This is the 2nd oldest in Greece with only the one in Corfu being older. It took part in the 1864 union of Greece, the 1896 Olympics, the 1906 intercalculated games and in 1983 was awarded by the Academy of Athens.
There has been a famous conductor in the past called Nikos “Morinas” Thanos. He was born on Lefkás in 1930 and he was the leader of the Orfeas Music and Literature Club of Lefkáda, the Philharmonic Society of Lefkás, the Philharmonic Society of Amfilohia which is nearby and the mandolin orchestra of “Apollon” in Karya on the island.
He also has a maritime museum in the basement of the Faneromeni monastery. It contains his handmade ships and tools. There is 60 in total and there is a variety of styles from British, Egyptian, Greek, Roman and Chinese.Other museums in Lefkás
There is also a youth band festival here in the summer but when I went past I couldn’t find any opening hours. When I looked online it said it’s open 5-10pm which is very unusual.
It does however have the street it’s on named after itself so that’s handy.
Today I went to the gramophone museum and it’s really a guy’s memorial to his family as there is a picture of his parents on the wall and himself when he was a young man. It also has pictures of Aristotle Onassis, Jackie Kennedy, Maria Callas along with Angelos Sikelianos as an older man and Aristotle Valaoritis.
There is a working gramophone which he will demonstrate and the older peg version which you also get to try for yourself.
He has dramachas on display and it’s quite quaint. It reminds you of an antique shop all of these objects from yester year.
He also has syrtaki cds and one of traditional Greek music which costs €5 euros but since his English is not all that good you think that is the price of admission. It’s pretty much the only place you get to buy traditional music here though so it’s worth supporting him. He does says on his sign outside that if it’s not open call the number and he will come immediately to open up. I was initially skeptical of this because of the speed of Greek life but it may be true. However you would only know this information if you can read Greek and the reply will most likely will also be Greek so not much help to the average tourist. By the way it’s open 10-2pm and 7-10pm but don’t count on it as the first time I went at 1:30pm and it was most certainly shut with no one in sight to open up for customers.
Along with the purely Greek sign there is a small display of traditional ladies dresses with one from 1900’s and the other from 1920’s.
Upstairs in the music room at the top of the folklore museum in Lefkás town there is a picture of her along with Aristotle Valaoritis who was involved with many Lefkás town newspapers that previously existed and Angelos Sikelianos.
There is a Wikipedia article on her to fill in the details of her life. Agni Baltsa.
He was a scholar and a folklorist responsible for the creation of the folklore museum in Lefkás town. He was born in Kavalos on the island which is near to Sfakiotes so the folklore museum there is also named after him.
The folklore museum is a continuation of the history of Lefkás from where the Archeological museum In Lefkás Town finished. As you may recall I said previously that there was a big gap in the history of Lefkás from when the Romans left until the Venetians turn up in the 15th century. Other museums in Lefkás details other aspects of Lefkadian life but these are based outside of Lefkas town.
The folklore museum covers the period from the Venetians in the 15th century, through the Ottoman Empire, French, British and finally when they are free to rule themselves. There is also Santa Maura fort Lefkás if you wish to see the result of these battles.
At the start, it documents the newspapers, geography and men’s occupations like the ball game they used to play which is like boules. It also talks about the activities of the market place or the special events of Easter and Faneromeni which is coming up on Monday 17th June.
The emphasis here though is very much on female life as the are drawers upon drawers of women’s clothes, there is household linen and how it was made in the first place, carpets, examples of food that they ate including information about wine, olive oil, Eglouvi lentils and bread.
It also shows upstairs the setup of a typical bedroom and dining room. There is a loom on display that they would have used so that clothes could be woven. It details the different types of dresses worn by a girl, a bride and a woman as well as Sunday dress. There differences between rural and urban ladies are listed on the wall with what was expected of both. It also talks about the dowry that went with a girl upon marriage.
