Ithaca Google Earth
Ithaca, or Ithaka (Ithaki in modern Greek, Ιθάκη ) is an island in the Ionian Sea, in Greece with an area of 96 km² and 4663 inhabitants (2001). It is the legendary home of Odysseus from Homer's Odyssey, and, according to some scholars, the home of Homer himself. It is an independent municipality of the prefecture of Kefalonia.
The island has been inhabited since the 2nd millennium BC. It was the capital of Cephalonia during the Mycenaean period. Through the Trojan War it was ruled by the legendary king Odysseus. The Romans occupied the island in the 2nd century BC, and later it became part of the Byzantine empire. The Normans ruled Ithaca in the 12th and 13th century, and after a short Turkish rule it fell into Venetian hands. Ithaca was then occupied by France at the end of the 18th century and in 1809 it was conquered by the British. In 1864 Greeks liberated it.
Much of the island's architecture was destroyed in an earthquake in 1953.
In the 1970s, Kalamos split from the province and became part of the prefecture of Lefkada and the province of Ithaca became a non-provincial municipality.
The capital, Vathy, has one of the world's largest natural harbours.
As of 2002, Ithaca became a popular destination for holiday tourists on day visits from the other Ionian Islands, especially after Charles, Prince of Wales and the late Diana, Princess of Wales spent part of their honeymoon there.
Odysseus and Ithaca
Ithaca is also a strait situated in the western part of the island and is called the Strait of Ithaca.
The capes in the island include Exogi, the westernmost but not in land, Melissa to the north, Mavronos and Agios Ilias to the east, Schoinos, Sarakiniko and Agios Ioannis, the easternmost to the east and Agiou Andreou, the southernmost in the south. Bays include Afales Bay to the northwest, Frikes and Kioni Bays to the northeast and Ormos Gulf and Sarakiniko Bay to the southeast. The tallest mountain is Nitriton (908 m), the second tallest is Nerovoulo elevating 552 m.
North Ithaca as seen from Mount Aetos, Photo by Rien Post,
Lorentzos Mavilis (1860 - November 28, 1912 in the Ioannina area)
Division of the municipality, population 4663 (2001)
Ithaca has schools, lyceums, a few gymnasia, banks, a post office, a sporting centre and squares (plateies).
The municipality includes islands other than Ithaca including one near Cape Melissa, Atokos to the northeast and several islands in the east including Drakonero, Echinades, Oxeia and Petallades to the east near Aitoloacarnania.