670 km2. The 2011 census recorded a population of 10,633 in the Argostoli municipal unit. Its largest towns are Argostóli (pop. 9,748), Razata (507), Dilináta (496) and Kompothekráta (449).


Asos (Greek: Άσος) is a village on the west coast of the island of Cephalonia, Greece. It is part of the municipal unit Erisos.Asos was founded under Venetian rule and it served as the administrative capital of northern Cephalonia from 1593 onwards. Marino Gentilini, an Italian army engineer, was commissioned by the Venetian Senate in 1593-95 to build the Assos Castle, one of the largest in Greece. The castle was initially built with the view that it would protect local populations in case of an invading attack by passing Turks or pirates, but for various reasons, such as the lack of natural springs for water supply, it was never adopted as a fortress and gradually the grand plan was dropped.

Battle of Cephalonia

The Battle of Cephalonia was a naval battle fought between the Byzantine and Aghlabid fleets near Cephalonia, off the western coast of Greece. The battle was a major Byzantine victory, and one of the rare naval battles that took place during the night in the Middle Ages.

In 880, a fleet from the Aghlabid emirate of Ifriqiya sailed against the Byzantine Empire and raided the western coasts of Greece. John Skylitzes reports that it numbered sixty "exceedingly large" ships, and that it raided the Ionian Islands of Zakynthos and Cephalonia. When news of this raid reached the Byzantine capital, Constantinople, a fleet was dispatched to confront them, headed by the newly appointed droungarios of the Imperial Fleet, Nasar. Thanks to favourable wind, the fleet soon reached the port of Methone on the southern tip of Greece, but there was forced to halt, as many of the fleet's oarsmen had deserted in small groups out of fear of the impending battle. Nasar was therefore forced to tarry at Methone, where he brought his fleet back up to strength from the local troops of the theme of the Peloponnese. In the meantime, Nasar informed Emperor Basil I of the events, and Basil was quickly able to capture the deserters. In order to restore discipline among the rest of the fleet, the Emperor then selected 30 Saracen prisoners of war, had their features obscured by soot, and had them publicly flogged in the Hippodrome of Constantinople, before sending them away, ostensibly to be executed at Methone.The Aghlabid fleet had also learned of the Byzantine fleet's reluctance to engage them, and had grown overconfident. The crews left their ships and pillaged the coasts heedlessly, so that when Nasar arrived with his fleet, they were caught unawares and were annihilated in a night attack. According to the report of Skylitzes, many perished on board their ships when they were set on fire. As the historians John Pryor and Elizabeth Jeffreys write, Nasar's decision to attack at night was an "extremely bold" one, as darkness "made tactical manoeuvring impossible and outcomes unpredictable". Consequently, night battles at sea were very rare. Following his victory, Nasar sailed to southern Italy to assist the army operating there under generals Prokopios and Leo Apostyppes. There he raided Sicily and scored another great victory over an Aghlabid fleet at the Battle of Stelai before returning to Constantinople.

Carlo I Tocco

Carlo I Tocco was the hereditary Count palatine of Cephalonia and Zakynthos from 1376, and ruled as the Despot of Epirus from 1411 until his death on July 4, 1429.

Cephalonia Prefecture

The Cephalonia Prefecture (Greek: Νομός Κεφαλληνίας) was a prefecture in Greece, containing the Ionian islands of Cephalonia and Ithaca. In 2011 the prefectural self-government was abolished and the territory is now covered by the regional units of Cephalonia and Ithaca.

County Palatine of Cephalonia and Zakynthos

The County Palatine of Cephalonia and Zakynthos existed from 1185 to 1479 as part of the Kingdom of Sicily. The title and the right to rule the Ionian islands of Cephalonia and Zakynthos was originally given to Margaritus of Brindisi for his services to William II, King of Sicily, in 1185.Following Margaritus, the county passed on to a branch of the Orsini family until 1325, when it passed briefly to Angevins and then, from 1357, to the Tocco family. The Tocco used the county as a springboard for their acquisition of lands in the Greek mainland, and were successful in gaining control over the Despotate of Epirus in 1411. However, facing the advance of the Ottoman Turks they successively lost their mainland territories and were once again reduced to the County Palatine, which they held until 1479, when it was divided between Venice and the Ottomans. Zakynthos was put under the direct rule of Venice.

