Wilhelm Dorpfeld German archeologist and historian 1852- 1940

He is the founder of the scientific approach to archeology for he came up with the theory of stratigraphy which is the recording of strata to enable you to use the objects found in the correct manner. He is however most famous here for his Bronze Age excavations that took place

from 1900-1910 Tombs near Nidri

and he was the originator of the thought that Lefkás was Homer’s Ithaka. Displayed below is the Odyssey boat but here it’s in the harbour on Meganisi.

I have even watched a BBC4 program where they went in search of the physical evidence based on passages from the Odyssey itself ending in Lefkás with a trip on the boat in the picture which I have been on and it’s very informative. Dörpfeld did many evacuations in the area including Meganisi

Meganisi
Meganisi

but anything more than hearsay cannot really be proven which is unfortunate. I think the modern conclusion to the theory is that it is Ithaka that Homer lived on, not Lefkás despite Dörpfeld’s exhaustive efforts.

He is however commemorated on the island by having the bus stops in Nidri dedicated to his memory. This is because he believed that the bay of Nidri (this picture is also on display in the Gramophone museum Lefkás town) Nidri

Nidri

was Homer’s base for the setting of the start and end of the Odyssey. He also thought the bay of pigs was Sivota bay.Sivota

Sivota

You can also get hold of a book Wilhelm Dorpfeld in Lefkás that tells you all about himself and the work that he did on the island. I have read it and it’s quite informative. It’s the best source of information around and the black and white pictures in this post come from that book.

The picture of his grave is at Geni which is across the water from Nidri and very close to Agia Kiriaki church. He also has the honour of a street named after him in Lefkás town.

There is an Archeological museum In Lefkás Town with a room full of his finds in Lefkás town but more were destroyed by a fire that happened not long after they were discovered in the place that they were being stored nearby the excavation site.

It is quite difficult to get hold of information about him in English but the above mentioned book and museum I linked to earlier is your best bet here. You can find out more about him in the museums in Athens.

However, the majority of it is in German. I have previously come across a PHD document written by a Greek that is in English online. However, as with all things you find when your not really looking for them; there really difficult to locate when you actually need them. Wilhelm Dörpfeld founded a school of archeology in Athens so you do occasionally come across gems like that document but just like gems they are very hard to discover again after you have initially found them.

As a consolation prize here is the Wikipedia article on him

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wilhelm_Dörpfeld

Do you know of any little known people from your country who deserve to be more famous?

Best wishes

Angela

Meganisi – A Greek Ionian Island

Meganisi means big island in Greek and it is comparable to all the other Princess Islands as they are locally known. The Princess Islands are so called because of the involvement of Onassis. They comprise Meganisi, Skorpios, Skorpidi and Sparti. These are not to be confused with the Prince Islands which are a group of 9 small islands off the coast of Turkey. (Thankyou Google for this).

Ancient History

Meganisi was said to be Krocylea from the Odyssey by Wilhelm Dörpfeld who will be discussed in another article as he made many important evacuations in this area.

Recent history

Papanikolis Cave is famous in this area for its sheer size and breathtaking natural beauty. All of the boat trips from Nidri harbour take you past it as it’s such a unique feature. The legend talks about a World War 2 submarine the “Papanikolis” from which the cave takes its name hiding out here after engaging in battle with the Italians. If you wish to know more about incident read all about it on the Wikipedia page Papanikolis Submarine.

The Olive Oil museum above shows the process that they used to have to go through to extract the oil from the olives. It’s a big mill stone that has to grind the olives to a pulp. The olive harvest takes place every November so the production was always a winter activity when there was less to do elsewhere. The mill is now preserved as a tourist attraction.

Meganisi also hosts the tourists for a traditional dance evening. This is where the ladies are invited to try to repeat what “Mama” did when she was younger. This is to carry the water up from the harbour side to the village of Spartahori on the hill by way of balancing the container on your head and walking a few steps.

(C)Hori [χωρι] is the Greek word for village which you will come across in lots of names like Neohori on Lefkás is New village or Katohori also in Lefkás is Under village. The c sound doesn’t exist in Greek hence it is sometimes represented as above.

“Mama” had to do this a couple of times a day but I have no idea how she managed as nobody ever completes the challenge. Even with the incentive of a bottle for the winner. You are also taught some traditional dance steps. One is for the women which can be done regardless of age or ability and one for the men. It’s a very enjoyable evening with food laid on too. The performance of the dances is spectacular.

More recent history

This is not a war memorial which it appears to be at first but a dedication to a 25 year old coastguard Marinos Zampelios who lost his life battling at sea. There are the same memorials in Corfu (Thankyou internet) where this actually happened. If you believe the Golden Dawn website and I wouldn’t because there so heavily biased it’s unbelievable; “He died preventing Albanian scum from conducting drug wars here.” That language in itself tells you that is not what happened at all but due to lack of other sources I can’t tell you what did happen. It’s quite a shocking event though on an island that only has 3 villages, Spartochori, Vathy as will be mentioned later and Katomeri which has practically no facilities. The entire population of the island is roughly 1 thousand.

Here is a picture of a nice bell tower after that scandalous paragraph to lighten the mood once more.

Sailing

Meganisi is also good for the sailors as they come into Vathy harbour and there are a couple of restaurants here.

(Βάθη) Vathy is another one of those brilliantly named places as it means depth and it most certainly has a deep harbour. It’s always filled to the brim with sailing boats.

Again the spelling is different because beta is a v sound in reality so vita.

I have been on a sailing boat many times to the harbour and have eaten there too. There is a nearby bay that is known as “No Name Bay” and this is where we would stop to swim. There are lots of little bays and inlets here that offer the opportunity to sample unparalleled views without the need to go ashore.

However, if you wish a sojourn on the island; the ferry comes across from Nidri on a regular basis. This allows you to visit without the need to have friends with a boat. Or to go on the Odyssey which is how I have visited in the past. Along with the Ionian Star. Many other commercial boats ply the waters here too so you have quite a pick of transportation.

Are there any relatively unknown corners that are near where you live?

Best wishes

Angela