The ancient sources call Leucas a Corinthian colony, perhaps with a Corcyraen participation. Lefkada is a Greek island in the Ionian Sea on the west coast of Greece, connected to the mainland by a long causeway and floating bridge. Some scholars suggest that Lefkada was Homer's Ithaca, and the palace of Odysseus was located west of Nydri on the south coast of the island.
The area of Apollonia's municipality had been inhabited at the very early days, as this is proved by some limited findings of Paleolithic and Neolithic period (3.500 BC) which were discovered from the excavations of the archaeologist Wilhelm Dorpfeld. In the valley of Vassiliki, the Archaelogical Service has discovered ancient archaeological ruins (ruins of towers), which probably belong to an ancient town and to the places of Marmara, Pyrgi, Klismatia, Marantochori. To the Cape of Doukato or Lefkata construction ruins and architectural parts Apollo Lefkata’s temple are located. This sanctuary was widely famous in the ancient world.
Every year, Hellenic festivals have been taking place to the honour of Apollo, who was the protector of the marines and the doctor of body and soul. For this reason, ancients believed that, if you jump off the rocks, your soul would get free from the weight of passions and sins. In this place, the female poet Sappho allegedly leapt to her death from the 30 meters high cliffs. There is also an ancient wall and ruins of the ancient city “Nirikos”. Two km outside and east of the town, passing through the olive grove, one can reach Kalligoni. The area has been declared an archeological site and it embodies the ruins of the surrounding settlement of Ancient Lefkada, which are dated from Archaic to Roman times, two cemeteries of the ancient town, monuments, construction ruins, like graves, farmhouses and harbor facilities composing an integral part of the protected monumental place of the ancient town abandoned around 1300.
The caste of Aghia Mavra is located at the entrance of the island. It is one of the most imposing medieval buildings of Greece, representing the fortification art of this period. It was built around 1300 from a Frank leader, Ioannis Orsini, when he took Lefkada as a wedding gift for his wedding with the daughter of Epirus Bishop Nikiforos A. The castle was protecting the capital of the island, as it was the most important defensive armoring against Pirates and other enemies, from the first decade of 14th century since 1684. In 1487, it was overtaken by Turks, who built a large arch shaped bridge with 360 rooms, which crossed the lagoon from the coast to Kalkani, with pipes of a water tower. This project was destroyed by the earthquakes. Some ruins are still preserved in the lagoon.
The Lefkada Archaeological Museum is housed in the cultural center of the Borough of Lefkada (A. Sikelianou & N. Svoronou street). The findings exhibited cover a period of time, beginning in the middle of the Paleolithic times (200.000 - 35.000 π.Χ.) until the later Roman times. In a separate room at the museum, the findings of German archaeologist Wilhelm Dorpfeld are exhibited. He is the one who developed the theory that Lefkada is Homer’s Ithaca. The museum exhibits tools, ceramic and copper jewellery and gems of ancient tombs, mostly from the Ancient city of Nirikos, Nydri, Hoirospilia, Evgiros and the cave in Fryni.
The “Pantazis Kontomixis” Folkloric Museum of the “Orpheus” Cultural Group is housed in the old town of Lefkada. It was founded in 1937 and includes many significant and rare exhibits, a rich collection of objects from the everyday life and business of the Lefkadite people. The Folkloric Museum of Lefkadite Canvas Works” Maria koutsohero”, in Karya village is in a small private museum in Karya Village. Among the traditional exhibit the visitor may discover the life and character, the persistence, patience and genius of the Lefkadite people, living in the highlands under rough conditions and managing to create a folkloric culture.
There is also the museum of Angelos Sikelianos. In the two-storied house where Angelos Sikelianos was born and lived in Lefkada, it became possible to develop the vision and the act of the poet in a jewellery museum for an intellectual of worldview, a national pioneer, a real thinker, a politically present litterateur and a great lyric poet.
The island of Lefkas or Lefkada or Lefkadia, at the time of Homer was known as the Niricos, as its capital was called. According to a prevailing view, the island owes its name to the steep white cliffs on its southernmost cape. Here is where legend states the poetess Sappho took her own life because her thwarted love for Phaon. The first traces of life on the island date to 8000 years before the birth of Christ, the Palaeolithic era.
The German archaeologist Wilhelm Doerpfeld, an assistant to Heinrich Schliemann who discovered Troy and Mycenae, was the one who supported the theory that Lefkada is Homer’s Ithaca. In his excavations, in Nydri, he brought to light important findings from the Copper Age (about 2000 B.C.). The ancient Nikeos of the 7th century B.C., in which Kalligion at the “Koulmos” site was discovered, was the first capital of the island and was surrounded by a large wall. A small section of it, survives today. Moreover, the island was connected with Corinth and followed by participating in all great events of the ancient era.
The Ionian Islands came to the Venetians in 1293. Afterwards, in 1300, the Castle of Aghia Mavra was built, where the capital was transferred. There follows a period that Venetians and Turks succeed each other, until 1503, when Lefkada was given with a treaty to the Turks. In 1684, was again occupied by Venetian Francis Morosini. The capital transferred out of the castle to its present location, called Amaksiki. People lost control of the harbor and trade from the Venetians. Separated from the rest of Greece and the Venetians and indifferent to develop a social and cultural background as Zakynthos and Corfu did, Lefkada struggled to create its own spiritual movement. Nevertheless, the Venetians organized public life, established courts and placed the foundations for the Administrative Services. In addition, there was an upcoming period of constant changes:
• Venetian Rule: 1684 – 1797
• Democratic French: 1797 – 1798
• Russian Turks: 1798 – 1800
• Eptanisa State: 1800 – 1807
• Imperial French: 1807 – 1810
• English protection: 1810 – 1864
• Union with Greece on May 21, 1864. Lefkada and other Ionian islands become part of the Greek State.