In the very last room is a music room with pictures of Aristotle Valaoritis, Angelos Sikelianos and Agni Baltsa. This is to complement the bouzoukis you see in the entrance hall. For related musical posts see here:
This contains the Lefkada Hearn exhibition which contains all the information you ever need to know about him, (on your right as you walk in)
The National Gallery (straight ahead)
Archeology museum (on the left)
On the stairs leading to the basement there used to be the Nikos Svoronos Library along with the Haramoglis Library but this moved a while ago and is now looking like an abandoned office.
If you instead go up the stairs or in the lift, you can see some maps of the Lefkás area from ancient times up to more modern times. Also there is well the folklore Festivals held in Lefkás festival archives on the top floor.
It’s open from 8am-3pm all week but the archeology museum is closed on Tuesday not Monday as Google will tell you.
We then got the Speech and Art festival in 1955. After this the organiser Antonis Tzevelekis came up with the International Folklore Festival. This started in 1962 and is now held every August. Initially it had only 3 countries but has now blossomed to hundreds of thousands of participants each and every year.
In the above picture it notes that Maria Callas turned up in 1964 to help kick the celebrations off.
It also mentions that in 1995 the then president of the Greek parliament Apostolis Kaklamanis who was himself a Lefkádian was attending.
The organiser Antonis Tzevelekis was himself commemorated when he died in 1989 after 30 years of dedicated to the cause. He also has a street and a square dedicated to himself in Lefkás town but I’m yet to come across a statue of his.
In the Cultural centre in Lefkás town there is a floor that contains all sorts of information about the yearly folklore festival. It costs a € to enter but you won’t know this until you open the door and someone comes rushing forward to tell you.
It’s worth it though as you get to see musical instruments from past participating countries as well as national costumes and dolls.
You can even try them on (not the above ones but a special selection provided for you.) But I didn’t get the feeling that was a good idea despite the empty changing room and available full length mirror. You get the idea your trespassing during the whole cultural centre not just the upper floor as it’s so empty. It feels abandoned despite it being open, staffed and well maintained.
There is also a room full of objects belonging to Antonis Tzevelekis and these phrases which are not translated but tell you about his life.
There is of course the Mardi Gras festival they have every year to celebrate the beginning of Lent. The costumes always look fantastic from the pictures friends put online and compare to festivals I have been to like Pirates Week and Batabano in the Cayman Islands as well as Notting Hill carnival in London.
The celebrations in New Orleans, the Canary Islands and Rio de Janeiro are similar I believe as there all for the same reason.
Since I’m never here that early in the season (February) I can’t tell you or show what it’s really like. If you like Museums though check out these articles
I’m not quite sure why these people made the list and not others. It’s mainly a list of government officials which I haven’t seen any evidence of elsewhere. If you want to know how I’m able to say all these people have streets name after them, I’m looking at a street map of Lefkás town of course. (Yes I am sad enough to walk the entire town taking pictures of street signs in 30c heat).
5. Petros Filipas Panagos 1860-1935 He was a doctor and a politician, with the below statue and a street named after him but I haven’t been able to find out anything more about him.
6. Konstantinos Macheras1888-1967 was a historian with a street named after him.
7. Konstantinos Grapsas 1880-1948 was lawyer, writer and a translator with you guessed it a street named after him.
9. Anastasios Skidaresis 1877-1941 MP, poet, translator of Ancient Greek and Italian Poets and another street name.
11.Angelos Sikelianos is the most famous Lefkádian who turns up in quite a few places and I have written about him, his wife Eva Palmer-Sikelianos and his poet /author friends George Seferis, etc at length already.
12.Efstathios Zakkas 1835-1888 is a benefactor according to the list and has a street named after him but that it’s as far as I know.
13. Nikos Katiforishas slightly more information around about himself being that he lived closer to the present day and I wrote about him in a separate post but not a lot due to my inability to find the Lefkádian archives.
14. Dimitrios Golemis
has his own statue in Lefkás town because he came third in the Olympic 800m in 1896. He had many other positions to occupy himself but information about him is thin on the ground.He does have a street named after him though.
