Elafonissos Google Earth
Elafonissos (Greek: Ελαφόνησος) or Elafonisos is a small Greek island between the Peloponnese and Kythira. The area of the island is 19 km² . Elafonissos was first inhabited in 1850. The population is between 100 and 200 during the winte. It is a popular tourist destination during the summer due to the light coloured sandy beaches in the southern tip of the island. The tourist season is in the months of July and August with 5000 visitors with 1600 cars every day. About 6.5 km (3.7 nmi) east is Neapoli of the municipality of Voia along with the rest of the villages of the southeasternmost point of the Peloponnese and mainland Greece, Cape Malea. 3 km² of the community's land includes the mainland which mainly Punta.
The three main beaches on the island are Simos, Sarakiniko and Panagias with the characteristic golden-green to ultramarine colors of the seas. Just across the island 570 m to the mainland there is Punta beach. about 8.5 km (4.5 nmi) south of Cape Frangos is the island of Kythira.
The main church in the village is of Agios Spyridon, which is built on a tiny piece of land that is connected by a hand made bridge to the rest of the island.
There is also a place Lafonissi or Lafonissi (Λαφονήσι) in Northwestern Crete.
The current name the Elafonissos (Island of the Deers), according to research of Stamoulis Iakovos and Kroypis Ilias, is due to the rich hunting that existed in the region from the antiquity as it is reported by the Pausanias there was a statuary of Artemis (Goddess of hunting) in the region. Also, the the existence of a population of deers of red colour. This agrees with Venetian and Portolan maps of 15th century where Elafonissos is impressed as CERVI and the Kythera as CERIGO (a name that the locals use up to today for Kythera (Tsirigo). This wasn't the case with Elafonisso as it wasn't inhabited at the time. In addition, the village acrosss the channel Viglafia of draws it's name from Vigla(observatory) and Elafia (Deers). From Viglafia is a natural observatory for the surrounding fields, the lagoon Stroggyli, and Elafonissos island. The isolatated population of deers in Elafonissos could well be observed from there.
In the antiquity the current area where elafonissos lies did not constitute island but a peninsula with the name "Onou Gnathos" (Donkey Jawbone) as the then form referred in the aspect according to the Pausanias(2nd centure AD) who in his tour describes the city of Voia in the sunken region of island Petri (Paylopetri) where is even distinguished today ruins of homes and cart roads as in the Tip of Kalogeras, near in the island Kasela in complex of Virgin Mary Islands. The region between the island and Peloponnese that sunk in the aftermath of an earthquake and other smaller pieces of ground around the island that today us rewards with splendid gold-greenblue colours in their waters.
During the 16th and 17th century A.D. the island used as a base for operations of Pirates and Corsairs, since the "Elafonissos Channel" it even constitutes today the main passage of vessels in the Eastern Mediterranean with hundreds of ships pass each day and night.
The island was re-populated by its current residents in 1850, afterwards his final annexation to Greece after A Greek-British minor conflict but also the final end to the piracy in the Aegean by the Hellenic Navy. The initial inhabitants came from the surrounding villages of Vatika area. The Hellenic Kingdom exploited the omition of Elafonissos and another Island called Sapienza from the treaty of sovereignty of the "Ionian Republic" in which both islands where part of.
All the island in the coastal region had observatories (called Vigles), where the Observers could watch ships approach the shores, and could warn the local population night or day. The observers shift (called Vardia in Greek) gives name of the mountain in the middle Elafonissos (276m height). It was used as an Observator by the current residents during the B World War to protect the civilians from air raids and the firepower of German highspeed ships that started from the German Naval station at Gythion aiming at scaring the residents of Elafonissos. Residents use the hidden caves at the Mauroudi region to hide and protect the aggressors.
The residents of Elafonissos posses allocating one of the bigger fishing fleets in Greece with boats suitable for coastal mainly fishing. Most of them are wooden "Trehandiri" but also "Paragadia" and other type. The are famous for exceptional woodwork shipbuilding as genuine descendants trireme from the Spetses, Hydra, Koilada but also Samos and elsewhere.
It is also rumoured that Elafonissos in Southwestern Crete owes the name when at their passage with the Caiques fishermen of Elafonisos they called the place Lafonisi as even today, the resemblance of colours of sea with splendid goldgreenblue waters of Simos, Saracenico Pounta and Virgin Mary Islands.
Elafonissos has school, a church and a square (plateies).
Division of the community
Elafonissos / Κ.δ. Ελαφονήσου [ 745 ]
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