Ancient Oiniades was one of the most important towns of ancient Akarnania. According to some historians the city was founded in 6th century BC by the Corinthians. It flourished until the Hellenistic years. The ancient city of Oiniades was built on the north shore of the Acheloos River and 4 km west of the current village of Katochi. It held a strategic position from which both the entrance to the Patraikos Gulf and the motorway between Akarnania and the islands of Lefkada, Ithaca and Kefallonia were controlled. At the same time, it was situated near the estuary of Acheloos and therefore in a position suitable for harbour construction and commercial activity.
The impressive city walls are well preserved. More specifically the fortification towers over an oak-covered hill, known as the Tricarch, are dated at least since the 15th century. Its preservation is impressive and is one of the most characteristic examples of ancient fortification art. At the top of the hill is the Acropolis with a separate enclosure. The walls, about 2,60 m, with a maximum preserved height of 6 m and about 6,5 perimeter, are built along their length along the polygonal system. A separate fortification encompasses its harbor and its harbors, the so-called "fortification or acropolis of the harbour". It includes twelve gates and pillars of different types, with the most remarkable type of gate.
As for the towers, others were built in the polygonal system and others in the pseudo-isodomous table-shaped structure. This element of the coexistence of a polygonal wall with towers of polygonal and pseudo-isodomous bank-shaped walls is found in most of the fortifications of Akarnania. Within the fortification, the public buildings of the Agora (boulevard, gallery, building with houses, temple, Hero) are now visible, which have been investigated in recent years by El. Serbeti, Professor of the University of Athens, the so-called "Building on the Hill", excavated by the American archaeologist B. Powell at the beginning of the last century (1900-1901), the bath of the end of the Hellenistic period, as well as the theatre. Outside the walls, graves have been excavated from the eastern cemetery of the city. The only monument of the area and one of the most imposing of antiquity, due to its very good preservation, are the jungles or the shipyards. The junipers are located at the southwest end of the fortification of the harbour, dominated by the Red Tower, a preserved 10,90 m., And the oblique arched gate, the so-called "gates" (central photography), and the ruins of a second large size and oblique to the tower top that protects it.
Furthermore, there is a large ancient theatre. The construction of it is dated in three periods. First, in the 4th century, was first built by the Athenians who occupied the city. Then, in the 3rd century, repairs were made, possibly by Macedonian Philip II. Later, 167 B.C. the Romans occupy the city and engage in small-scale modifications, which are not visible today. It is a good theatre, carved into the porous limestone rock of the slope. Unfortunately, the deterioration of the rock over the centuries has destroyed part of the pitches. It is considered to be a relatively large theatre, with 23 series of seats. Some stones in the lower row of seats have inscribed inscriptions with an ancient Greek script that has been read. The orchestra is particularly large with a radius as the outer circumference of the plates with 7,65 m. The scene behind the scenes formed a front of 27,70 m. Segments of shelves found around it are Ionic. The scene as it appeared was not elevated but terrestrial and thus provides a perfect view of the orchestra.
The Theatre of Oiniades is built near the Agora in a position that offers stunning views of the surrounding lowlands, the old Acheloos river bed and the coastal areas. The existence of the theatre confirms the acme of this city. The hollow of the theatre, carved in the gray local limestone of the area, is larger than a semicircle and consists of twenty-seven rows of seats, of which only ten are preserved (initially it should have been twenty-nine or thirty). The viewers approached their positions through twelve climbs (now only nine are visible), dividing the hollow into eleven non-friezes. The theatre has very good acoustics and capacity that touches 5.500 viewers. The theatre recognises two building phases, mainly related to reconstructions of the stage building.
The shipyard is a special monument of the area and one of the most imposing of antiquity because of its very good preservation. Shipyards were destined to haul the ships inside, repair and stay for a certain amount of winter. The junipers are located at the southwest end of the fortification of the harbour, dominated by the Red Tower, the 10,90 m., And the oblique arched gate, the so-called "gates", as well as the ruins of a second, also large and oblique in tower tower that protects it. It is a roofed building with a plan view of the 41 m. X 47 m., whose eastern side, about 11 m. Approx., Is almost entirely carved vertically on the natural rock. On the natural rock is also carved the floor. The interior of the building divided symmetrically five columns of seventeen stranded columns. The openings between the colonnades covered the long, elongated roofs with laconic tile. Between the colonnades six sixteenth "aisles" were developed with carved horseshoes and uphill to the depths of the newcomer floors. It is for the ramps in which the ships were dragged into the halls. On the eastern side of the monument there were eleven altogether rectangular pseudo-projections (about 7 m.), which formed twelve chambers, carved vertically on the rock. The piles were used to support, anchor and seal the roof of the monument on this side. The monument, dating back to the 4 century BC, has many architectural elements related to the jetties of Zea's harbour in Piraeus.