The others I’m scratching at straws as we say in English ie Apart from basic biographical data I haven’t a clue who they were. Sometimes only the name exists.
There are 2 more libraries which I’m yet to locate here in Lefkás town- The Nikos Svoronos Library and the Haralambos Library. They should be able to help me fill in the gaps.
Honourable mentions go to Nikolaos Flogaitis 1799-1867 Freedom fighter because he too has a street named after him,
Frederick Temple 1821-1902 who after being born in Santa Maura fort became Archbishop of Canterbury,
Petros Soumilas 1861-19? A soldier who was born on Lefkás and finally
Marcos Christino Fioravanti 1775-1862 who was also born in Santa Maura but became a legendary teacher and translator in Brazil.
Thankyou tourism websites and Wikipedia. If however I have piqued your interest and you would like to learn more about Lefkás and it’s people click over here Series links.
Τι κανείς? How are you? literally what are you doing?
Τι κανείς μωρε? What are you doing mate?(jokily)
Εισας καλά? Are you alright?(jokily)
Που πάμε? Where have you been/what have you been doing? (Depends on context)
Πάμε! Let’s go!
Τι νέο? What’s new?
Έλα ρε! Come on now mate!
Έλα τωρα! Come on now!
Τι κριμα! What a pity!
Να ´στε καλά Be well!
Μπορεί να βοηθεια σας? Can I help you?
Ορίσετε Welcome (to our shop etc), here you are (give money for item etc)
Τι θελις? What do you want?(an alternative to how can I help you or in addition)
Ποσό κάνει How much?
Έχετε …. Do you have ….
Δεν έχει We don’t have (whatever you asked for)
Θέλω ένα …. I want ….
Ναι yes (can be polite in acknowledging you said something but still carry on with job and otherwise ignore you)
Ναι, ναι, ναι, Yes, Yes, Yes (Much more likely for them to do whatever you just asked)
Μάλιστα formal yes like employee to boss or meaning indeed
Έτοιμες Ready? (Asking If you have decided on what you want to drink/eat)
Πολύ νόστιμο Very tasty!
Κάλι ορίζει! Good appetite!
Άμεσος! Immediately (never happens and is more of a joke with English people)
Γριγορο Quickly (another joke)
Βειβαιους! of course (can be a joke)
Σίγουρα. Sure (not a certainty again)
Κάτσε κάτω sit down
Φεύγω! Leave! (What you say when your bothered by animals, sellers slightly rude)
Being direct is not rude in Greece like it is in the UK. Hence you wouldn’t normally say I would like in Greece. They don’t stand on ceremony as the saying goes meaning they are quite informal when shopping. They do however like to chat which is why the tasks are completed with as few words as possible leaving space, time and energy for conversation in order to revitalise them throughout the working day. It’s very hot right now so conservation is key.
These posts are very useful to remind me how much I have learnt, improve my confidence and spelling. It’s also to try to anchor this into my brain so I use it in conversation in daily life. Also it’s because I can’t sleep and prep work for my next conversation which failed last time.
Theodore Stamos was a Greek-American artist who was part of the “irascible” group that included such notables as Mark Rothko, Willem de Kooning and Jackson Pollock. So he can be considered a pioneer in abstract expressionism and is internationally renown for this; but as usual he is one of those that you don’t hear about. You need to be specifically interested that particular period in art and history.
Theodore’s father was from Lefkás and his mother from Sparta although he was brought up on Manhattan’s lower east side in the USA.
When he visited Lefkás he created a sub series from his Infinity Fields series of paintings. This was from 1970 until his death in 1997. It was expressionistic in style his paintings.
He studied Law, Literature and Philosophy in Italy and Paris and when he returned to Lefkas he became the District Attorney of the Ionian Islands. He also joined Filiki Eteria (wiki link) and became known as the preeminent member in Lefkas.
He was a member of the Greek writers society who wrote novels as well as 12 tragedies with national content. He was also on the banned books list because his book While Darkness Lasts had communist content. This was the same fate suffered by fellow author Gerasimos Grigoris. However while Nikos has his picture on display upstairs in the Lefkádian National Library, Gerasimos does not.
