From antiquity and up until the 13th century A.D., Fiskardo’s name was “Panormos”, which means natural port where ships of different sizes can moor safely under any weather conditions. This is confirmed by the ancient historian, Artemidoros Porfirio who pinpoints Panormos across from Ithaca. It is believed that Panormos was a semi-inhabited settlement of small population. There, was the temple of the god Phoebus (Apollo) the port watcher, protector of ports, which was probably built on the tip of the Fournia peninsula, across from Cape Lefkata of Lefkada.
This is also confirmed by the wish Antipatros Sidonios directed to the god Phoebus when he saw the temple while sailing through the Kefalonia-Ithaca Chanel: “Phoebus, port watcher of the Kefalonians, Θίνα Πανόρμου ναίων, τρηχείης αντιπέρην Ιθάκης, δός με δι' ευπλώτοιο προς Ασίδα κύματος ελθείν, Πείσωνος δολιχή Νηί συνεστιόμενον και τον εμόν βασιλιά τον άλκιμον ευ, μεν εκείνω έλαιον ευ δ'ύμνοις άρτισον ημετέρεις». Towards the end of the 11th century, the Normans try to conquer areas which can be used as operation bases. After his unsuccessful campaign in Ipiros and Thessaly, the Norman commander, Roberto Guiscardo, tried to conquer the Ionian Islands in 1084. In the spring of 1085, his son Rogiros, tried to take Kefalonia, without success. His father then rushed to his aid and disembarked in Panormos. At the time, a terrible plague spread through the Norman army and the residents of Kefalonia. Guiscardo also fell ill with the plague and he eventually died in Panormos, so the siege was ended and the Normans sailed back to Italy with their leaders remains, according to some, and according to others, without the remains, which remained buried in Panormos for years. Reference to Guiscardo’ s death is made by, among other, the historian Anna Komninou, the chronicler Venediktos from Pelerborougn and the speechwriter Ieroklis. In nautical maps, we find Fiskardo with different names such as “Porto di Custodi” (Port of Guards), “Petiglia”, “Veneti Victi”, “Panormos” and “Dulichio”( Duclichio or Dolichion today). But the name Fiskardo prevails from the 13th century onwards and after different versions like “Guiscardo”, “Pescarda”, “Viscardo”, “Piscardo” and others. The general area around Fiskardo is considered archaeological. More specifically: the Fournia peninsula, a place of great archaeological importance as stone tools from the Paleolithic Age have been found there. “The Throne of Queen Iouskarda or Fiskarda”, in the region of Larni, just outside the village. It is a cavity carved into the rock, with stairs and seats, also carved in a peculiar technique. It is believed to be a tomb or an ancient place of worship. In Spiliovouno, west of Fiskardo, there is part of a cyclopean wall which was built in ancient times for defensive purposes.
Behind the wall are cave like cavities. While excavating for construction purposes, traces of an ancient water reservoir were discovered along with columns and sarcophaguses, most likely from the Roman times. Near the guesthouse Panormos is a shipwreck, dated back to pre-christian times. It was characterized as an archaeological site and the construction of a pier and the mooring of ships was prohibited. On the highest point of Fournia, at an altitude of 25 and more meters, are the ruins of a Byzantine church, which is believed to have been built in the 6th century. It is an imposing structure, in the shape of a free cross of the Hellenistic type. Stairs from the centre of the settlement lead to the church of the Panagia Platitera. Behind the church are the ruins of the monastery cells, which was located in the same spot for centuries. According to a church code which is saved, there used to be a chapel there during the Byzantine age. It was renovated in 1673 and became a communal.
According to tradition, the monastery was built by craftsmen from Souli. We know from inventories that the monastery functioned ceaselessly from 1676 to 1911. The church’s feast day is on September 8th and is preserved thanks to the financial offerings and interest of the residents. The chancel is wooden, carved and gold plated and the icons are from different periods. The most significant icon is “The Birth of Christ”, dated 1676, by Konstantinos Tzane (Tzanetos) Bounialis, other paintings of whom there is only one other somewhere in Russia. The small island Asteris ( also Didaskalio or Mathitario) belongs to Fiskardo and was mentioned in Homer’s epic poem, “The Odyssey”, as a trap for Telemachus by Penelope’s suitors. On Asteris, there is the small chapel of Ai Nicholas, which was built by the family of the businessman Potamianos, in order to fulfill a religious vow. Around 1920, one of their company ships had been driven ashore on the island and the captain invoked Saint Nicholas and, miraculously, the ship slipped back into the water without any damage.
You should know that Fiskardo is made up of the following neighborhoods: Apolitos ( near the area were the ferry boat is moored), Larni (in the area near Lagadia and Spiliovouno), Kaminakia, Zavalata and Foki. The beaches which nature offers generously are: Zavalata, Foki, Emblisi, Kimilies, Alaties, St. Ierousalem, Evreti, Dolicha, Halasmeno Karavi and others. In the area around Fiskardo there are many lovely and traditional villages such as Antipata, Germenata, Psilithrias, Magganos, Katsarata, Matsoukata, Tselentata, Barzoukata, Tzamarelata, Agrilias, Halikeri and ohers. Katsarata is probably the most beautiful village of Erisos. The view will leave you speechless.
The traditional style houses have a view of Lefkada, Ithaka, Meganisi, Skorpios and, when the weather is good, you can see Corfu and the mountains tops of continental Greece (Sterea Ellada). Katsarata may not have many inhabitants, but it is an area of particular beauty and with rapid development. Fiskardo is the main tourist attraction of Kefalonia.
People from all over the world, celebrities or not, have heard of Fiskardo and visit it to see the joys it has to offers up close. The hospitality, the beautiful scenery, its residents and many other things make Fiskardo one of a kind.