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Lefkada ( el, Λευκάδα, ''Lefkáda'', ), also known as Lefkas or Leukas (
Ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language Greek ( el, label=Modern Greek Modern Greek (, , or , ''Kiní Neoellinikí Glóssa''), generally referred to by speakers simply as Greek (, ), refers collectively to the diale ...
and
Katharevousa Katharevousa ( el, Καθαρεύουσα, , literally "purifying anguage) is a conservative Conservatism is an aesthetic Aesthetics, or esthetics (), is a branch of philosophy that deals with the nature of beauty and taste (sociol ...
: Λευκάς, ''Leukás'', modern pronunciation ''Lefkás'') and Leucadia, is a
Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approximately 10.7 million as of ...

Greek
island An island (or isle) is an isolated piece of habitat that is surrounded by a dramatically different habitat, such as water. Very small islands such as emergent land features on atoll An atoll (), sometimes known as a coral atoll, i ...
in the
Ionian Sea The Ionian Sea ( el, Ιόνιο Πέλαγος, ''Iónio Pélagos'' ; it, Mar Ionio ; al, Deti Jon ("our sea")) is an elongated bay A bay is a recessed, coastal body of water that directly connects to a larger main body of water, suc ...

Ionian Sea
on the west coast of Greece, connected to the mainland by a long
causeway A causeway is a track, road or railway on the upper point of an embankment (earthworks), embankment across "a low, or wet place, or piece of water". It can be constructed of earth, masonry, wood, or concrete. One of the earliest known wooden c ...

causeway
and floating bridge. The principal town of the island and seat of the municipality is
Lefkada Lefkada ( el, Λευκάδα, ''Lefkáda'', ), also known as Lefkas or Leukas (Ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language used in ancient Greece and the classical antiquity, ancient world from around 1500 BC to ...
. It is situated on the northern part of the island, approximately 25 minutes by automobile away from
Aktion National Airport Aktion National Airport is an airport serving Preveza and Lefkada in Greece. It is also known as Preveza Airport. It is also used by NATO and Hellenic Air Force Command. The airport commenced operations in 1968. History In December 2015, the pri ...
. The island is part of the regional unit of Lefkada.


Geography

Lefkada measures from north to south, and from east to west. The area of the island is about , the area of the municipality (including the islands Kalamos, Kastos and several smaller islets) is . Its highest point is the mountain Stavrota,
above sea level Above may refer to: *Above (artist) Tavar Zawacki formerly known as 'ABOVE' (born 1981) is an American abstract art Abstract art uses visual language of shape, form, color and line to create a composition which may exist with a degree of ind ...
,Oreivatein.com
/ref> situated in the middle of the island. The east coast section of the island has small
resorts A resort (North American English North American English (NAmE, NAE) is the most generalized variety of the English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spoken in History of Anglo-Saxon England, ...

resorts
of Lygia, Nikiana and Perigiali, all north of
Nidri Nydri ( el, Νυδρί) is a town and a community on the eastern coast of the island of Lefkada Lefkada ( el, Λευκάδα, ''Lefkáda'', ), also known as Lefkas or Leukas (Ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek ...
, the largest resort on the island. It is set in a sheltered location with views across to (formerly owned by
Aristotle Onassis Aristotle (; grc-gre, Ἀριστοτέλης ''Aristotélēs'', ; 384–322 BC) was a Greek philosopher and polymath during the Classical Greece, Classical period in Ancient Greece. Taught by Plato, he was the founder of the Lyceum (C ...

Aristotle Onassis
),
Meganisi Meganisi (Greek language, Greek: Μεγανήσι, literally "big island") is a Greece, Greek island and Communities and Municipalities of Greece, municipality immediately to the east-southeast of the island of Lefkada. The municipality includes the ...

Meganisi
and other small islands, as well as the Greek mainland. The main coastal road from Lefkada to Vasiliki runs through the village, although a bypass has now been completed which skirts the village to the west. There are regular car ferries to
Kefalonia Kefalonia or Cephalonia ( el, Κεφαλονιά), formerly also known as Kefallinia or Kephallenia (), is the largest of the Ionian Islands in western Greece and the 6th largest island in Greece after Crete, Euboea, Lesbos, Rhodes and Chios. It i ...

Kefalonia
,
Ithaca Ithaca, Ithaki or Ithaka (; Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population ...

Ithaca
and Meganissi. south of Nidri is the resort of
VasilikiName Vasiliki is a Greek name meaning "royal" that may refer to: *Vassiliki (given name) Places *Vasiliki, Lasithi, a village and an archaeological site in Lasithi, Crete, Greece *Vasiliki, Lefkada, a village on Lefkada, Greece *Vasiliki, Trikal ...
, a
windsurfing Windsurfing is a surface water sport that is a combination of surfing Surfing is a surface water sport The following is a list of surface water sports. These are sports which are performed atop a body of water. Towed water sports Envir ...

windsurfing
center. There are ferries to Kefalonia and Ithaca from Vasiliki. South of Vasiliki is Cape Lefkada, where the
Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approximately 10.7 million as of ...
female poet
Sappho Sappho (; el, Σαπφώ ''Sapphō'' ; Aeolic Greek ''Psápphō''; c. 630 – c. 570 BC) was an Archaic Greek poet from Eresos or Mytilene on the island of Lesbos. Sappho is known for her Greek lyric, lyric poetry, written to be sung while a ...

