Paxi Ionian Islands
This little inexperienced island seven miles off the coast of Corfu island conquers its guests from the primary second they step ashore. The towering olive trees which cowl virtually all its floor, its idyllic little coves and the massive rocks with their sea-caves all impress themselves on the mind. All these options are to be present in an space of lower than 25 sq. kilometers. The bottom slopes gently as much as the west, reaching an altitude of solely 250 metres – Ayios Isavros, the island’s stone island jacket shiny fabric tallest ‘mountain’. The inhabitants of Paxi, who quantity about 2,500, are engaged principally in growing olives, fishing and tourism. The olive oil which they produce is amongst the best in Greece and, together with tourism, is the islanders’ primary supply of earnings.
Gaios, the island’s harbour, is also its capital. The name comes from St Gaius, who brought Christianity to Paxi and who in line with tradition additionally died right here. His reminiscence is preserved in a tomb behind the altar within the church of the Holy Apostles, which for a lot of centuries now has been claimed as that of the apostle Gaius. An old tradition says that earth from the tomb was utilized by the locals as a cure for snake-chunk. The church’s feast day is on 5 November, which is the saint’s day. Crucial festival on Paxi is the procession on 29 June, in reminiscence of Saints-Peter and Paul, when the church of the Holy Apostles and the tomb of Saint Gaius are also revered.
The first thing the customer sees on getting into Gaios harbour is the Panayia islet. On the islet stand a lighthouse and a monastery. On 15 August, the feast of the Dormition of the Virgin, there’s a customized of providing pilgrims boiled meat. The coasts of Albania and Corfu will be seen from the lighthouse. The islet of Panayia has a rocky coastline with beaches which are very clear and good for swimming.
The islet of Ayios Nikolaos is sort of a continuation of the Panayia islet. This islet takes its title from the chapel of St Nicholas which stands on it, within the foreground. There can also be a ruined windmill on Ayios Nikolaos, and the islet is topped with a castle. The partitions of the castle are ruinous right now, however there’s a really superb view of the harbour from it.
The northern a part of the harbour is named Manesko and that is the place the bigger vessels dock. The southern a part of the harbour is appropriate just for fishing-boats.
On the entrance to Manesko is a ruined however magnificent mansion. Gaios harbour is protected from all of the winds, and since it’s open at each ends the water is continually in movement; consequently, the harbour is at all times clear and the water is cool.
Strolling south east from Gaios, we quickly come to the primary municipal seaside, referred to as Yannas.
Additional alongside the street we will see the deeply indented and thickly wooded coastline, and we finally come to Mongonisi.
Mongonisi is a vacationer resort with a number of vary of services. Guests might discover fascinating folklore occasions right here. To the south of Gaios, we journey via the hinterland of the island and attain the village of Makratika. There are two attention-grabbing churches within the village, that of the Pantokrator, inbuilt 1739, and that of All Saints, inbuilt 1700 and renovated in 1885.
As we go away the village -in a westerly route- we move the ruins of the previous Lessanitis windmill. Behind that is the spot often known as Mousmoulis, which has a excellent view. This precipice has what is maybe the island’s best view, out across the broad ocean to Italy within the west and Africa within the south.
Nonetheless additional south, the street leads right down to a spot the place the rocks type a pure arch by way of which the water flows. That is the realm often known as Tripitos.
From Gaios, a surfaced highway crosses the island on a north-south axis, passing via a seemingly infinite forest of olive timber. There are stated to be 300,000 olive timber on the island.
Our route into the hinterland of the island brings us by means of quite a few small villages which take their names from the families which reside there: Bogdanatika from the Bogdanos household, Vlachopoulatika from the Vlachopoulos household, and so forth.
As we go away Gaios to the west, simply earlier than the sharp bend by the soccer pitch, there’s a pure water tank within the rock which fills solely from the channels which lead to it.
From here, the view of the olive forest which spreads out in entrance of the visitor is very good. On clear days, Lefkada will be seen, with Ithaca and Cephalonia within the background.
To the proper of the street after the sharp bend is the church of St Charalambos, patron saint of the island. We proceed to the very best point on the island, Ayios Isavros hill. The altitude at this level is 250 metres. The hill takes its identify from the church of St Isavros which stands on the summit, a easy constructing subsequent to the phone firm tower.