Nikos also wrote for the theatre in addition to being a newspaper columnist for Rizospastis for many years.
When researching these people I often get the feeling that they are scraping the bottom of the barrel for any information on them and that they are not as important as there making out. A sense of let’s show the world our history but only the good parts.
Other series of mine include Greek Poets, Painters, Art, Authors, Musicians, Museums, Specialist fields of interest, Conversation, Famous Greeks, Greek islands, and Rural Villages in Lefkás. All the links can be found here Series links.
Is there groups of artisans in your country who were considered counter revolutionary with their ideas?
He famously had one of his works banned in Greece because he was a communist. This book was Focus of Resistance.
He also won 2 literary awards in 1958 and 1963. I find this strange though because of the above information yet you find the same information repeated on many websites. If you also think of all the previous people (George Seferis, Odysseus Elytis ) etc who have gained awards for whatever reason, there compliant and help the country in some way. So as usual this makes no sense and no explanation can be found.
There is also an example of his work on display in the Lefkás national gallery but unless your looking at the fact sheet you would never know.
I don’t think the locals thought highly enough of him for there to be a statue, plaque or road named after him. His family can’t have been wealthy, influential or big enough to exert any power on his memory to make a memorial of some kind which is usual here. (See my post on Meganisi for evidence of this).
He does however get mentioned on tourist websites and websites dedicated to famous Lefkádians so he can’t be thought of that badly. As you may be coming to realise, there is a lot of contradictory information out there and I’m unsure which is correct due to the fact I’m writing about dead people whose brief biographical information is online but not much else.
There may be more information in the Nikos Svoronos Library or the Haramoglis Library but I can’t find it despite walking round in circles several times on a couple of occasions.
Do you have any authors in your country that were banned for the political ideals?
Other series include Greek Poets, Painters, Art, Authors, Musicians, Museums, Specialist fields of interest, Conversation, Famous Greeks, Greek islands and Rural Villages in Lefkás. All the links can be found here Series links.
Was a local historian with Ioannis Stamatelos and Nikos Svoronos. Was involved in research to do with colonialism in the Ionian Islands. Very technical and high brow. The history of historiography and neo-Hellenic studies. So Greeks examining their own culture with a fine tooth comb as we say in the UK.
He was also a philologist so a man who studies words so that makes he the perfect choice to found a library. Specially one that is linguistically diverse as the Lefkadian one.National Library
He wrote a couple of books concerning education in Lefkas and seismology as well. For his troubles the street the Library is on is named after him so it’s easy to remember.
This listed (I wasn’t previously aware they was any here) 19th century building was first used as a neo-classical mansion for the Zoulinos family from 1888-1906. It then was used to house the Lefkás branch of the National Bank of Greece before it finally became the National Library. It was founded by Panos Rontogiannis. This library is unusual as not only does it have Greek books but it also has English, Spanish, French, German, Italian, Danish and Swedish books. This is indicated on the spine for easy reference and there are labels on the shelves to show what section you are in. There is also a map to assist you..
On the initial staircase there are pictures of what I would call the most famous Lefkadians according to how much you can find out about them, the relative ease and there presence. These are Angelos Sikelianos, Lefkáda Hearn, Aristotle Valaoritis and Ioannis Zampelios. I have written posts about all 4 of them. Series links.
On the staircase between the floors are pictures of 12 apparently Famous Lefkadians but when I tried to ask the lady twice about them but I couldn’t get through to her.
Due to the location of the pictures it’s very difficult to capture them as the walkway was blocked off when I visited. Probably to avoid damage to the pictures as some of them are likely quite old. I’m also going to do a separate post about famous Lefkadians as there are many statues and memorials in which I can only find basic data on but still they deserve to be talked about. They were important enough to have some kind of memorial so I’m going to write about them if only briefly.