Greek National Road 50

Greek National Road 50 is a national highway on the island of Cephalonia, Greece. It connects Argostoli with Sami.

Ionian Sea

The Ionian Sea (Greek: Ιόνιο Πέλαγος, Iónio Pélagos [iˈonio ˈpelaɣos]; Italian: Mar Ionio [mar ˈjɔːnjo]; Albanian: Deti Jon [dɛti jɔ:n]) is an elongated bay of the Mediterranean Sea, south of the Adriatic Sea. It is bounded by Southern Italy including Calabria, Sicily, and the Salento peninsula to the west, southern Albania to the north, and the west coast of Greece.

All major islands in the sea belong to Greece. They are collectively named the Ionian Islands, the main ones being Corfu, Kefalonia, Zakynthos, Lefkada, and Ithaca.

There are ferry routes between Patras and Igoumenitsa, Greece, and Brindisi and Ancona, Italy, that cross the east and north of the Ionian Sea, and from Piraeus westward. Calypso Deep, the deepest point in the Mediterranean at −5,267 m (−17,280 ft), is located in the Ionian Sea, at 36°34′N 21°8′E. The sea is one of the most seismically active areas in the world.

Kephalonia International Airport

Kefalonia Airport "Anna Pollatou" (IATA: EFL, ICAO: LGKF) is an airport on the island of Kefalonia, in Greece.

Massacre of the Acqui Division

The Massacre of the Acqui Division, also known as the Cephalonia Massacre, was the mass execution of the men of the Italian 33rd Infantry Division Acqui by the Germans on the island of Cephalonia, Greece in September 1943, following the Italian armistice during the Second World War. About 5,000 soldiers were massacred and others drowned. A very different version of the events have been proposed by the Italian researcher Massimo Filippini, the son of an officer of the Acqui Division. Filippini has come to the conclusion that only about 2000 italian soldiers were killed, in combat and by summary execution, by the Germans.

The Italians launched their invasion of Greece in October 1940, but they were pushed back into Albania by November, and the Germans had to come to their aid in April 1941. Following the decision of the Italian government to negotiate a surrender to the Allies in 1943, the German Army tried to disarm the Italians during Operation Achse. The Italians of the 33rd Acqui Infantry Division resisted, and fought the Germans on the island of Cephalonia between 13 and 22 September 1943. A total of 1,315 were killed in battle, 3,000 were drowned when the German ships taking them to concentration camps were sunk by the Allies, and 5,155 were executed by 26 September. It was one of the largest prisoner of war massacres of the war, along with the Katyn massacre, and it was one of many atrocities committed by the 1st Mountain Division (German: 1. Gebirgs Division). The massacre provided the historical background to the novel Captain Corelli's Mandolin, which became a Hollywood film.


Paliki (Greek: Παλική) is a peninsula and a former municipality on the island of Kefalonia, Ionian Islands, Greece. Since the 2011 local government reform it is part of the municipality Kefalonia, of which it is a municipal unit. The municipal unit has an area of 119.341 km2. The name comes from the ancient town of Pale/Pali, which was north of Lixouri and is now an archaeological site. The peninsula is the westernmost part of Kefalonia. The seat of the municipality was the town Lixouri (3.752).

Poros, Cephalonia

Poros (Greek: Πόρος), is a picturesque small town located in the municipal unit of Eleios-Pronnoi, some 40 km SE of Argostoli, 28 km SE of Sami and 12 km NE of Skala, in the southeast of Cephalonia, one of the Ionian Islands of Greece.

Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Corfu, Zakynthos, and Cephalonia

The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Corfu, Zakynthos, and Cefalonia (Latin: Archdioecesis Corcyrensis, Zacynthiensis et Cephaloniensis) is an archdiocese comprising the Ionian islands of Corfu, Zakynthos and Cephalonia in western Greece.

Roman Catholic Diocese of Cephalonia and Zakynthos

The Diocese of Cefaphonia and Zakynthos (Latin: Dioecesis Cephaloniensis et Zacynthiensis, Italian: Cefalonia e Zante) was Roman Catholic diocese located on the Ionian Island of Cephalonia. It was suppressed in 1919.

Sami, Cephalonia

Sami (Greek: Σάμη) is a town and a former municipality on the island of Cephalonia, Ionian Islands, Greece. Since the 2011 local government reform it is part of the municipality Cephalonia, of which it is a municipal unit. It is located on the central east coast of the island, and has a land area of 129.326 km². Its population was 2,341 at the 2011 census. Its municipal seat was the town of Sámi (pop. 1,025). Its next largest towns are Karavomylos (385), Grizáta (362) and Digaleto (316).

Siege of the Castle of Saint George

The Siege of the Castle of Saint George occurred from 8 November 1500 until 24 December 1500, when following a series of Venetian disasters at the hands of the Turks, the Spanish-Venetian army under Captain Gonzalo Fernández de Córdoba succeeded in capturing the Turkish stronghold of Cephalonia.

Cephalonia, one of the Ionian Islands off the western coast of Greece, had been in the hands of the Italian counts palatine of the Tocco family until 1479, when it was captured by the Ottoman Empire. With the exception of a brief period of Venetian control in 1482–83, the island remained in Ottoman hands until 1500.The Second Ottoman–Venetian War broke out in 1499 with the Ottoman attack on the Venetian port of Lepanto on the Greek mainland, which surrendered on 24 August 1499. The war continued to go badly for Venice, as the Ottomans shifted their attention to the Morea and stormed Modon on 9 August 1500, followed by the surrender thereupon of the neighbouring forts Coron and Navarino. On 17 August 1500, however, the Spanish captain-general, Gonzalo Fernández de Córdoba, offered the forces at his disposal to the aid of Venice. Aided by the Spanish fleet, the newly appointed Venetian captain-general of the Sea, Benedetto Pesaro, landed on Cephalonia and after a siege took the island's capital, the Castle of St. George, on 24 December. The Spanish commander and his fleet returned to Sicily after that, but Pesaro went on to recover Santa Maura (Lefkada) as well in August 1502. When a peace treaty was concluded in Constantinople in December 1502, Cephalonia remained in Venetian hands, but Santa Maura was returned to Ottoman rule in 1503.

Skala, Cephalonia

Skala (Greek: Σκάλα) is a village located in the municipal unit of Eleios-Pronnoi, some 39 km south from the island's main town of Argostoli and 14 km SW of Poros, in the south of Cephalonia, one of the Ionian Islands of Greece.

During the summer, Skala becomes a popular holiday destination.

Climate data for Argostoli (1981–2010)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 14.3
Daily mean °C (°F) 11.3
Average low °C (°F) 8.3
Average rainfall mm (inches) 93.1
Average rainy days (≥ 1.0 mm) 9 9 9 5 3 1 0 1 3 7 11 12 70
Source: meteo-climat-bzh[21]
Regional unit of Corfu
Regional unit of Cephalonia
Regional unit of Ithaca
Regional unit of Lefkada
Regional unit of Zakynthos
Subdivisions of the municipality of Cephalonia
Municipal unit of Argostoli
Municipal unit of Eleios-Pronnoi
Municipal unit of Erisos
Municipal unit of Leivatho
Municipal unit of Omala
Municipal unit of Paliki
Municipal unit of Pylaros
Municipal unit of Sami
Main Islands
Smaller islands
and islets

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