Assos, Kefalonia, Greece .... Assos is a picturesque village built on the neck of the enchanting peninsula of Assos, nestled amongst pines, cypresses and terraced fields. There is a bustling town square and many modern rooms to rent, but in spite of the large number of tourists that visit every year, Assos has kept the small village atmosphere it had before the tourist invasion. On the hilltop stands the old pink church of Agios Georgios, built in 1871, with a lovely bell tower.
The villagers named the small square next to the sea 'Paris' out of gratitude to the French. Among the plane trees, the palms and the poplars which shade the square stands the ancient Olive-tree, on which Cosmas the Aetolian leaned as he taught. One story tells of it being summer, and the cicadas were so noisy that Agios Cosmas couldn't be heard, so he shouted to them to shut up ……… and they did! Undoubtedly, the sight most worth seeing in Assos is the 16th century Venetian fortress.
The idea to build the fortress dates from 1585 when the legation of the commune of Kefalonia asked the Venetian senate for a fortress to protect the islanders from attack by pirates and Turks. Construction began in 1593. The speed with which it was built indicates it's importance. The position it occupied on a peninsula, at an elevation of 170m where the only means of access was a narrow passage 51m wide, made it impregnable. In addition, Assos' port was a safe natural harbour. The fortress lost its strategic importance in 1684 when the Venetians regained the fortress of Lefkada. It remained, however, the seat of the Venetian Provisor until 1797.
On the unpaved road up to the fortress (where most of the villagers used to take a stroll in the cool evening hours, in days gone by), you will encounter the chapel of Panagia Plakoula. Trust me, you are not even half way up. It took its name from the icon carved in relief on a stone slab, which was found on the beach below the fortress; it can now be seen outside the chapel.
Still standing are the vaulted semi-circular entrance-way, the walls, and in thick vegetation the ruins of the house of the Provisor and those of the Catholic Church of San Marco (1604). Until 1815 the fortress housed a rural prison, because it offered no means of escape.
The fortress was lived in until 1968 by the Destounis family, whose graves can be seen next to the small Church of Profitis Ilias, dating from 1889. Behind the prison is the second gate; one can also reach it from the left side of Assos. Imprison yourselves for a while in the mysterious atmosphere of the fortress and admire the unique view and the enchanting sunset.
On returning to the village centre you will find a number of tavernas which are ideal for relaxing over a meal or a welcome drink whilst soaking up the atmosphere within this very attractive Greek village and marvelling at the beautiful views all around you. The village also has a small beach if you fancy a swim or a spot of sunbathing.