The Post Byzantine Art museum upstairs has a room for the Virgin Mary, a room for Christ and a room for the Apostles. It has books in each of these as well as many pictures. There is description about the role this figures have played in island life and how they have been depicted. There are also a bishops costume from Russia along with pictures in a very similar style from there.
This is an artwork by Zois Rombotis that is in the National Gallery in Lefkás town.
1st and 2nd Delphic festivals were held in 1927 and 1930 and they were festivals of the arts. These celebrated art, plays, poetry, music, dance and fashion. Not just Lefkádian styles but they had input from all over Greece as were the patrons who attended.
These were instigated by Angelos Sikelianos and his wife Eva Palmer-Sikelianos. They were however such a huge undertaking in terms of organisation, promotion and financial cost that the burden proved too much for them. Since there was little state funding in those days, that they had to file for bankruptcy after the second one. This is why they have never been reinstated. Considering how popular they were, how well connected they were and with the amount of money that they must have had at their disposal with only have 1 child, you gotta think are there other forces at work here?
Eva had to return home to the United States to try to acquire funding for more festivals due to the bankruptcy but was never permitted to leave again while her husband was alive due to political tensions and her own leanings. There is something slightly dodgy about this yet this is exactly what is written on the wall. There isn’t an explanation so your just left to wonder how such a thing could happen.
It was so painful for the pair to be separated that he got there marriage annulled so he could get married again with her consent yet she never did. Neither had any more children. The family tree is on the wall though. It is through them that some of the exhibits are there.
There is lots more information about both festivals in the Angelos Sikelianos museum situated in their house in Lefkás town. It was their pet project after all. If it wasn’t for the many donors who contributed to the museum, it probably wouldn’t still be there.
He was a distinguished novelist and tried to prove the Unity of Byzantium in his work Byzantine Studies 1857. He has acquired his fathers love of debating the purity of language and which should be used for what purpose. This was all tied up with the Greek war of independence (1821-22) that was occurring at this moment in time.
He also apparently founded the Filiki Eteria (wiki link) the freedom fighting organisation but who knows as to the veracity of this statement because one website says he did and another makes no mention as is quite common I’m finding out.
He is famous enough in Lefkás to have a street named after him in Lefkás town. There isn’t much other evidence about his life as tourist websites give you a bare minimum of biographical data. So we once again come across the usual issue of there not being any information to work on.
This is the twelfth post in the series of Greek but mainly Lefkádian writers and poets which includes a bonus post from Sententiae Antiquae on Sappho.
He is one of those people that Wikipedia has deemed only important enough to have an article in Greek and not in English. There is also practically nothing online about him. His son Spiridon Zampelios suffers the same fate for some unknown reason.
Yet, dig a little deeper and you find that both father and son were involved in deep linguistical debates about the use of language in prose and life. Which is why he is important enough to have his life discussed here in the above photo talking about the impact his poetry and songs have had on the theatre back in 1818. Its not the kind of thing that the average Wikipedia reader or editor is interested in. Hence the absence of data.
He is famous enough in Lefkás to have not only a street but also a square with a statue of himself named after him in Lefkás town. There is also a sign for his house but I’m yet to find it as directions are hard to come by and it’s non existent on the world’s worst tourist map as it’s so incomplete. It’s free so I can’t complain that much.
This is a picture that is on the stairs going up to the first floor of the building that houses the National Library and Post Byzantine collection of art showcasing how traditional Lefkadian art is different from most other western art because of the Heptanese (7 Ionian islands) style. He is among all of the other famous Lefkadians like Angelos Sikelianos, Lefkáda Hearn, Aristotle Valaoritis who I have already written about at length and lots of others which I will feature but they may have to be mini posts. They is only so many times one can update a post due to new information.
This is the eleventh post in the series of Greek but mainly Lefkádian writers and poets which includes a bonus post from Sententiae Antiquae on Sappho.
Nicopolis means Victory City in Greek and it is what Octavian built after taking part in battles in the nearby area. It is now in ruins but they are extensive. It must have been a fabulous city in its heyday. It housed a significant portion of the population of Lefkás as well as being the major city for trade, administration and religion in the surrounding vicinity. You can find details about the building of the city in the Archeological museum In Lefkás Town.
