VathyWritten by Ithacorama Portal on 08.02.2012
Vathy (or Vathi) is the capital of Ithaca since 1500 and has a population of 1700 people. Vathy’s is build like an amphitheatre around it's natural port (the Homeric Forkys port) which is 300m. wide and its length is 926m.
Small hotels, apartments, and villas sit comfortably amongst the paste coloured traditional houses, life centres around the square and waterfrond areas where touristes and locals alike sit in the cafe-bars and tavernas. Motorbike, car and boat rentals are available. There are gas stations, petrol stations and water supply.
Sights you should see are:
On the top of Loutsa hill, near the entrances of the port, lies a fort built by the French in 1807. Two cannons are the only arms which can still be seen here.
The cave of the Nymphs is a few kilometers north of Vathy. According to Homer, when Odysseus returned to Ithaca he used the cave to hide the gifts offered to him by the Phaeacians. (You should be careful though the cave is closed on the inside)
The ancient town of Alalcomenae where there are remains of the ancient town (8th century B.C.) and ancient walls (7th century B.C.) extending from the summit down the slope of Aetos mountain 5kms west of Vathy. There is also a very nice trekking path there to the top of Aetos mountain.
Lazareto Isle lies at the southwestern part of the port. In the 19th century those entering Ithaca were put in quarantine to prevent the spread of diseases but later the building on Lazareto served as a prison until 1912. Today there is a small church on the isle called Sotiras (Savior) which is the number one destination for marriages all over the world.
The archeological museum houses a rich variety of findings from the excavations in Aetos such as pots, coins, tools, etc.
Another remarkable museum to visit is the Naval and folklore museum. which gives an excellent insight into Ithaca's Past years.
An interesting church you can visit is the Cathedral. The wooden iconostasis dates from 1973 and the steeple dates back to 1820. Another church you must visit is Agios Nicolaos at the town central. It shelters an icon painted by El Greco.
There are also many interesting old buildings in Vathy due to a law, passed in 1978 that prohinits Construction in any other style of architecture than the traditional.