Sappho
allegedly leapt to her death from the 30 m high cliffs. The famous beach of Porto Katsiki is located on Lefkada's west coast. Lefkada was attached to mainland Greece (see below about Homer's Ithaca being Lefkada). The
Corinth Corinth ( ; el, Κόρινθος, Kórinthos, ) is the successor to an ancient city, and is a former municipality A municipality is usually a single administrative division Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). ...

Corinth
ians dug a trench in the 7th century BC on its isthmus. The southernmost tip of the island is called Cape Dukato, a name sometimes applied to the whole island.


Climate

The island has a typical Mediterranean climate: hot summers and cool winters, especially in the mountains.


History


Antiquity

The myth about
Sappho Sappho (; el, Σαπφώ ''Sapphō'' ; Aeolic Greek ''Psápphō''; c. 630 – c. 570 BC) was an Archaic Greek poet from Eresos or Mytilene on the island of Lesbos. Sappho is known for her Greek lyric, lyric poetry, written to be sung while a ...

Sappho
's suicide at Cape Lefkada is related to other myths linking the island to the ancient Greek goddess of love,
Aphrodite Aphrodite; , , ) is an ancient Greek goddess associated with love Love encompasses a range of strong and positive emotion Emotions are mental state, psychological states brought on by neurophysiology, neurophysiological changes, ...

Aphrodite
, and to
Odysseus Odysseus ( ; grc-gre, Ὀδυσσεύς, Ὀδυσεύς, OdysseúsOdyseús, ), also known by the Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken ...

Odysseus
, the hero of
Homer Homer (; grc, Ὅμηρος , ''Hómēros'') was an ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language Greek ( el, label=Modern Greek Modern Greek (, , or , ''Kiní Neoellinikí Glóssa''), generally re ...

Homer
's Odyssey. The
German German(s) may refer to: Common uses * of or related to Germany * Germans, Germanic ethnic group, citizens of Germany or people of German ancestry * For citizens of Germany, see also German nationality law * German language The German la ...

German
archaeologist
Wilhelm Dörpfeld Wilhelm Dörpfeld (26 December 1853 – 25 April 1940) was a German architect The following are German-born or Germany-based architects listed according to their architectural style. Gothic *Adam Kraft (or Krafft) (c. 1460? – January 1 ...

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 Ithaca (; Greek language, Greek: Ιθάκη, ''Ithakē'') was, in Greek mythology, the island home of the hero Odysseus. The specific location of the island, as it was described in Homer's ''Odyssey'', is a matter for debate. There have been vari ...
, and the
palace A palace is a grand residence, especially a royal residence, or the home of a head of state A head of state (or chief of state) is the public persona A persona (plural personae or personas), depending on the context, can refer to eit ...

palace
of Odysseus was located west of
Nydri Nydri ( el, Νυδρί) is a town and a community on the eastern coast of the island of Lefkada Lefkada ( el, Λευκάδα, ''Lefkáda'', ), also known as Lefkas or Leukas (Ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek ...
on the south coast of Lefkada. There have been suggestions by local tourism officials that several passages in the
Odyssey The ''Odyssey'' (; grc, Ὀδύσσεια, Odýsseia, ) is one of two major ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language Greek ( el, label=Modern Greek Modern Greek (, , or , ''Kiní Neoellinikí ...
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. According to
Strabo Strabo''Strabo'' (meaning "squinty", as in strabismus Strabismus is a condition in which the eyes do not properly align with each other when looking at an object. The eye that is focused on an object can alternate. The condition may be pre ...

Strabo
, the coast of
Acarnania Acarnania ( el, Ἀκαρνανία) is a region of west-central Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, Elláda, ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeastern Europe Southeast Europe or Southeastern Europe () is a g ...
was called Leucas in earlier times. The ancient sources call Leucas a Corinthian colony, perhaps with a
Corcyra Corfu (, ) or Kerkyra ( el, Κέρκυρα, Kérkyra, ), ; ; la, Corcyra. is a Greek islands, Greek island located in the Ionian Sea, of the Ionian Islands, and, including its small satellite islands, forms the margin of the northwestern fronti ...
en participation. The ancient town was founded in the 7th century BC, somewhat to the south of the modern capital of the island. During the
Peloponnesian War The Peloponnesian War (431–404 BC) was an ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language Greek ( el, label=Modern Greek Modern Greek (, , or , ''Kiní Neoellinikí Glóssa''), generally referred to ...

