Ithaka has an area of 120 square km, 100 km of coastline and a little more than three thousand inhabitants. The island stretches in the north-south direction and consists of two parts connected by narrow isthmus of Aetos just 600 meters wide. The two parts enclose the large bay of Molos, whose southern branch is the harbor of the capital Vathi, one of the world’s largest natural harbors. The second largest village is Stavros in the northern part.
Modern Ithaca is generally identified with Homer's Ithaca, the legendary home of Odysseus. The island has been inhabited since the 2nd millennium BC and rose at its highest during the Mycenaean period. The Romans occupied the island in the 2nd century BC, and later it became part of the Byzantine Empire. The Normans ruled Ithaca in the 13th century, and after a short Turkish rule, it fell to Venetian hands. It was then occupied by France in 1797, taken by in 1798 by a joint Russo-Turkish force, became a French possession again in 1807, until it was taken over by the United Kingdom in 1809. Under the 1815 Treaty of Paris, Ithaca became a state of the United States of the Ionian Islands, a protectorate of the British Empire. Under the 1864 Treaty of London, Ithaca, along with the remaining six Ionian Islands, were ceded to Greece.
Ithaca charms visitors with its lush greenery, small villages scattered around and secluded coves with blue green water. It is ideal for families as well as romantic couples. Filiatro, Sarakiniko and Agios Ioannis are beautiful beaches. In the evening stroll along the beach promenade of Vathy and have a relaxing drink with view to the night sky. Vathy, Kioni and Frikes are the most tourist places. The Monastery of Kathara, or Panagia Kathariotissa, is located on the highest spot of Ithaca giving a breathtaking view to the Ionian Sea.
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