The city dominated until the middle age when the current city of Preveza starts to become prominent. Nikopolis then becomes known as Old Preveza. There is museum on the site dedicated to the finds found in previous archeological excavations.
This is the most well known historical site in the region as its power was immense and stretched out for approximately a thousand years. The Wikipedia article on Nikopolis is quite lengthy and you get articles in travel magazines from as far afield as Crete documenting the importance of this to the locality.
I will write again about this once I have actually visited as I plan to do soon with hopefully lots of pictures. I just thought this was important enough to write about twice.
There has been a temple to a deity of some kind for a long time. In the days of Sappho, it was Aphrodite trying to escape the rapturous attention of a mortal with the assistance of Apollo but the temple has long gone to be replaced by the chapel that is now there. If you wish to find out about that time visit Archeological museum In Lefkás Town.
The thing about Lefkás is you can’t learn a lot online, books are better but to get an actual feel for these things, you have to see them for yourself. It’s a very Lefkádian thing as they don’t really do social media even for business purposes so if you want to communicate anything you have to see them. There old fashioned and traditional which is unusual in this modern world but also kind of nice.
From the lighthouse on the promontory called Cape Dukatos or Lefkás depending on the era in question, you can see a fabulous sunset, take beautiful pictures and enjoy the view of neighbouring Ithaka and Cephalonia.
Is there any groups of famous people in your country?
This is a very interesting place to visit if your interested in the prehistory of Lefkás. It also covers the findings of the excavations of Wilhelm Dörpfeld even better than the Fagotto book that I mentioned previously Wilhelm Dörpfeld.
In this museum it goes into detail about the ancient and goddesses (Apollo etc) that were worshipped on the island and how Lefkás became associated with Sappho and unrequited love. It explains the temple that was once there and how the inhabitants worshipped female deities.
In another room it details the lengths that they went to in order to honour their dead. It contains grave goods and headstones along with descriptions of the different styles of graves.
In the main room it contains information about the basics of Greek life like bread, wine, oil, fishing, weaving, music, houses and coinage (trade). It also includes interesting language facts and all sorts of other things that you can’t find out anywhere else.
In the last room it houses all the finds from the Dörpfeld excavations along with an examination of the time period that they relate too.
It takes the average person less than an hour but I spent an hr and a half because I read everything in sight. It also costs €2, is closed on Tuesdays and you can’t take the leaflet away.
I know I’m making this sound so dull but I was fascinated by the content. It gave me a lot of insight into why Lefkás had a lot of settlements and activity for a vast period up until the Roman period. After the building of Nikopolis which I will talk more on after I have been, the decline was evident especially when the battle of Actium happened. This was a famous sea battle between Cleopatra and the Roman Empire.
After that Lefkás disappears from history for approx 800 years. It’s only when the Venetians turn up that things start happening again but that’s beyond the scope of the museum.
You know your famous when not only do you have a statue of yourself but there is a street carrying your name as there is both of these requirements in Lefkás town dedicated to the above gentleman. He also has an entire library named after him but I’m yet to find as signage is very poor here.
However due to the fact that he followed Marxist ideology it is quite difficult to find out anything about him. Once again censorship is taking place but in a rather subtle way so its only later on in history after they have died that you realise this. The fact the information about him is on the side of this rather odd statue and it’s facing away from the direction of footfall is quite telling.
He was a byzantinologist or in other words a man who studied the Byzantine era. He is an internationally respected historian of our modern era. Once again he is a guy you would never come across unless you were interested in his specific topic. He liked the economic and social history of Greece and wrote in a way that was quite different from his contemporaries which is why he stood out. If you want to know about the impact that Ottoman Turkish rule had on Greece, he is the man you need.
His family donated his work after he died and it is housed in the Nikos Svoronos library. However due to him being French, some of his work still resides in France and will remain there forever as its too delicate to transport now.
Have you any celebrated historians in your country?