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Τοποθεσία

Districts : Karya, Englouvi, Pigadisani.


Karya is located in the mountainous part of central Lefkada, 14km from Lefkada town. Karya is a peaceful village built among green surroundings. .

Sightseeing

The mountainous part of Lefkada has a beauty of its own. The main part in the interior of the island has got the highest mountain peaks on the island (such as the Stavrota mountain,1182 m). On the mountains there are numerous narrow plateaus at different altitude. At a lower altitude one can see olive trees. In the plain of Karya, near the village Pigadisani there are all sorts of cultivations. Here the soli is very fertile for wheat, cereal, vegetables and vineyards. The region is also rich in water springs. On the top of the plain, on a slope lies the monastery of Aghios Giannis Prodromos, also called Ai-Giannis sto livadi. It was founded in 1605.

The monastery has a history that goes back 300 years. It has played an important part in the economic as well as cultural life of the island. It is said that inside the church lies the grave of the revolutionary Simos Bouas orelse Grivas, 1622. In 1702 the Venetian rulers invested a lot of land on the monastery. The monastery of Odigitria became its property at that time, fifteen more churches came to its possession afterwards. At the beginning of the 19th century the monastery of Aghios Giannis had become the richest on the island. The present singlenaved church was built later.


It has got some exceptional frescoes that date from 1736 until 1753. On the north wall you can still see some well preserved frescoes. On the west side you can see the painting of Aghios Konstantinos and Aghia Eleni as well as Archangel Michael. Two of the capital icons, painted by Tommaso Zen were unfortunately stolen in 1965. Next to the monastery surrounded by dense vegetation, lie the remains of a chapel dedicated to Aghios Nikolaos.

Pigadisani is a beautiful village, with its stone houses built on a steep green slope. One of the places worth visiting in the village is the church of Aghioi Anargyroi. In the region you will also find the well preserved, old olive oil press of Koukouliotis. Watermills as well as windmills nearby bear witness to the fact that the region has always been rich in agricultural production. The mills were private. A bed, a small fireplace and a few utensils were the only things in the mill. The first watermills were most probably built at the beginning of the 18th century. According to the scholar and philologist Pantazis Kontomihis, who studied the traditions on Lefkada, already sixty watermills were in use on the island in 1760. It is also said that over ten watermills existed only in this region. At the location Anemomilia stands a windmill, property of the municipality of Karya, which is going to be restored along with its equipment and wings


Here stands also the small bridge called Marcus. It is a stonebuilt bridge, obviously constructed by the Venetians, hence the name. It is a beautiful small bridge, surrounded by dense vegetation worth visiting. Another beautiful location of significant environmental interest, are the Waterfalls of Akoni. The poets, Aristotelis Valaoritis and Angelos Sikelianos praised the beauty of this scenery in their poems.



2km from Pigadisani lies Karya, another big mountain village that consists of smaller villages. Karya has managed to maintain the tradition and customs of its region. It is a village well known for the famous embroideries, the so-called karsaniko stitch developed by Maria Stavraka or Koutsohero. This embroidery style and technique became very popular and famous in Greece as well as in countries abroad. The woven fabrics of the region are also exceptional, full of unique, unusual and elaborate patterns.

In the private Folklore Museum in Karya you will have the opportunity to see and discover the way people used to live in the past. The exhibits will show you how patient, persistent and intelligent one had to be in order to create such culture, overcoming the difficulties of those times. Every year, on the 11th of August the custom of the traditional Lefkada wedding is revived. One of the most remarkable churches in Karya is the church of Aghios Spyridon, in the centre of the village, built at the end of the 19th century. It has got a beautiful bell tower and its templon is the work of Ioannis Vrettos (1925).


Another significant church is the church of Aghia Paraskevi. It is a well preserved church, dated from the beginning of the 19th century. Its beautiful baroque templon is the fine work of Prosalentis, dated from 1850. The icon of Aghia Paraskevi was painted by Patsaras. In the church there are also two oil paintings by Spyridonas Gazis (depicting Abraham/s sacrifice, Job). There are two fountains in the village that used to supply it with fresh clean water. There is also a well preserved traditional winery, where tsipouro (raki) is produced.

Further on lies Englouvi. It is the highest village on the island. Built on small hills, Englouvi lies 730m above sea level. The landscape above the village is different. Because of the altitude vegetation becomes sparse and the landscape rougher. The soil is rocky with steep gorges. However, on the small plateaus and on the slopes you can see cultivated fields. On every slope, low dry stone walls keep the soil together creating this way a system of terracing, ideal for vineyards. This dry stone wall system is typical on Lefkada. This region is rich in water springs used for irrigation.


You will find chickpeas and lentils as well as vines, one of which is Vartzami or Barzamino, brought here by the Venetians in 1684. Vartzami gives a dark red wine, that was popular with the French and the Italians. Other wine varieties are giomatari, dark and sweet, keropati, white and langero soft light wine. Among the villages, whose wine production was one of the main occupations of the inhabitants, was Karya and Englouvi. Even in the antiquity, vine cultivation was one of the most popular and lucrative rural occupation mainly in the mountain villages and less in the plain. Many ancient writers mention the lefkadian wine, such as Plinius the elder (23-79AD) and Athenaeus (160-250AD) in his work Deipnosophistae)

Englouvi is also known for its delicious lentils for which it has earned a lot of prizes, and are considered as the best lentils in Greece. A little further, you see the church of Aghios Donatos. The chapel was initially dedicated to Aghios Dometios, however when the locals had it restored, influenced by the name of the region, dedicated it to Aghios Donatos. He was the bishop of Lefkada in 284 AD. According to tradition, he was killed during the persecutions of Christians. The ruins of the tower, where he was killed, still exist near the chapel. The celebration of the saint/s day is on the 7 August (coinciding with Aghios Dometios/celebration). On that day the housewives of the region cook lentils in huge caldrons and serve them with olives and sardines to guests and visitors.


Across the chapel you will see a row of restored water wells. The landscape during summer is rugged and remote. At the same site you will also see the thressing floors and numerous of small, stone built huts called Voltoi. Their design is unique. The working conditions of the farmers lead them to building these huts. Inside each Voltos,farmers and shepherds used to keep some tools and untensils which they needed during their stay there in summer until the thressing begun.

It is said that these huts existed from the early years of the Venetian rule. Building them needed exceptional craftsmanship. Today more than 150 Voltoi are preserved. They are rarely used. The fact that the inhabitants used to settle there during summer months took place only in Englouvi. One of the main reasons was the fact that in order for the farmers to proceed with the thressing they were obliged to wait for the tax officer of the Venetians -and later of the British- that would define the amount of the tax to be paid.



Since Englouvi was the last village on the officer/s list, they had to wait till September. Later the voltoi became the hide out and refuge for the fighters during the War of Independence in 1821 as well as for the resistance-fighters during World War II. They met there in secret and set up temporary quarters where they could inform and be informed. Above the plateau of Aghios Donatos, on one of the highest tops you can see the chapel of Prophitis Ilias that offers a great view to the Ionian Sea and the west coast of the mainland.

Entertainment

There are various traditional tavernas, restaurants, cafes and bars where you can eat or have a drink. W recommenend the tradiotional mezedes (such as kokoretsi, splenadero). Rich in tradition and customs the region will give you the chance to become part of it and have fun.

Beaches

The short distances to the beaches of the island will give you the opportunity to combine a green and peaceful environment with a swim, whichever beach you choose to visit. .


Transportation

Busses run regularly on a daily basis (KTEL).

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