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Trip Planner Europe  /  Greece  /  Ionian Islands  /  Ithaca

Ithaca

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Ithaca or Ithaka is a Greek island located in the Ionian Sea, off the northeast coast of Kefalonia and to the west of continental Greece.Ithaca's main island has an area of 96km2 and had a population in 2011 of 3,231. It is the second-smallest of seven main Ionian Islands, after Paxi. Ithaca is a separate regional unit of the Ionian Islands region, and the only municipality of the regional unit. The capital is Vathy (or Vathi).Modern Ithaca is generally identified with Homer's Ithaca, the home of Odysseus, whose delayed return to the island is the Odyssey's plot.EtymologyAlthough the name Ithaca has remained unchanged since ancient times, written documents of different periods also refer to the island by other names, such as:Val di Compare (Valley of the Bestman), Piccola (Small) Cephallonia, Anticephallonia (Middle Ages till the beginning of the Venetian period)Ithaki nisos (Greek for island), Thrakoniso, Thakou, Thiakou (Byzantine period)Thiaki (before the Venetian period)Teaki (Venetian period)Fiaki (Turkish period)HistoryThe island has been inhabited since the 2nd millennium BC. It may have been the capital of Cephalonia during the Mycenaean period and the capital-state of the small kingdom ruled by Odysseus. 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 into Venetian hands (Ionian Islands under Venetian rule).
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