History & Sightseeing


History
The ancient city was in very close proximity to today’s housing estate, and was founded by the settles of Kefalonia. During the Peloponnesian war, it was conquered by the Athenians and later became part of the Etolic confederation. During the Byzantine period it bloomed significantly as a rural center under the name Dragamesto.

During the ancient times, it was the epicenter of the Athenian-Peloponnesian conflict, and is well known for the story of the tyrant Evarhos, who was exiled by the Athenians.

The city continued to bloom during the Hellenistic years and decayed after the Roman conquest: in 30BC Aktia Nikopoli was founded and the populations of Akarnania (together with the area of Astakos) were forced to settle the new town. The rural area becomes deserted and any trace of the actual city is lost until the Byzantine period: the center of activity is now the area surrounding the castle of Dragamestos which fortified the passage through to the mainland and monitored the activity around the bay.

The first citation concerning the Byzantine Dragamesto, is mentioned by K. Akropoliti in 1250 AD – he chronicles the events of the Arab invaders in the 9th century. Following the seize in 1204, Astakos had the same fate as Akarnania and was subjugated to the Magistrate of Ipiros. Since then, it has seen many rulers: it was included in the state of Stefanos Dusan, the Albanian Bua Spata in between it was conquered, temporarily, by the squire of Lefkada, Leonardo Tokko, which it became the apple of contention between the Italian families of Foskari and Tokko.

The fall of the Byzantine Empire and the proliferation of the Ottomans, led to the enslavement of the area to the Ipsili Pyli. In 1571 the Italian and Spanish fleets arrive in the small port of the area and temporarily drives the Turks away. It is worth mentioning that the final stage of the battle of Nafpaktos took place on the estuary of the Acheloos river. The area comes under the rule of the Venetians from 1684-1699 when it returns to Ottoman occupation, according to the treaty of Carlovich. Modern day Astakos dates back to the beginning of the 1700’s by inhabitants of the Ionian Islands, Ipiros and Evritania. Its initial location was in Scala in Gragamesto. In 1704 the first “shop” was established and in 1718 export to France prospers. In 1797 and according to the treaty of Kaboformio, the area is surrendered to the French. The French domination will last for only 2 years and will end in 1799.

During the final years of the Ottoman conquest, the port will be used by Ali-Pasa for trading of limber, meat, wheat, corn and acorn. Astakos and the wider area are actively involved in the 1821 revolution. Petrobei sets camp here for a while and Karaiskakis and Tsorts soon follow. Following the liberation, Astakos was included in the newly established state and became the centre of the homonymous municipality. Its society gradually restructured with the activation of ship-owners and traders. During the last quarter of the 19th century, it was embellished with stunning neoclassical houses, from which, some have been deemed as historical preservation sights by the state today. In older times Astakos was a significant center for acorn export, while in recent years it hopes for economic development after the completion and function of the brand new port on Platigiali.

The battle of Dragamestos
The battle of Dragamestos took place on the 21st of November in 1825, in the Astakos bay area. Since April 1825, Mesologgi was already under siege and Mehmet Resit Pasa Kioutahi received orders from the Sultan saying: “Mesologgi or your head”. During this period (Aug-Dec 1825) the chieftain Karaiskakis had set camp in the area and was causing enormous damages to the Turkish supply line between Mesologgi-Karvasaras, while he was collaborating with the fleet for the supply of Mesologgi. From sea, admiral Miaoulis, kept breaking the pillory of the Turkish vessels and transported suppliers to the city under siege.

Since October 1825 though, the Egyptian vessels also arrived, thus tightening the pillory even further. At dawn, on November 21st , the vessels of vice-admiral Sahtouris were seen by the Turkish –Egyptian fleet and moved towards Astakos bay. The Egyptian, favorable wind on their side, attached first the Greek vessels, but with a masterful manoeuvre it managed to dodge the attack. Soon afterward, the Greek vessels managed to attack the largest vessel and set it deck alight. The Egyptians sailors abandoned in fright and the Greek fleet totally destroyed close to the shores of an island. The remaining enemy vessels were driven away by Greek canons.

