Pylaros, the heart of the island!

Ideal location to explore the island from north to south

Kefalonia is the biggest of the Ionian islands, so exploring it, may end up to a tiring adventure. This site is based on the idea that in order to enjoy relaxing holidays and make the most of your stay, the best place to look for accommodation would be at the heart of Kefalonia, that is mainly the region of Pylaros (and limited units in Sami). That is why this site promotes mainly accommodation and services of this area and calculates distances and plans routes using Pylaros as the base of exploration of the rest of Kefalonia.

Once you use this area as a base you will need the most 1,5 h drive (approx 45km) to reach the furthest attraction at either north or south. At the same time most of the best sightseeings and beaches of the island are located within a 20min drive (Myrtos and Antisamos beaches, Assos and Agia Efimia villages, Drogarati Cave, Karavomilos and Melissani Lakes and so many more). The area, mainly Agia Efimia and Sami offer all the necessary services for the guests including the health centre at Sami, boat/car/bike/scooter rental, ATMs, pharmacies, markets, beauty salon & spa, Agia Efimia’s anchorage, a variety of accommodation from low budget to 5 star, as well as a wide selection of activities. Agia Efimia is a picturesque sheltered port where you can choose from a selection of family runned tavernas with good food or/and just drink a coffee or relax with a drink at one of its waterfront cafes and bars.

For those seeking detailed info here is a little bit of geography and history of the area:

Pylaros is located in the north-central part of the island.
It has a land area of 81.112 km² and a population of 1,391 inhabitants (2011 census).

In the north Pylaros borders on the former municipal unit of Erissos and on the border lies Kalo Mountain (901m).

In the south it borders on the former municipal units of Argostoli and Sami, and on the border lies the mountain Agia Dynati (1131m).

Pylaros forms a valley between the two mountains and through it flows the river Xeropotamos. 

To the east lies the bay of Agia Efimia and to the west it borders on the peninsula of Paliki.

At the western frontier is the mountain of Falari and the Gulf of Myrtos.

Pylaros’s largest town is Agia Efimia and consists of the following 23 villages:3 villages:

Makriotika, Divarata, Bekatorata, Antipata, Logarata, Loukata, Drakata, Markata, Vasilopoulata,  Potamianata, Lekatsata, Anomeria, Krini, Hamolakkos, Xeropotamos, Drakopoulata, Feredinata,  Tarkasata, Georgakata, Karousata, Dendrinata, Raftopoulata, Siniori (Divarata).

The economy of the municipality is based on tourism and dairy farming. In the tablelands of Kalon Oros (Good Mountain) and Agia Dynati (Falari) the main industry is livestock-breeding and cheese-making. In the previous decades, many of the inhabitants of Pylaros were cheese-makers and they travelled to Italy and Balkans to make cheese. It is said that in Falari they produce the best Greek Feta cheese.

Agriculture is well-developed in regions next to Agia Efimia but tourism is the most important source of income. In the summer, the region bursts from tourists from all over the world, looking for a place to enjoy their holidays and relax.  In the 19th century, many Pylarians were sailors, shipowners and merchants involved in the trades, travelling all over the Mediterranean and the Black Sea.
Pylaros has had a long and significant history and even the name is ancient. It is thought that the name originates from the ancient words πύλη (“gate”) and άρω (“pick up”) —that is to say “pick up the gates”, because Pylaros is between two “gates”: the bays of Agia Efimia and Myrtos. The first historical indications we have, are from the Mycenaean age. Mycenaean vases and huge walls from ancient fortifications have been discovered in Karousata, Logarata and Agia Efimia.

According to a theory there was a sanctuary at Agia Dynati that, because of its shape (it resembles a rock covered with swaddling-clothes) was considered to be the rock that Rea gave Cronus to eat in order to prevent him from eating her child, Zeus. When Zeus gained power, he obliged Cronus to throw the rock in the site of Agia Dynati. At ancient times, Pylaros must have been inhabited, but remains haven’t been discovered yet.

At Roman times, Pylaros was a region for amusement of Roman officials, which is proved by a Roman villa discovered in Agia Efimia. At Byzantine times, Pylaros belonged to the “Thema of Kefalonia”, one of the prefectures of the Byzantine Empire. The most ancient monastery in Pylaros, the Monastery of Mother of God- Themata  (from the word “Thema”)  may have been built during those years.

The time of Venetian occupation, probably the establishment of the first modern villages took place (Anomeria, Markata, Karousata, Antypata), and some families (Karousoi, Antypes) have been registered to the “Libro d’ Oro”. Almost all villages took their names from the families staying there. During the time of British occupation, Pylaros was a centre of great rebellions against the British.

During World War II, Pylarians participated in the Greek-Italian war of 1940, the National Resistance and the Greek Civil War. At Pylaros, as all over Kefalonia, many Italians from the 33 Infantry Division Acqui were massacred by the Germans at the famous “Massacre of the Division Acqui”, known by the film “Captain Corellis ‘s Mandolin”. Many Italians were murdered at the site “Madria tou Lala” at Falari.

During the Greek Civil War, some Pylarians were members of the communist Democratic Army of Greece and fought against the National Army. Two of the last captains of the Democratic Army, Matthaios Kouloubis and Ilias Kougianos, who were murdered at September 1949, were Pylarians. (Kefalonia΄s Democratic Army was the last team of communist soldiers in action until December 1949).
Two more important men were, Marinos Antypas (1873–1907) and Evangelos Potamianos. Marinos Antypas was one of the first Greek Socialists. He started off in Kefalonia, but later moved to Thessaly where he incited farmers against their landowners, which resulted in his murder in 1907. His example helped inspire the Great Agrarian Revolution at Kileler in 1910. Evangelοs Potamianos was fighter in the Greek Revolution of 1821.

Info based on Wikipedia

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Pylaros, the heart of the island!