Peloponnesian War
, Leucas joined the
Peloponnesian League The Peloponnesian League was an alliance in the Peloponnesus The Peloponnese (), Peloponnesia, or Peloponnesus (; el, Πελοπόννησος, Pelopónnēsos, ) is a peninsula A peninsula ( la, paeninsula from ' "almost" and ' "island") ...
. The town was conquered during the 3rd century by
Agathocles of Syracuse Agathocles ( grc-gre, Ἀγαθοκλῆς, ''Agathoklḗs''; 361–289 BC) was a Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is ...
.


Middle Ages


Byzantine period

No information survives on the island during the early
Byzantine period The Byzantine Empire, also referred to as the Eastern Roman Empire, or Byzantium, was the continuation of the Roman Empire in its eastern provinces during Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, when its capital city was Constantinople. It surviv ...
, when the town possibly disappeared in the turmoils of the
Migration Period The Migration Period, also known as the Barbarian Invasions (from the Roman and Greek perspective), is a term sometimes used for the period in the history of Europe The history of Europe concerns itself with the discovery and collection, the ...
. Nevertheless, unlike the Epirote mainland, where widespread settlement is attested from the late 6th until mid-8th centuries, only a handful of traces attest to a Slavic settlement in Lefkada. Information continues to be sparse during the middle Byzantine period. The island is attested as a bishopric at the Fourth Council of Constantinople in 879, and was raised to archbishopric under Emperor
Leo VI the Wise Leo VI, called the Wise ( gr, Λέων ὁ Σοφός, Leōn ho Sophos, 19 September 866 – 11 May 912), was Byzantine Emperor This is a list of the Byzantine emperors from the foundation of Constantinople la, Constantinopolis ota, قس ...
(). Administratively, it was likely part of the
Theme of Cephallenia The Theme of Cephallenia or Cephalonia ( el, θέμα Κεφαλληνίας/Κεφαλονίας, ''thema Kephallēnias/Kephalonias'') was a Byzantine Empire, Byzantine Theme (country subdivision), theme (a military-civilian province) located in w ...
.
Liutprand of Cremona Liutprand, also Liudprand, Liuprand, Lioutio, Liucius, Liuzo, and Lioutsios (c. 920 – 972),"LIUTPRAND OF CREMONA" in ''The Oxford Dictionary of Byzantium The ''Oxford Dictionary of Byzantium'' (ODB) is a three-volume historical dictionary pu ...
visited the island during his 968 embassy to Constantinople, in 1099 it was raided by
Dagobert of Pisa Dagobert (or Daibert or Daimbert) (died 1105) was the first Archbishop of Pisa and the second Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem after the city was captured in the First Crusade. Early life Little is known of Dagobert's early life, but he is thought to ...
, it is mentioned in 's geography in the mid-12th century.


Epirote and Latin rule

The
Republic of Venice The Republic of Venice ( it, Repubblica di Venezia; vec, Repùblega de Venèsia) or Venetian Republic ( it, Repubblica Veneta; vec, Repùblega Vèneta), traditionally known as La Serenissima ( en, Most Serene Republic Most Serene Republic ( ...
was accorded privileges in the island in 1198, and possession of the island in the treaty of partition of the Byzantine Empire in 1204. In the event Lefkada apparently became part of the
Despotate of Epirus Despot or ''despotes'' ( el, δεσπότης, despótēs, "lord", "master") was a senior Byzantine The Byzantine Empire, also referred to as the Eastern Roman Empire, or Byzantium, was the continuation of the Roman Empire in its eastern ...
, although this is not explicitly attested until 1259. The name Santa Maura is first attested for the island and its capital in 1292, when Genoese ships in Byzantine employ raided it. In 1295, the
Despot of Epirus The Despot of Epirus was the ruler of the Despotate of Epirus, one of the successor states of the Byzantine Empire in the aftermath of the Fourth Crusade. The name "Despotate of Epirus" and the title "Despot of Epirus" are modern historiographical ...
Nikephoros I Komnenos Doukas Nikephoros I Komnenos Doukas, Latinized as Nicephorus I Comnenus Ducas ( el, Νικηφόρος Κομνηνός Δούκας, Nikēphoros Komnēnos Doukas; – ) was ruler of Despotate of Epirus, Epirus from 1267/8 to his death in 1296/98. L ...
ceded the island to his son-in-law, the Count palatine of Cephalonia and Zakynthos
John I Orsini John I Orsini ( it, Giovanni Orsini) was the count palatine of Cephalonia and Zakynthos from 1303 or 1304 to his death in 1317. Married to an Despotate of Epirus, Epirote princess, John spent a decade at the Epirote court before succeeding his fathe ...

John I Orsini
. Orsini soon after received permission from
Charles II of Naples Charles II, also known as Charles the Lame (french: Charles le Boiteux; it, Carlo lo Zoppo; 1254 – 5 May 1309), was King of Naples, Count of Provence and Count of Forcalquier, Forcalquier (1285–1309), Prince of Achaea (1285–1289), and Coun ...

