The city of “Sami” Kefalonia welcomes this summer 2021 its archaeological past with modern culture, in a new Museum !! The Archaeological Collection of Sami Kefalonia !!
The exhibition is supplemented with rich information material. Some of the magnificent mosaics found in the city of Sami are also on display outside. SAMI – A CITY A HISTORY “Sami is a historic port of the Mediterranean”
Sami, thanks to its advantageous geographical position and its very safe port, has been, from antiquity until today, an important station between East and West.
The earliest mention of Sami as a naval power is made in the New Catalog of Homer’s Iliad where it is mentioned that he participated together with the other regions of Kefalonia in the campaign of the Greeks against Troy with 12 ships and under the rule of Odysseus.
During the period of Greek colonization (8th century BC), according to the latest excavation data, it fell into the sphere of influence of Corinth. Its deep bay provided a wonderful base in the Ionian for the development of its colonial policy and the promotion of its economic interests in the West.
During the Classical and Hellenistic times (5th – end of the 3rd century BC) the city-state of Sami experienced great prosperity. The city, with the two-peaked Acropolis (locations Paliokastro and Kyatis / Agioi Fanentes) is built near the sea and acquires port facilities, parts of which were discovered on Dihalion Street.
It also has a strong navy, as shown by the representation of the first ship in the city’s currency. About 226 BC Kefalonia becomes a member of the Aetolian Confederation and acquires equality.
Among the obligations undertaken by the cities of Kefalonia within the framework of this alliance, is the transport of the Aetolian expeditionary corps with their ships to the beach of Western Greece.
Although Sami is not specifically mentioned, her participation is considered certain. In 189/188 BC the Romans, in the context of their expansionist policy towards the East, also claim the port of Sami.
The other three cities of Kefalonia (Krani, Pali and Pronni) had already been handed over. Sami put up strong resistance, but was defeated after a four-month siege.
The Romans immediately began rebuilding and building a new port further north to use it as a naval base for their naval forces in the Ionian Sea. Part of the jetty in the sea area of Loutro survives from the port works of Roman times.
The life of the port continued smoothly during the first Christian centuries. From the 7th century, however, with the appearance of the Arabs in the Mediterranean and under the threat of invasions, the coast was abandoned and the inhabitants resorted to safer places.
During the Byzantine times, in the area of the Acropolis of Kyatida, one of the most important monasteries of Kefalonia was founded, the monastery of Agioi Neofani (later Fanenti), which played an important role in the history of the port and the wider area.
From the 15th century Sami appears on nautical charts and documents as Val d ‘Alessandria, a name which was used throughout the Venetian period alongside the ancient name of the city. Its large natural harbor often served as an anchorage for merchant and warships.
The united Christian fleet gathered here shortly before meeting with the Turkish in the historic naval battle of Nafpaktos (1571). After the victory, the Venetian admiral Sebastiano Venier dedicates an icon of the Virgin Mary to the Monastery of the Fanents, as mentioned in a relevant inscription.
Towards the end of the 18th century, when the fear of raids and pirates had subsided and the Turkish threat after the last Venetian war had finally been removed, the situation gradually changed.
According to the descriptions of travelers in 1776 on the coast of Sami there were 5-6 houses, fishermen’s accommodation, while in 1808 they have doubled.
A public building, the Sanitary, is also mentioned. At the end of the 19th c. the population has increased significantly and in 1868 the Municipality of Samaion is founded.
Text: Andreas Sotiriou archaeologist, Tenia Rigatou archaeologist, (Sami historical port of the Mediterranean, European Days of Cultural Heritage 26-29 September 1997).
SAMI KEFALONIA 17 AUGUST 2021 GREECE