The battle lasted about 5hrs and the exchange of fire continued well into the following day. During the battle two enemy admirals were killed, while several Greek sailors were wounded. Following the battle, suppliers for Mesologgi were loaded from the port of Petala.

The castle of Dragamesto
Located on a hill south of Astakos town and between Astakos and the village of Karaiskakis, lie the ruins of the ancient forts of Astakos and Medieval Dragamesto. The total area of the location is approximately 108 acres and the fortification is divided into two precincts with an in-between wall of around 410 meters. The ancient and Byzantine builders exploited the mountainous location chiseling the underground and incorporating it into the walls, thus combining natural with technical fortification. The ancient wall was built on a natural underground and a part of it was used later on as the base for the erection of a medieval wall. The central gate, can be located on the right side of the castle, facing the ruins of the temple of Zeus Karaos. The fortification is reinforced by 15 towers all facing the south and west sides within the walls of the Byzantine (south) precinct, the ruins of 3 temples are found: A three leveled basilica of Saint Ekaterini or the Theotokos, a cross ruffed temple of the 10th century and a single spaced basilica. Also in the area thera are the foundations of another building whose purpose remains unknown.

Exactly in the centre of the south side there is a small temple of Agia Kyriaki. Today the castle is in bad condition and access to it is via a dirt road. The existence of the castle along with Christian findings prore the unremitting continuation of habitation in the area and signal its medieval Byzantine character.

Neoclassical Architecture
A total of 21 houses, typical of Astakos neoclassical architecture, have been deemed as national preservation areas. The neoclassical type house are more though. Most of them have beautiful frescoes in their interior, elaborately embellished ceilings and noticeable decorative details. Based on the 2nd period of the Greek neoclassical architecture, the predominant color in Astakos houses is ochre. These unique houses offer a splendid view to all visitors to Astakos.

Saint Panteleimonas
Saint Panteleimonas is the closest eastern moorage on Astakos Bay. The tiny orifice was used as an anchorage of small vessels during the 19 century AD. On the western side of the moorage and on top of a conical hill, there is a small fortress with 6 semicircular towers, built possibly at the end of the classical period, in order to fend off pirate raids.

The port of Platigiali
Platigiali is a moorage on the eastern opening of Astakos Bay. Today, it hosts the modern commercial/transportation port of Astakos. During its construction in the 80’s there was a sub marine settlement of the 3rd BC millennium that was discovered, which, due to the construction, was reburied. We do not have further signs of settling in this moorage, mainly due to lack of drinkable water.

Travelers do not mention the existence of any settlement, which during world war I, the British fleet anchored here. In the following years it was only used as a refuge for disarmed vessels. In 1984 ETBA, with MOP funding attempted to build a ship dissolver in Platigiali. The investment was deemed inexpedient and in 1990 ETBA attempted to sell Na.Vi.Pe was taken over by Astakos terminal which assumed the project of transforming Platigiali to a commercial transportation port.

In 2007, Astakos terminal initiated talks with the Italian company Edison aiming to create a unit for electromotive with combustion of black coal, however, local people’s reactions along with various legal obstacles averted the plan. Astakos city recently made the headlines with the anticipated Katar investment of constructing electromotive energy though the joint venture of Astakos PPC which was finally cancelled following excessive claims of one of the two companies, as it was officially stated.

Nearby islands
The Ionian Islands, off the west coast of Greece, are well known for their stunning scenery, crystal clear waters, hidden bays and beautiful sandy beaches.

Lefkada
Is one of the renowned ‘Eptanissa’ islands, the seventh island of the Ionian Sea. The distance from the coasts of Aitoloakarnania is only 78m and the island is connected to the mainland with a navigable bridge. Lefkada is 35 km long and 15 km wide. Along with the nearby islands, Meganisi, Kalamos, Skorpios, Madouri, etc., it consists the prefecture of Lefkada. It is a famous destination and attracts tourists from all over the world. A famed festival takes places in the summertime in Lefkada. The folklore dancing festival of August is an attraction for the visitors within the framework of the ‘Celebrations of Speech and Art’.

