Ithaca Geo-routes

Θέα προς το Βαθύ από τον δρόμο που οδηγεί στην Ι.Μ. Καθαρών
Figure 1. Vathy town, the capital of Ithaca. View from the road to the Holy Monastery of Kathara

The geo-route of Ithaca begins at the northern part of the island and specifically at the Geosite of Marmakas which consists a beach and a wetland as well (the only one on the island) located close to the port of Frikes village. In this geosite we observe the occurrence of three lithological sequences, three different formations of the Ionian zone, the "Pantocrator" limestones, Ammonitico Rosso and the limestones with cherts and marly shales with “Posidonia”.

Following the geo-route, and heading towards the south along the main road, we make a small detour to the west towards Exogi village, and we stop at Agios Athanasios which constitutes an archaeological site, specifically it is the ancient fortification tower "School of Homer" of the Hellenistic - Classical period with signs of Mycenaean architecture. Then we continue to the village of Stavros where the Archaeological Collection of North Ithaca is found, which hosts findings from all the excavations that have been conducted in northern Ithaca from the beginning of the 20th century and until today. The objects that are exhibited in this exhibition date from the Early Greek to the Roman period.Most of them come from the excavations that took place in the Cave of Loizos which is located in the bay of Polis, which we can visit by making a detour. In this cave remarkable findings dating from the Early Helladic to the Roman period have been found.

The most important exhibit of the Archaeological Collection of Northern Ithaca is the fragment with the inscription "WISH ODYCCEI", which was found in the Cave of Loizos. In Stavros village we can also visit the Tower of Tzanis, an historical monument, as it is one of the few surviving houses of the Venetian occupation, with interesting architectural elements from the era of the British occupation in the Ionian Islands.

Ο «Αράκλης» αποτελεί τον σπουδαιότερο μονόλιθο αυτών των ιδιαίτερων διαβρωσιγενών καρστικών γεωμορφών
Picture 2. Araklis

We continue our route to the village of Anogi where we come across another Geosite with huge scattered boulders of limestone, of geological origin, which are called "Monoliths" (or Menhir). "Araklis" is the most important monolith of these particularly eroded karsticgeomorphs. Also, in the village of Anogi there is the historical religious monument of the "Assumption of the Virgin"church

On the same road we find the View position where we have a panoramic view of Vathi, Gidaki and Skinos. These areas constitute a Geosite where we can admire the particular geomorphology of these bays, which wereformedbecause of the eustatic movements of the sea from the alteration of glacial and interglacial periodsduringthe last 2 million years. A little further down is the crossroadfor the Holy Monastery of Kathara, which according to tradition, the name was given after the discovery of the icon of Virgin Mary, at the point where the monastery was built, since "kathara" (in the local dialect) are the dry twigs from which it is believed that it was retrieved. The view of Ithaca from this point is unique. From here we can observe the whole southern part of the island of Ithaca, but also Kefalonia Island, from the other side. As we continue the route to the south we find the walls of the ancient city of Alalkomenes that are preserved in Piso Aetos (Agios Georgios - Fortification walls) as well as the area with the ruins of the ancient city that are preserved outside the walls. Before taking the road to Vathi we could take a detour to the cave of the Nymphs Geosite in which archaeological findings indicate the worshiping of the Nymphs.

Η Ιερά Μονή Καθαρών στην Ιθάκη
Picture 3. Holy Monastery of Kathara

Arriving at the capital of Ithaca, Vathi, we can visit the Nautical and Folklore Museum of Ithaca which includes more than 1.500 exhibits, including old photographs, paintings of Ithaca’s shipowners, naval instruments and uniform sand more, as well as the Archaeological Museum of Ithaca which exhibits small objects dedicated to the temple of Apollo in the area of Piso Aetos and a small bronze bust of Odysseus is among the objects hosted in the showcases of the small Museum.

Completing the geo-route of Ithaca we head towards either the cave of Rizes Geosite which is located close to the village of Pera chori or to the Sarakiniko and Filiatro beaches where at a second view point we can see almost the entire stratigraphic sequence of the Ionian zone that characterizes lithologically the island of Ithaca.