On the southern tip of Lefkada island, in cape Doukato or cape Lefkatas, there is a stunning shining bright lighthouse, offering splendid views. The lighthouse is proudly standing there since 1890 and with its focal height of 60 meters, it is exuding a breath-taking charm. Legends and stories to this amazing place can be traced back to antiquity. Even the name of the area Lefkatas remains a mystery. According to the first theory, Lefkatas (and Lefkada) derives its name from the world ‘’λευκό’’ (lefko) which means white in greek language and comes from the white colour of the cape’s rock. The second theory suggests that the name comes from Lefko, an old friend of Odysseus from Zakynthos.
Lefkatas was an area of land having special spiritual significance to the ancient Lefkadians, who built there a shrine dedicated to the god of sun and light, Apollo. Every year religious ceremonies were held to propitiate the gods of the sea and to purify the city, at which there were even human sacrifices. A convict or a sick person was usually flung from the cliff to his death. Creepy uhh?
In 1905 the German archaeologist Wilhelm Dörpfeld who was trying to prove that Lefkada was the ancient Ithaca, had begun digging at the site of cape Doukato and he found some remnants of the altar very close to the lighthouse.
Want more? Well, Lefkatas was also a place for those who wanted to escape from unfulfilled love. According to the legend the lyric poetess Sappho (7th century B.C.) threw hersef off the cliffs here to be liberated from her unrequited love for Phaon, that's why the place is also known with the name ''Kavos Kyras'' (Lady's Cape) or ''Pidima Kyras'' (Lady's Leap).
Back to real facts!
During World War II the lighthouse was abandoned and then put into use again in the end of 1945. The 1953 earthquake destroyed it and after that until 1956 the lighthouse was operating with a temporary installation of an automatic asetyline torch. Finally It was in 1985 that the lighthouse was electrified.
Although less popular with tourists the area has a charm all its own. Keep in mind that you can not enter into the lighthouse but you can visit the garden and believe me, you will fell in love with this secretive place.
Tip for the romantics: The time of day for the strongest impression of Cape Lefkatas is of course at sunset, when the sun paints the rocks with its rays and gives colour to the sea which in turn in its own tongue murmurs stories of thousands of years.
How to Get there:
Cape Lefkatas is located in South Lefkada. You should follow the road to Porto Katsiki. Then you will find a sign indicating ''Lefkatas Cape'' to your left and ''Porto Katsiki'' to your right. You should follow Lefkatas Cape. You will find another sign for the Monastery of Agios Nikolaos in Nira and for Cape Lefkatas. Follow this sign and soon enough you will reach the area.
There is a small parking site where you will park your car. Then you will have to walk for about 200 meters upwards to reach the sight.
By Effie Barla