Charles II of Naples
to build a castle there, which became the core of the Castle of Santa Maura. The Orsini family lost Lefkada in 1331 to
Walter VI of Brienne Walter VI of Brienne (c. 1304 – 19 September 1356) was a French nobleman and Crusades, crusader. He was the count of Brienne in France, the count of Conversano and County of Lecce, Lecce in southern Italy and the titular Duchy of Athens, Duke ...
, who in 1343 ceded the ''castrum Sancte Maure'' and the island to the Venetian Graziano Giorgio. In 1360/62,
Leonardo I ToccoLeonardo I Tocco (died 1375/1377) was the County palatine of Cephalonia and Zakynthos, Count palatine of the islands of Cephalonia and Zakynthos from 1357 until his death, and later lord of Ithaca, Lefkada, and the port of Vonitsa as well. He was th ...
seized Lefkada, assuming the title of duke (''dux Lucate''), whence the island is sometimes also referred to as "the Duchy" (''el Ducato'' and variants thereof) in Western sources of the period. The local Orthodox archbishop was evicted. After
Albanian Albanian may refer to: *Pertaining to Albania in Southeast Europe; in particular: **Albanians, an ethnic group native to the Balkans **Albanian language **Albanian culture **Demographics of Albania, includes other ethnic groups within the country ...

Albanian
clans took over much of Epirus in the 1350s and 1360s, they launched frequent attacks on the island between 1375 and 1395.
Carlo I ToccoCarlo I Tocco was the hereditary Count palatine of Cephalonia and Zakynthos from 1376, and ruled as the Despot of Epirus The Despot of Epirus was the ruler of the Despotate of Epirus, one of the successor states of the Byzantine Empire The B ...
() made the island the capital of his domains, which apart from the County palatine of Cephalonia and Zakynthos also included much of the Epirote mainland, and enlarged the fortified town. In 1413, the
Prince of Achaea The Prince of Achaea was the ruler of the Principality of Achaea The Principality of Achaea () or Principality of Morea was one of the three vassal states of the Latin Empire, which replaced the Byzantine Empire The Byzantine Empire, als ...
,
Centurione II Zaccaria Centurione II Zaccaria (died 1432), scion of a powerful Genoese Genoese may refer to: * a person from Genoa * Genoese dialect, a dialect of the Ligurian language * Republic of Genoa (–1805), a former state in Liguria See also * Genovese, a sur ...
, launched an attack on Lefkada and its castle with Albanian mercenaries, but it was defeated with help from the
Republic of Venice The Republic of Venice ( it, Repubblica di Venezia; vec, Repùblega de Venèsia) or Venetian Republic ( it, Repubblica Veneta; vec, Repùblega Vèneta), traditionally known as La Serenissima ( en, Most Serene Republic Most Serene Republic ( ...
. The
Ottomans The Ottoman Turks or Osmanlı Turks ( tr, Osmanlı Türkleri), were the Turkic people The Turkic peoples are a collection of ethnic groups of Central Asia, Central, East Asia, East, North Asia, North and West Asia as well as parts of Europe an ...
captured most of Epirus and raided the island, leading the Tocci to consider ceding it to the Venetians. Faced with expanding Ottoman power in the mainland, the Tocci became vassals of the Ottoman sultans. The last of them,
Leonardo III Tocco Leonardo III Tocco (after 1436 – before August 1503) was the last ruler of the Despotate of Epirus, ruling from the death of his father Carlo II Tocco in 1448 to the despotate's fall to the Ottoman Empire in 1479. Leonardo was one of the last ind ...
() was helped to maintain his rule through his marriage to Milica Branković, a niece of the highly esteemed step-mother of the Ottoman sultan
Mehmed the Conqueror Mehmed II ( ota, محمد ثانى, translit=Meḥmed-i s̱ānī; tr, II. Mehmed, ; 30 March 14323 May 1481), commonly known as Mehmed the Conqueror ( ota, ابو الفتح, Ebū'l-Fetḥ, lit=the Father of Conquest, links=no; tr, Fatih Su ...

Mehmed the Conqueror
(), but when she died, he married the Aragonese Francesca Marzano. The couple quickly became hated by their Greek subjects due to their oppressive taxation. Lefkada, along with Cephalonia and Zakynthos, was captured by the Ottoman admiral
Gedik Ahmed Pasha Gedik Ahmed Pasha (died 18 November 1482) was an Ottoman statesman and admiral who served as Grand Vizier Grand vizier ( fa, وزيرِ اعظم, vazîr-i aʾzam; ota, ''sadr-ı aʾzam'', tr, sadrazam) was the title of the effective head of gov ...
in 1479. Part of the population was deported to
Constantinople la, Constantinopolis ota, قسطنطينيه , alternate_name = Byzantion (earlier Greek name), Nova Roma ("New Rome"), Miklagard/Miklagarth (Old Norse Old Norse, Old Nordic, or Old Scandinavian is a stage of development of North Germa ...

Constantinople
, as part of Mehmed's policy to repopulate his capital.


