The church of Agios Ioannis Antzoussis is the oldest church of the island and it is situated 3 km west of the town of Lefkada. According to religious folklore, while on his way to Rome, the Apostle Paul stopped here to spread the word of Christianity. At first, the church was built on a rock, but later the Franks, the ones who also named the church built a new church, the one standing here today.
At the Kaligoni location, 6 km southeast
of Lefkada, there are the ruins of the ancient city Nirikos. It was the first capital of the island from the 2nd
Excavations have shown that ancient Nirikos was a big city of significant economic growth. It was built on
a site of great strategic importance, opposite the coasts of the mainland of Greece. In the 18th century it was
called "Amaxiki" (carriage way) because of the road which connected it to the western port, Iraion.
A new city, Lefkas, was later built on that site. It became the island's capital until the 13th century BC
when it was abandoned. Today there are only parts of fortification walls and their towers, ruins of a pre- Roman
theater, cisterns, an aqueduct, and parts of an ancient cemetery. They were brought to light by the archaeologist
The archaeological museum of Lefkada includes exhibits from the excavations of the famous archaeologist, Dorpfeld, in Nidri, Evgiros, Kariotes and other parts of the island. The collection includes findings dating from the Proto-Hellemic period to the Roman era, including ceramics, pots, statues, signs, ecclesiastic pieces and photographs from the excavations in Nidri.
Christou Pandokratora is situated in the town of Lefkada. It was built in 1684 by the Venetians as a reminder of their victory against the Turks, which was the first step in their conquering the island.
The church once belonged to the Valaoritis family, and in the garden stands the grave of the great Greek poet Aristotelis Valaoritis. Many other well known people are buried here, such as D. and P. Peristopoulos, Al. Halkiopoulos and An. Stavros.
Inside the church, one can admire the episcopian throne, the beautiful wood-carved icon stand (created in 1860) and the hieroglyphics drawn by Sp. Vendouras and Dion. Kallivokas.
The cape of Lefkata is situated at the most southern part of Lefkada, and it offers a majestic view. It was named after a tall rock, surrounded by smaller rocks. This rock was called "Lefkatas" in the ancient years, and it is said to be the "white rock" which Homer mentions. The name "Doukato" was given by the Venetians. Originally, sacrifices to the gods and the spirits of the Rough Sea took place hear. Later (400 BC) on the current location of the beacon, stood the temple of Delfinos (Apollo Lefkata) of which there are no ruins. According to tradition, the convicts were forced to fall from the tallest rock (72 m.) and, in order to lessen the consequences of the fall, they tied feathers of birds around their bodies, while there were boats standing by to collect any survivors. In the case of a convict surviving the fall, he was forgiven and granted life.
According to legend, those who could not suffer the torture of love committed suicide here. The first to do this was Venus, who did not recover the loss of her beloved Adonis. Her act was repeated by Sappho, the great poetess, for her love of Phaethon. This is the reason why the location was named "The jump of Sappho" and "Cape of the lady". The legend marks the historical time of the place, and it was mentioned by the poet, Byron, in 1812.
The small museum of Gramophones is situated in the town of Lefkada. Among the various exhibits are jewels, coins, embroidery, guns, pictures, photographs of the old town, books and as its name indicates, gramophones and musical instruments.
The cave of Papanikolis is situated 12 nautical miles southeast of Lefkada, on the islet of Meganissi. The cave was named after the submarine "Papanikolis" which hid there in April 1941, during World War II, in order to attack the Germans. Today, small boats seek refuge here from poor weather. The cave's entrance is enormous, with a height of approximately 30 m, while its total surface area is 3,800 square meters. On the cave's walls there are columns and stalactites, and the water's colours vary impressively.
The castle of Agia Mavra is situated near the channel, 1.2 km outside Hora, and is the island's link with Sterea Hellas. The area was named Castle of Agia Mavra in Medieval years, and for a period of time the name applied to the whole island. The original building was constructed by the Sicilian, Ioannis Orsini, in 1300. It was built to protect the new capital of the island, which was transferred here from the town of Kaligoni.
In the Castle, one can admire the church of Agia Mavra.
According to tradition, the church was built in the 15th century by Helen Palaiologina who, persecuted in
Constantinople, came to the island for the wedding of her daughter to the Count of Lefkada. Helen built this church in honour of Agia Mavra who protected her from the storm. Despite the tradition, historical sources mention the existence of Agia Mavra long before the 15th century, thus the historians claim that the island was named by the French knights of Duke Walter B' around 1330, in honour of their country Agia Mavra (Sainte Maure). After the island's occupation by the Turks in 1479, the church became a mosque.
In 1485, Sultan Bagiazit ordered the construction of an aqueduct and a bridge joining the city with the castle. Today, one can only see the ruins of these constructions. In 1500, the Venetians restored the Castle, and in 1684, Morosini placed a lion, the symbol of Venice, over the gate. Apart from the church of Agia Mavra, the Castle housed the church of Latin Pandokrator and other buildings such as water tanks, three schools, barracks, hospitals, storage rooms and the head-office of the politicians.
A fire in 1888 caused the destruction of the castle. After its renovation, it was used as barracks and later as a refuge camp, while, during World War II, the Castle suffered Italian attacks and bombardments. On its exterior, one can still see a few canons, as most of them were removed in 1864, after the union of the Ionian Islands with the rest of Greece.
Today the castle is open to tourists and houses many cultural events during the summer.
The church of the Presentation of Virgin Mary stands in the center of the town of Lefkada. It was built in 1720, during the Venetian domination. Later, at the end of the 18th century, it was renovated to its present form. Inside, there are notable hagiographies
by Lefkadian artists from the beginning of the 19th century. One can also admire the baroque screen with the depiction of the Second Coming on its gable.
The monastery of Panagia Faneromeni, the most significant religious monument on the island, stands 2 km east of the capital outside the village of Frynio. It is believed to have been built on the site of an ancient sanctuary for Hera or Artemis. According to tradition, the apostle Paul taught there. Until 1760, it was privately owned. Its church was built in 1634. In 1763 it was burned by the Venetians, only to be burned again this time to ashes, in 1886. It was transferred some kilometres southwest a year later.
In its precinct stands the beautiful chapel of the apostles Peter and Paul. Inside, one can admire the screen created by the well-known artist Efstathios Prosalendis, and the notable icon of the Virgin with its valuable offerings. In 1889 the relics of St Arsenios Kappadokis were transported here.
The area around the monastery is full of pine trees planted by the diocese from 1940 - 1970. During that time, the cistern, the cells, and the bell-tower were built. The singularity of the landscape and its religious piety attracts many visitors, especially in the summer months.