Cephallonia, Greece
by hector
Myrtos Beach, Kefalonia
Creative Commons AttributionMyrtos Beach, Kefalonia - Credit: MattSims, Flickr

While the action occasionally extends to Albania, Athens and other parts of Greece, Captain Corelli's Mandolin is all about Cephallonia. Also spelt Kefalonia, the island covers 350 square miles and lies to the west of mainland Greece. It is the largest of the Ionian Islands, which also include Corfu and Ithaca.  

 

Greece with Cephallonia highlighted
Public DomainGreece with Cephallonia highlighted - Credit: M.Minderhoud

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cephallonia House
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeCephallonia House - Credit: risastla, Flickr

The name is thought to come from the Greek word for "head", a reference to the distinctive Assos peninsula. The Venetian fortress on the peninsula is one of the largest castles in Greece, with walls stretching to two kilometres.

 

 

 

 

 

Cephallonia
GNU Free Documentation LicenseCephallonia - Credit: Gobbler, Wikimedia Commons

Today, 45,000 people live on Cephallonia, mostly in the capital Argostoli and the second town, Lixouri. Sami and Fiscardo are also important ports. This population is considerably reduced from historic levels closer to 125,000.

 

Assos Door
Creative Commons AttributionAssos Door - Credit: Mirko Macari

Cephallonia is known for turquoise seas and white pebble beaches. Myrtos Beach is frequently voted the best beach in Greece. Mount Ainos rises to a height of 5,340ft, and is part of a mountain range cloaked in Greek fir and black pine.

 

 

Cephallonia Beach Road
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeCephallonia Beach Road - Credit: landhere, Flickr

The island sits close to a tectonic fault, where the European plate meets the Aegean plate. It is subjected to regular earthquakes, and the 1953 catastrophe features in this book. The whole island was permanently raised by 60 cm following the 1953 earthquake. 100,000 residents left Cephallonia in search of a more stable home.