The museums of Kefalonia offer a good acquaintance with the local culture.
The Archaeological Museum of Argostoli in three rooms hosts a remarkable exhibition with findings from the island dating from the Paleolithic to the Late Roman Age.
The Historical and Folklore Museum housed in the Korgialenio Library in Argostoli offers a special journey into the tradition, folklore and culture of urban and rural life, from the period of Venetian rule until 1953. The exhibition includes historical documents, portraits, collections of personal items historical figures, utensils of everyday life, maps and drawings of historical monuments, historical photographs and works of ecclesiastical art, etc.
The Museum of Natural History with the rich collection of exhibits from the flora and fauna of Kefalonia and Ithaca in Davgata offers a better acquaintance with the natural wealth of the island. Also, the Environmental Museum in the old primary school in Fiskardo, with a modern concept, exhibits findings that highlight the natural and underwater wealth of Kefalonia.
In Argostoli you can see one of the most important and historical monuments of Kefalonia, the stone bridge of Drapanos (or De Bosset bridge) with its characteristic arches. With a length of 690 meters it is the longest stone bridge over the sea in Europe. It connects the town of Argostoli with the opposite shore, thereby separating the port area from the Koutavos lagoon.
Currently the bridge is a pedestrian area. Until fifteen years ago, it was used by cars and even trucks, with the result that cars regularly fell into the sea, due to the narrowness of the bridge!
Charles Philippe De Bosset, the Resident of Kefalonia, who realized its necessity since Argostoli was virtually cut of from most of the island, built the original wooden bridge in 1813 during the British occupation. People from many parts of the island could only reach the town by small boats or by travelling right around the Koutavos lagoon, which was then a dangerous swamp and source of malaria.
The town council objected to the ambitious plan of building the bridge, partly because of the cost but also because it would expose the inhabitants to the risk of raids by bandits from the villages across the bay. However, De Bosset was not a man to be trifled with and the bridge was built in two weeks! The townspeople were delighted and the opposition abated. Thereupon De Bosset immediately laid the foundations of the stone bridge, which was completed by Charles Napier, De Bosset’s successor.
The obelisk in the sea about halfway along has an inscription commemorating De Bosset as the initiator of the project and giving the date of construction (1813).
One of the main attractions and trademarks of Argostoli is the lighthouse of Saint Theodore which is located on a man-made peninsula close to the Argostoli village. It is the most romantic spot in Kefalonia and it is highly recommended for taking photographs.
It is a unique circular structure, based on 20 white Doric architectural style columns and its tower is 8 m tall. It was built when Charles Napier was governor of Kefalonia, in 1928. Destroyed by the earthquake, it was rebuilt in 1964 according to its original architectural design, by Takis Pavlatos, a local architect.
It offers not only a guiding light for the incoming and outgoing ships, but also a classical, romantic spot for locals and visitors.
The most important vaulted Mycenaean tomb of Kefalonia is located at Brouzi in Tzanata of Poros. Archaeologist Lazaros Kolonas discovered this monument in the early 1990s. The tomb is almost 4 meters high and almost 7 meters in diameter.
The objects revealed by the archeological research testify to wealth and apparently belonged to nobles and lords who are buried here. It is estimated that hundreds of burials took place here, between 1400 and 1000 BC. as in the Mycenaean era, each vaulted tomb was used for more than one dead. The offerings of the Mycenaean vaulted tomb of Tzanata and the building itself, lead to the conclusion that there was a prosperous Mycenaean center in the area. Many archaeologists and researchers associate or even identify this center with Homeric Ithaca.
The Mycenaean vaulted tomb of Tzanaton had already been looted in antiquity. During the Venetian occupation in Kefalonia, as it seems, part of the dome collapsed, while then the tomb was used as accommodation.
The finds, including jewelry, seal stones, clay figurines, small artefacts, a small gold votive double ax, gilded bull horns and much more, are on display today at the Archaeological Museum of Argostoli.
The large Mycenaean (approx. 1390-1060 π.Χ) cemetery at Mazarakata, about 500 m southeast of the village, was discovered when a new road was being constructed during De Bosset’s years as Resident of Kefalonia (1810-1814) during the English occupation. De Bosset, who was of Swiss origin, excavated the site and transferred a number of vases that were found to the Neuchâtel Museum in Switzerland where they still are.