Ottoman period

The Ottomans called the island Levkada ( ota, لفكادة or ), with the name Aya Mavra (, from Greek , meaning "Santa Maura") reserved for the castle and capital of the island, where almost the entire population lived. Under Ottoman rule, it was initially a ''
kaza A kaza (, , , plural: , , ; ota, kazâ, script=Latn (; meaning 'borough') * bg, околия (; meaning 'district'); also Кааза * el, υποδιοίκησις () or (, which means 'borough' or 'municipality'); also () * lad, kaza , grou ...

kaza
'' of the ''
sanjak Sanjaks (liwāʾ) (plural form: alwiyāʾ) * Armenian language, Armenian: նահանգ (''nahang''; meaning "province") * Bulgarian language, Bulgarian: окръг (''okrǔg''; meaning "county", "province", or "region") * el, Διοίκησι ...
'' of Karli-Eli, which from belonged to the
Eyalet of the Archipelago The Eyalet of the Archipelago ( ota, ایالت جزایر بحر سفید, ''Eyālet-i Cezāyir-i Baḥr-i Sefīd'', "Eyalet of the Islands of the White Sea The White Sea (russian: Белое море, ''Béloye móre''; Karelian language, K ...
, subordinated to the chief admiral of the
Ottoman navy The Ottoman Navy ( ota, دوننماى همايون, Donanma-yı Humâyûn or tr, Osmanlı Donanması), also known as the Ottoman Fleet, was established in the early 14th century after the Ottoman Empire The Ottoman Empire (; ', ; ...
, the ''
Kapudan Pasha The Kapudan Pasha ( ota, قپودان پاشا, modern Turkish Turkish ( , ), also referred to as Istanbul Turkish (''İstanbul Türkçesi'') or Turkey Turkish (''Türkiye Türkçesi''), is the most widely spoken of the Turkic languages The ...
''. The ''kaza'' of Lefkada comprised not only the island, but also part of the adjoining mainland. The Venetians briefly occupied the island in 1502–03, during the Second Ottoman–Venetian War, but returned it to the Ottomans in the final peace settlement. With about a thousand inhabitants in , the town of Lefkada was both the largest settlement as well as the main military installation in the ''sanjak'', with 111 soldiers and 9 artillerymen. As with the rest of the ''sanjak'', at the time the entire population appears to have been Christian, and only the fortress garrisons and administrators were Muslim; thus the only mosques were located inside the fortresses. A lack of water led to the construction of a long
aqueduct Aqueduct may refer to: Bridges *Aqueduct (bridge), a bridge to convey water over an obstacle, such as a ravine or valley *Navigable aqueduct, or water bridge, a structure to carry navigable waterway canals over other rivers, valleys, railways or r ...
from the island's interior to the town in 1564, during the reign of Sultan
Suleiman the Magnificent Suleiman I ( ota, سليمان اول, Süleyman-ı Evvel; tr, I. Süleyman; 6 November 14946 September 1566), commonly known as Suleiman the Magnificent in the West and Suleiman the Lawgiver ( ota, قانونى سلطان سليمان, Ḳā ...

Suleiman the Magnificent
(). Bringing water to the walled town as well as to the much larger—some 700–800 houses—open town that had grown around it, this was of the most important works of Ottoman civil architecture in the western Balkans. On top of the aqueduct was a footpath that was the only access to the island, other than by the sea. In the aftermath of the Ottoman defeat at the
Battle of Lepanto The Battle of Lepanto was a naval engagement that took place on 7 October 1571 when a fleet of the Holy League, a coalition of Catholic states arranged by Pope Pius V Pope Pius V (17 January 1504 – 1 May 1572), born Antonio Ghislie ...

Battle of Lepanto
, the castle was unsuccessfully besieged by the forces of the Holy League. As a result, it was completely rebuilt and enlarged by the ''Kapudan Pasha'' Kılıç Ali Pasha in 1572–1574 into a hexagonal fortress with large towers as artillery platforms. In the 17th century, Lefkada became a separate ''sanjak'' within the Eyalet of the Archipelago, although according to
Evliya Çelebi Derviş Mehmed Zillî (25 March 1611 – 1682), known as Evliya Çelebi ( ota, اوليا چلبى), was an Ottoman Ottoman is the Turkish spelling of the Arabic masculine given name Uthman (name), Uthman (Arabic: عُثْمان ''‘uthmān''). ...
it belonged briefly to the
Morea Eyalet The Eyalet of the Morea ( ota, ایالت موره; Eyālet-i Mōrâ) was a first-level province (''eyalet'') of the Ottoman Empire, centred on the Peloponnese peninsula in southern Greece. History From the Ottoman conquest to the 17th century ...
in the 15th and 17th centuries. Evliya visited the island in 1670/71, and left a long and accurate description of the fortifications, but also of the town, where Islam had apparently made considerable progress. According to Evliya, the walled town boasted five
Friday mosque A congregational mosque (, ) or Friday mosque, sometimes known as a ''jami masjid'', great mosque, or grand mosque, is the main mosque of a certain area that hosts the special Friday noon prayers known as ''jumu'ah''. It can also host the Eid praye ...
s, including an Imperial Mosque (''Hünkar Camii''), which was a converted church, a minor mosque (''masjid''), a ''
madrasa Madrasa (, also , ; Arabic Arabic (, ' or , ' or ) is a Semitic language The Semitic languages are a branch of the Afroasiatic language family originating in the Middle East The Middle East is a list of transcontinental cou ...