Kefalonia
Is the largest island of the Ionian islands, in Greece. It stretches over an area of 904 km2 with a coastline length of 250 km. The island has a splendid natural beauty and a diversified geological structure with innumerable small bays and rich vegetation the mountain Aenos (National Park since 1962 supporting rich flora and fauna) looks impressive from far away. The magnificent sights, amazing beaches, rich cultural heritage, great monuments, mountains, castles, remote monasteries and cheerful, hospitable people are the treasures making Kefalonia one of the most attractive destinations.

The movie ‘’Captain Corelli’s Mandolin’’ shot in the natural scenery of the island refers to a history of the Resistance movement.

Ithaki
Is an island located in the Ionian Sea, in Greece, with an area of 120 square kilometres (46 sq mi) and has a little more than three thousand inhabitants. It lies off the northeast coast of Kefalonia and to the west and within sight of continental Greece.. The capital, Vathy or Ithaki, has one of the world’s largest natural harbours.

Modern Ithaca is generally identified with Homer’s Ithaca, the home of Odysseus, whose delayed return to the island is one of the key elements of the Odyssey’s plot. Swim in the crystal water, walk along trekking paths, have your meal in fish taverns and chat with the welcoming local people.

Scorpios
Is a private island spanning 74 acres in the Ionian Sea off the western coast of Greece and just to the east of the island of Lefkada. The 2001 census, reported a population of two inhabitants. Administratively it is part of the municipality of Meganisi in Lefkada regional unit.

Aristotle Onassis purchased first the barren isle. After Onassis’ 1975 death, the private island passed down through the family. In 1988, after her mother Christina died of a heart attack the island became the property of Athina Onassis Roussel, Aristotle’s granddaughter and sole living heir.

In 2013, Ekaterina Rybolovleva, the 24-year-old daughter of Russian billionaire Dmitry Rybolovlev, has officially acquired Skorpios, by Athina Onassis Roussel.

Kastos
Is located close to larger and long-established boating and holiday home destinations such as Ithaca, Kefalonia, Lefkada and Meganissi. It is separated from its neighbouring island of Kalamos by a deep channel.

Just eight kilometres long and, even at its widest, only 1,200 metres across, Kastos has a huge appeal to all forms of boating and yachting enthusiasts. Port Kastos, the main harbour, offers safe mooring and has several tavernas. To the south of Kastos there are bays and inlets that are perfect for nautical exploration and overnight mooring alike. The island offers a variety of activities, from exploring the cultural landmarks to engaging in an array of sports, or simply sipping coffees and watching the yachts come to moor in one of the many picturesque bays.

Kalamos
Is an island of the Ionian Sea, located Southeast of Lefkada island, between Meganisi on the West Northwest, Kastos on the South Southeast and the coast of Akarnania on the North Northeast.

 Kalamos has a longitudinal shape covering an area of 25 square kilometres. It is ranked 7th in size of the seven major islands of the Ionian Sea (so-called Eptanisos) and 59th of the country’s islands.
This is where many people sailing the Ionian moor their boats in order to visit the island, enjoy some seafood at a seaside taverna or seek refuge from bad weather.

Meganisi
Is located opposite to Skorpios and at a short distance from the southeastern shores of Lefkada island (Ionian Sea). It extends over an area of 24 km2 and has a coast expansion of 46 km. That makes it the largest of a cluster of islands such as Skorpios, Skorpidi, Thilia, Kuthros, Madouri, Spartochori etc, distinguished by their unparreled natural beauty, the virgin beaches and the mysterious caves. The island is a unique destination for all those who seek tranquility in the Greek nature or get in touch with the local people, who love and keep their traditions alive.

You shouldn’t be surprised of the older women walking down the narrow paved streets, dressed with traditional apparels or of the younger ones, making fantastic handcrafted embroideries, using the traditional Lefkada hand stitching technique.