We then descend to the village of Fountana, which takes its name from the fountain within the centre of the village. Right now the spring has run dry, however the identify stays.
The large aircraft tree subsequent to the church of Our Lady ‘Vlacherna’ is the village’s different primary feature.
To the north of Fountana is Longos. The port of Longos took its name from a phrase which means forest, due to the dense vegetation which is a characteristic of the realm. The water in Longos harbour is shallow, and huge vessels can not moor right here. To the south east are the beaches of Levrechi, Marmari, Kipos and Kipadi. All these beaches are good for bathing, wind-surfing and even camping. To the north west are the beaches of Fikia and Glyfada, that are still virgin territory.
An previous ruined mill is testimony to the historical past of Longos. The church of St. Nicholas within the centre of the village stands stone island jacket shiny fabric behind a small platform from which there is an excellent view of the harbour. St Nicholas, the patron saint of seafarers, is an apparent favorite for the villagers of Longos, lots of whom are employed at sea.
The most important household in Longos is named Anemoyannis. The older inhabitants say that the title derives from the truth that the founding father of the household was introduced by the wind (‘anemos’) to this place. Right this moment, the Anemoyannis household is one in every of the most important on Paxi.
One other fascinating construction on this village is the Tzilios water-tank, which bears an inscription testifying to its date of constructing (1837) to the suitable and left of the entrance. For the reason that tank was constructed by the British, the inscription is in Greek and English. There may be a big stone-flagged sq.the center of which slopes barely inwards. Subsequent to the neighborhood water tank is the church of St Kyriaki.
Roughly half-method alongside the street from Gaios to Lakka is the village of Magazia (‘retailers’), which takes its title from the wine-outlets which used to face within the village sq..
Nearly in the course of the village is the church of the Archangels, which has a big wall-painting of Our Lady above the altar.
On the left as we enter Magazia is a observe which results in the western facet of the island. This street ends on the impressing Erimitis precipice, with its white rocks. The precipice took its identify (‘of the hermit’) from a monk who used to dwell there, surviving on the roots of plants he picked on the rock-face.
We descend previous the church of the Holy Apostles to a recent-water spring working into the sea. The angle formed the place the rocks finish is named Pounta and the entire space is called Boikatika.
A tall rock which emerges from the sea here, in a conical shape, is all the time surrounded by the sea-gulls which have their nests there. Within the summer time, there are swallows from Africa as properly.
On the left as we go away Magazia is a observe main north to a different equally high-quality and wild spot on the west coast of the island. This is known as Kastanida, and it has dizzy cliffs.
A monitor leads right down to the sea, the place somewhat to the north we will see a rock within the form of a submarine. Behind it is sea-cave the place the Greek submarines used to cover through the Second World Conflict.
Lakka stands on the northernmost tip of the island. Earlier than we come to the steep hill down into the village, we will see an abandoned quarry on the hillside going through us. At about this level is the brand new church of St Nicholas. It is a straightforward constructing with an arched door and home windows. Beneath it we are able to see the outdated ruined windmill of Lakka.
The street now runs downhill and handed a neighborhood water-tank, one other construction erected by the British. Right here there’s a magical and magnificent view of Corfu and the mountains and coastline of Albania.
Lakka took its identify (‘pit’) from its pure place: the village is surrounded by hills, and the homes stand at exactly sea degree. The primary constructing we come to as we enter the village is the church of St Andrew, which is the island’s oldest (inbuilt 1686).
The view from the lighthouse at Lakka is very good. The primary lighthouse, the ruins of which may nonetheless be seen immediately, was in-built 1832 and was accompanied by a chapel to St. Nicholas, Stone Island now abandoned. The view of the Ionian Sea from the lighthouse on the western facet of the bay and of the precipice crowned with bushes is particularly impressive.
From the lighthouse, a footpath results in the door of an outdated smash: known as ‘Ellinospito’ (‘the Greek home’) by the locals, it was a kind of refuge and fortress, and it stands beside an almost impassable hollow. The inhabitants of Lakka -and certainly of the whole island- used to take refuge there when pirates and Turks got here to name.
We return, stopping for a second on the wonderful church of the Presentation. From the belfry there’s an unforgettable view of Lakka. The church was in-built 1774 and has Renaissance features.