madrasa
'', two schools ('' maktab''), a bath (''
hammam A hammam ( ar, حمّام, translit=ḥammām, tr, hamam) is a type of steam bath or a place of public bathing associated with the Islamic world. It is a prominent feature in the Islamic culture, culture of the Muslim world and was inherited fro ...
''), and five public fountains (''çeshme''). The walled town with its 200 stone houses was now occupied exclusively by Muslims, while the two suburbs (''varosh'') to the east and west were built of wood and had a mixed population. The western one was far larger, with 300 houses to 40–50 in the eastern one, and had a wooden mosque and ''masjid'', a '' tekke'', a ''maktab'', two
caravanserai A caravanserai (or caravansary; ) was a roadside inn Inns are generally establishments or buildings where travelers can seek lodging Lodging refers to the use of a short-term dwelling In law, a dwelling (also known as a residenc ...
s, as well as seven small churches. Evliya remarks that this suburb had many wineshops, which were popular with both the inhabitants and the garrison. Another suburb (the ''Varosh-i Lefqada'') was located on the island itself, with some 700 houses, all of them inhabited by Christian Greeks, who had 20 churches. Evliya's account is corroborated by and George Wheler's account that the town had about 5,000 to 6,000 inhabitants, mostly Greeks or Turks. According to the descriptions of travellers like Evliya, Lefkada was an urban centre of some importance, boasting "two of the largest works of Ottoman civil and military architecture in the Western Balkans", namely the aqueduct built by Sultan
Suleiman the Magnificent Suleiman I ( ota, سليمان اول, Süleyman-ı Evvel; tr, I. Süleyman; 6 November 14946 September 1566), commonly known as Suleiman the Magnificent in the West and Suleiman the Lawgiver ( ota, قانونى سلطان سليمان, Ḳā ...

Suleiman the Magnificent
() and the Castle of Santa Maura, which was completely rebuilt by Kılıç Ali Pasha in the reign of Sultan
Selim II Selim II ( Ottoman Turkish: سليم ثانى ''Selīm-i sānī'', Turkish: ''II.Selim''; 30 May 1524 – 15 December 1574), also known as ''Sarı Selim'' ("Selim the Blond") or ''Sarhoş Selim'' ("Selim the Drunk"), was the Sultan Sultan (; ...

Selim II
().


Venetian period

The island was conquered by the Venetians under
Francesco Morosini Francesco Morosini (26 February 1619 – 16 January 1694) was the Doge of Venice from 1688 to 1694, at the height of the Great Turkish War. He was a member of a famous noble Venetian family (the Morosini family) which produced several Doges a ...

Francesco Morosini
following a sixteen-day siege in 1684, during the opening stages of the
Morean War The Morean War ( it, Guerra di Morea), also known as the Sixth Ottoman–Venetian War, was fought between 1684–1699 as part of the wider conflict known as the "Great Turkish War The Great Turkish War (german: Großer Türkenkrieg) or the War ...
. Morosini evacuated the walled town and demolished both it and the two suburbs directly outside the walls, turning them into the castle's ''
glacis A glacis (; ) in military engineering Military engineering is loosely defined as the art, science, and practice of designing and building military works and maintaining lines of military transport Military supply-chain management is a cross-f ...

glacis
''. Only the island suburb remained, known as "Amaxiki" until the 19th century. With the evicted inhabitants settling there, this became the main town of the island, the predecessor of the modern city of Lefkada. The Venetians also removed all buildings associated with Islam. The Venetians modernized the castle in the 1710s, removing the last traces of the medieval castle and adding outworks towards the eastern, mainland side. During the Seventh Ottoman–Venetian War, following the
Ottoman reconquest of the MoreaThe Ottoman reconquest of the Morea took place in June–September 1715, during the Seventh Ottoman–Venetian War. The Ottoman army, under Grand Vizier Grand vizier ( fa, وزيرِ اعظم, vazîr-i aʾzam; ota, ''sadr-ı aʾzam'', tr, sadraz ...
in 1715, the Venetians initially abandoned Lefkada to focus their resources on the defence of
Corfu Corfu (, ) or Kerkyra ( el, Κέρκυρα, Kérkyra, ), ; ; la, Corcyra. is a Greek island Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece, a country in Southern Europe: *Greeks, an ethnic group *Greek language, a branch ...

