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Spiky hedgehoggy islets


The inner Ionian Archipelago, located around the mouth is known collectively as the Echinádes islands, or ‘sea urcin’ islands for their spiky shapes. They have beena RAMSAR Site since 1975, an Important Bird Area (IBA), and part of Natura 2000 network. Most of the 20 islands are mostly privately owned; in 2013, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, the emir of Qatar purchased six. One, Makri is currently for sale.

Although mainly of interest these days for sailors, they played an outsized role in history Homer mentioned the islands in both the Iliad and the Odyssey, as sending ships to Troy and forming part of the kingdom of Odysseus.

In 1427 they witnessed a great sea battle, the last one won by the Byzantine Empire, against the navy of Carlo Tocco, the Latin ruler of the County palatine of Cephalonia and Zakynthos, of Lefkada and of the Despotate of Epirus. It allowed the Byzantines to reoccupy large parts of the Peloponnese, although they soon lose it to the Ottomans.

Echinades Archipelagos, Greece (German)

Ionian Islands

Text © Dana Facaros

Images by lagoon yachting, Pitichinaccio