Sights and Museums of Kythira

myrtidiotissa-monastery

Monastery of Myrtidiotissa

In the western part of Kythira, hidden between the pine trees, lies the Monastery of the Virgin Myrtidiotissa (“of the Myrtle Tree”), who is considered the patroness of Kythera. A visit to the miraculous icon of the Virgin is an experience that no visitor should miss out on.

katouni-bridge

Bridge of Katouni

Behind the central town of Livadi lies the impressive stone bridge of Katouni. Commissioned during the British occupation by the colonel Macfell, this is the first and largest stone bridge in Greece still functional today. Rumour has it that the bridge was built for the sake of Macfell’s mistress; while the colonel lived in Katouni, she lived in the opposite village of Livadi. In order for the lovers to meet more easily, the English colonel ordered a bridge to be built across the dividing valley. Resting on 13 arches, the bridge measures 110m in total length, with a height of 15m and width of 6m. Construction started in 1821 and was completed in 1826 by forced labour requisition and transportation methods used by the English.

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Water Mills of Mylopotamos

For many visitors, the enchanting settlement of Mylopotamos is a small slice of paradise. A small walking path takes you down along the riverbed, which leads past the old traditional watermills that were used in the past for grinding wheat.

mylopotamos

Waterfall of Fonissas

Between the plane trees, the waterfall of Fonissas falls from the overhanging ledge  at 20m height. The cascading waters form a clear, cold pool at its base, where in hot summer months some brave few swimmers test the icy temperatures. According to  local legend, a little girl drowned here long ago, giving the waterfall its name (meaning “murderess”). Besides its beautiful scenery, this green water hole offers cool shelter during the summer heat waves.

chytra-island

Island of Chytra

Opposite the bay of Kapsali lies the island of Chytra, nicknamed “the Egg” or “Kettle” by locals. Around 40acres in size, the islet is easily accessible by boat and harbours a large open cave which is perfect for snorkelling. Book a trip with our agency for an enjoyable boatride with Captain Spyros and his legendary stories.

chora

Fortress of Chora

In the south of the island, overlooking Chora and the bay of Kapsali, lies the fortress of Chora, the namesake of today’s capital which was established in 1503. From up here you have a splendid view across the south of the island, Crete and Antikythera. The cannons date back to 1660, marking the fortification as a modern settlement that was inhabited by noble families and refugees. The fortress of Chora also houses the Kytherian Historical Archive.

agia-sofia-cave

Cave of Agia Sofia of Mylopotamos

A visit to this unique cave is bound to leave a lasting impression on any visitor. First mapped by the famous Petrocheilos couple (Kytherian Spiliologists), the cave radiates a sense of enchantment not only through its impressive stalactites and stalagmites, but also with the many stories that surround it. The cave has a total depth of 2,200m, while the route that is open for visitors spans a length of 275m. The cave varies between 60m above sea level to 30m under ground. It is the largest of three caves on Kythera with the same name, and legend has it that they are in communication with one another. Upon entering the cave you pass a small church built in 1875, which holds a service every September 17th, in celebration of Saint Sophia.

Visiting hours: Please contact the Municipality of Kythera under  +30 27360 31213

palaiochora

Paleochora

In the eastern part of the island lies the old capital of Kythira. This fortified settlement harboured a large part of the Kytherian population for over 3 centuries and was destroyed and looted by the pirate Barbarossa in the mid-15th century.

Paleochora was the island’s first capital. The small town, initially called Agios Dimitrios, is believed to have been built by Monemvasians in the late 11thor 12th century. The area had the geographical advantage that it was not visible from the sea and had a plentiful freshwater supply from springs in the nearby valley. The first settlement was probably built around 1000 with protective stone walls, parts of which are still preserved today. According to the legend, the fortress contained 70 churches, an exhorbitant number in relation to the total area of Paleochora. The fortified city was destroyed by the fleets of Haiderin Barbarossa’s who, under the command of the Turkish sultan, took the state by storm in 1537. Victims of the ensuing massacre are estimated around 7000. Mass findings of adult and children’s bones among the rocks below indicate that many citizens preferred to commit suicide rather than fall into the hands of pirates.

lighthouse-of-moudari

Lighthouse of Moudari

Built on the northern coast of Kythera on cape Spathi, the lighthouse of Moudari is one of the largest in Greece. Built by the British in 1857. The path to the lighthouse passes through a beautiful landscape and is an ideal destination for walkers.

Byzantine Museum of Kythira

After years of continued efforts, the First Department of Byzantine Antiquities presents the collection of Byzantine and late-Byzantine art, hosted in the late-Byzantine Church of Ascension in Lower Livadi. The Metropolis of Kythera has contributed several artefacts. Here you can see Byzantine frescoes and small portable works of iconography on display, such as images and objects of ritual. Unfortunately, as the island’s rich Byzantine history cannot be compressed into one small exhibition room, most of the relics and icons are kept in the warehouses of the Metropolis of Kythira.

Visiting hours: please contact the museum under  +30 27360 31731

Archaeological Museum of Kythira

Unfortunately, Kythera does not have a museum worthy of its history. The building which once housed the Archaeological Museum was ceded to the State by the Kytherian Association in 1975. It operated until 2006 when it suffered heavy damage from a powerful earthquake, from which point on it was declared demolishable. The museum’s collection includes tombstones, coins, vases, statues such as Aphrodite and Eros and the famous Archaic period statue, the Lion of Kythera. The museum reopened in 2014 following renovation and addition of several works of art.

Visiting hours: Please contact the museum under +30 27360 31739

Kytherian Folklore Collection

The Kytherian Folklore Collection documents the personal efforts of teacher Dimitri Leontsini, who collected traditional objects from Kytherian everyday life over many years with the help of his students. Today the collection is hosted in the old Town Hall, next to the police station in Chora.