Corfu
. The castle was abandoned and partly demolished, but after the Siege of Corfu ended in a Venetian victory, the island was reoccupied and the fortifications restored. Venetian rule over the island was uninterrupted, apart from a rebellion of the local Greeks in 1769, until the
Fall of the Republic of Venice The Fall of the Republic of Venice was a series of events that culminated on 12 May 1797 that led to the dissolution and dismemberment of the Republic of Venice at the hands of Napoleon Bonaparte and Habsburg Austria. In 1796, the young genera ...
in 1797.


Post-Venetian period until the union with Greece

Following the end of the Republic of Venice in 1797, Lefkada, like the other
Venetian Ionian Islands The Ionian Islands The Ionian Islands (Modern Greek Modern Greek (, , or , ''Kiní Neoellinikí Glóssa''), generally referred to by speakers simply as Greek (, ), refers collectively to the dialects of the Greek language spoken in the mod ...
, was occupied by the French, who held it until a Russo-Turkish expedition under
Fyodor Ushakov Fyodor Fyodorovich Ushakov ( rus, Фёдор Фёдорович Ушако́в, p=ʊʂɐˈkof; – ) was the most illustrious Russian naval commander and admiral of the 18th century. He is notable for winning every engagement he participat ...
captured it in 1799. In 1800, the
Septinsular Republic The Septinsular Republic ( el, Ἑπτάνησος Πολιτεία, Heptanēsos Politeia; it, Repubblica Settinsulare) was an oligarchic Oligarchy (; ) is a form of power structure A power structure is an overall system of influence between ...
was established, a Russian protectorate under ''de jure'' Ottoman suzerainty. The Russian Empire employed troops recruited from fugitive
klepht Klephts (; Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approximately ...
s and
armatoloi Armatoloi (Greek language, Greek ''plural'' Αρματολοί; ''singular'' Armatolos, Αρματολός; also called Armatoles in English) were Greek Orthodox Christianity, Christian Greeks, Greek irregular soldiers, or militia, commissioned b ...
in the Ionian Islands, particularly of Lefkada. Among these were captains Anastasios Tselios and Apostolos Levendakis, the latter who already in 1802 offered to raise a company of 60 fighters on Lefkada to support the Russians.
Ali Pasha of Ioannina )''"Lion of Yannina"'"Muslim Bonaparte"'' , allegiance = , branch = , serviceyears = , rank = , unit = , commands = , battles = , awards = Ali Pasha (1740 ...
, who coveted possession of the Ionian Islands, besieged Lefkada in 1807. For this purpose he erected two forts on the mainland shore, the Tekke Castle and the St. George's Castle, but his attacks on the Castle of Santa Maura were successfully repulsed the local Russian and Greek forces of the Septinsular Republic. French rule was restored in 1807, after the
Treaty of Tilsit The Treaties of Tilsit were two agreements signed by of in the town of in July 1807 in the aftermath of his . The first was signed on 7 July, between and of France, when they met on a raft in the middle of the . The second was signed with ...

Treaty of Tilsit
, but in 1810, the British captured the island. In 1815, the United Kingdom set up the
United States of the Ionian Islands The United States of the Ionian Islands ( el, Ἡνωμένον Κράτος τῶν Ἰονίων Νήσων, Inoménon-Krátos ton Ioníon Níson, ; it, Stati Uniti delle Isole Ionie) was a Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece An ...
as a protectorate, including Lefkada. Much of the town, including the Ottoman aqueduct, was destroyed in an earthquake in 1825. After this, the town was rebuilt in wood to prevent similar damage. In 1864 the islands were ceded to Greece. The island then numbered about 24,000 inhabitants.


Lafcadio Hearn Historical Center

The first museum in Europe for
Lafcadio Hearn , born Patrick Lafcadio Hearn (; el, Πατρίκιος Λευκάδιος Χερν), was a Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic R ...

Lafcadio Hearn
, who was born on the island and is named after it, was inaugurated in Lefkada on July 4, 2014, as Lafcadio Hearn Historical Center. It contains early editions, rare books and Japanese collectibles. The visitors, through photos, texts and exhibits, can wander in the significant events of Lafcadio Hearn's life, but also in the civilizations of Europe, America and Japan of late 18th and early 19th centuries through the open mind of his lectures, writings and tales. The municipalities of Kumamoto, Matsue, Shinjuku, Yaizu, Toyama University, Koizumi family and other people from Japan and Greece contributed to the establishment of Lafcadio Hearn Historical Center.