Almost a century later excavations were continued by the Kefalonian archaeologist Panayotis Kavvadias and again by Prof. Marinatos in 1951. A total of 17 chamber tombs were excavated and a great number of Mycenaean vases and small artefacts were brought to light of which some are on display in the Argostoli Archaeological Museum and another collection in the National Archaeological Museum in Athens.
Until today it is the largest Mycenaean cemetery of the island with the most representative chamber tombs in the entire Ionian area. The tombs are underground, carved into the natural rock (limestone), and are formed by the corridor, the entrance and the chamber. The dimensions of the chambers vary. Some are small (1.40 m x1.90 m) with a few burials and others larger (5.50 m x 4.80 m) with more burials.
The cemetery is signposted and is located along the road that connects the outskirts of Argostoli with Keramies and Pessada. It is wheelchair accessible.
The ancient temple of Skala in Kefalonia is of Doric style. It functioned dates back to the Archaic Period, end of the 6th century BC. – beginning of the 5th, elements that make it unique in Kefalonia. It belonged to the ancient city-state of Pronni. It is located on the provincial road Skala – Poros, by the sea and near the Roman villa of Skala, at Agios Georgios.
The ancient temple of Skala was first explored in 1960 by archaeologist Spyridon Marinatos and is believed to have belonged to a larger sanctuary surrounded by a precinct. Pottery found at the point in the sea, leads archaeologists to the conclusion that it was a place of worship for sailors who passed from here on their way to the West. The excavation has remained unfinished to this day, but the monument is open to the public and admission is free.
According to archaeologists, the archaic temple of Skala consisted of a foreground in representation, an elongated nave and a shallow backward representation in representation, while most likely it originally had a wing. The findings of the excavations are not enough to satisfactorily represent its original form, while building material from the archaic temple of Skala has been used on the walls and the Holy Table of the adjacent chapel of Agios Georgios.
The Roman villa of Skala is considered rural and was discovered by archaeologists in 1957.
It is today the most important monument of Roman times in Kefalonia and dates back to the 2nd century AD. It is located in the village of Skala, at Miabeli (Agios Athanasios) near the sea and very close to the archaic temple of Skala.To this day, six spaces are preserved and have come to light, among them the open courtyard of the Roman villa Skala. Four of the other spaces have mosaic floors, colorful, decorated with geometric patterns of special art.
According to archaeologists, the Roman mansion of Skala also included baths with incinerators, probably Nymphaeum, in the eastern part, where in 1822 a large reservoir was built. The investigations also indicated that in the southern part of the villa, where the main entrance was located, the riverbed of a torrent passed, which means that the entrance was made through a wooden bridge.
A fire seems to have destroyed the Roman villa of Skala in the 4th century AD. A few centuries later, during the Early Christian period, a Christian church was built on a part of it, which operated until the 9th or 10th century. and resulted in the cutting of its walls extending to the east.The Roman villa of Skala was discovered in 1957 by excavations by V. Kallipolitis.
At a crossing after the village of Havriata, on a country lane that looks a lot like tundra with no trees, only stones, shrub and a constant wind, one can find a historical, well-designed lighthouse of international value. It is located near Cape Gerogompos.
It was manufactured in 1907 by British engineers and played an important role especially during the Second World War. It was destroyed by the German troops at their retirement from the island and was rebuilt in 1947. The altitude of the tower is 13 meters and it has 58-metre radius of light.
It used to belong to the Greek Navy and access to its premises was prohibited but nowadays it operates automatically.
West of Vallianos Square is the Napier Garden, reminnants of the years of the English governor of Kefalonia, Charles James Napier, who served in Kefalonia from 1822 to 1830 during the British occupation of the island. The park was originally designed and built by Napier himself for his children to play in.
The Napier Garden is small, but with its cobbled paths, elegant pavilion and variety of trees, it offers a relaxing moment for every visitor. Inside the Garden there is a monument, work of the Kefalonian sculptor G. Bonanos, erected in 1927 and dedicated to the Kefalonian war casualties of the period 1912- 1922.