Municipality

The present municipality Lefkada was formed at the 2011 local government reform by the merger of the following 7 former municipalities, that became municipal units: * Apollonioi * Ellomenos *
Kalamos Kalamos (Ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language Greek ( el, label=Modern Greek Modern Greek (, , or , ''Kiní Neoellinikí Glóssa''), generally referred to by speakers simply as Greek (, ), refers ...
* Karya * Kastos *
Lefkada (city) Lefkada City ( el, Πόλη της Λευκάδας, ''Póli tis Lefkádas'') is a city and a former municipality on the island of Lefkada Lefkada ( el, Λευκάδα, ''Lefkáda'', ), also known as Lefkas or Leukas (Ancient Greek Anc ...
*
Sfakiotes Sfakiotes ( el, Σφακιώτες) is a former municipality on the island of Lefkada, Ionian Islands (region), Ionian Islands, Greece. Since the 2011 local government reform it is part of the municipality Lefkada, of which it is a municipal unit.
The municipality covers the island Lefkada and the smaller islands Kastos and
Kalamos Kalamos (Ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language Greek ( el, label=Modern Greek Modern Greek (, , or , ''Kiní Neoellinikí Glóssa''), generally referred to by speakers simply as Greek (, ), refers ...
.


Education

Regional Development department, part of
Ionian university The Ionian University (Greek language, Greek: Iόνιο Πανεπιστήμιο) is a university located in the Ionian Islands (region), Greece. It is one of the newest institutions of Higher Education in Greece, created pursuant to presidential ...
based in Lefkada.


Transport

*
Greek National Road 42 The Greek National Road 42 is a highway in northwestern Aetolia-Acarnania and in Lefkada, Greece. It links the town of Lefkada (city), Lefkada with the Greek National Road 5 (Antirrio - Arta, Greece, Arta - Ioannina) in Amfilochia, passing through t ...
* Aktion (Preveza) Airport


Notable people

(in chronological order) * Marcos Christino Fioravanti (1775–1862), co-founder of Santo Antônio da Patrulha in Brazil *Frederick Temple (1821–1902), Archbishop of Canterbury *Aristotelis Valaoritis (1824–1879), poet and politician *
Lafcadio Hearn , born Patrick Lafcadio Hearn (; el, Πατρίκιος Λευκάδιος Χερν), was a Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic R ...

Lafcadio Hearn
(1850–1904), Greco-Irish orientalist and writer, named after the island *Petros Soumilas (1861–1955), Greek Army officer who reached the rank of lieutenant general. *Dimitrios Golemis (1874–1941), athlete *Grigorios Karydis (1912–1968), musician, opera composer and professor of philharmonic orchestra *Angelos Sikelianos, Aggelos Sikelianos (1884–1951), poet and playwright *Tzavalas Karousos or Karoussos (1904–1969), actor *
Aristotle Onassis Aristotle (; grc-gre, Ἀριστοτέλης ''Aristotélēs'', ; 384–322 BC) was a Greek philosopher and polymath during the Classical Greece, Classical period in Ancient Greece. Taught by Plato, he was the founder of the Lyceum (C ...

Aristotle Onassis
, (1906–1975), Greek shipping tycoon *Panos G. Rontoyannis, Panos Rontoyannis (1911–1996), philologist and historian *Theodoros Stamos (1922–1997), Greek-American painter *Apostolos Kaklamanis (1936-), politician
Evaggelos Vlassopoulos
(1935–2002), politician *:el:Γεώργιος Κτενάς, George Ktenas (1938-2004), politician *Gerasimos Caclamanes (1940-2003) mathematician and author *Agnes Baltsa (1944-), opera singer *Spyros Vrettos (1960-), poet *John Zavitsanos (1962-), American trial lawyer *Spiros Marangos (1967-), footballer *Marina Lambrini Diamandis (1985-), singer and songwriter


Gallery

File:Lefkas Grèce 0023.JPG, Traditional street of
Lefkada (city) Lefkada City ( el, Πόλη της Λευκάδας, ''Póli tis Lefkádas'') is a city and a former municipality on the island of Lefkada Lefkada ( el, Λευκάδα, ''Lefkáda'', ), also known as Lefkas or Leukas (Ancient Greek Anc ...
File:20140412 lefkada184.JPG, Panagia ton Xenon, Lefkada city File:Porto Katsiki 6108.JPG, Porto Katsiki beach File:Kalamos Town 2.jpg, Kalamos village File:Vraka Lefkas Greek Costume.JPG, Traditional dress


See also

*Egremni


Notes


Sources

* * * * * * *


External links


Lefkada PrefectureTravel Guide to LefkadaThe official page of Greek National Tourism Organization

Map of Homer's Ithaka
(Lefkada), Same (ancient Greece), Same and Asteris according to Wilhelm Dörpfeld. Digital library of Heidelberg University.
Photo of Dörpfeld's excavation site
at Lefkada near
Nydri Nydri ( el, Νυδρί) is a town and a community on the eastern coast of the island of Lefkada Lefkada ( el, Λευκάδα, ''Lefkáda'', ), also known as Lefkas or Leukas (Ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek ...
, early in the 20th century. Digital library of Heidelberg University.
Lafcadio Hearn Historical CenterLefkadian Traditional Winery
{{Authority control Lefkada, Islands of the Ionian Islands (region) Islands of Greece Municipalities of the Ionian Islands (region) Corinthian colonies Septinsular Republic Landforms of Lefkada (regional unit) United States of the Ionian Islands Populated places in Lefkada (regional unit)