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Island of Paxi
 
     
The picturesque coastline of Paxos gives the island its exceptional character. Four small rocky islets almost touch the coasts of the island leaving narrow passages for the boats: these are the islets of Panaghia, Aghiow Nikolaos, Kaltsonisi and Monghonisi, (the last one linked with the island of Paxos by a bridge). The west coast of the island is steep and craggy, but offers fascinating views such as the rocks of Erimitis, a steep, vertical cliff which is wonderfully coloured at dusk. In the southwest coast of the island there are about 40 sea caves, the wll-known "gravas", with blue-green waters and magnificent domes where the light palys with the water. The most famous "gravas" are Ypapanti on the rocks of Erimitis, Megalo Antro. Achantakas at Pounta, the grava of Lantros and the grava of Achai at the homonymous bay.
 
     
 
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  In Paxos, traditional architecture is kept almost antact. Houses in the villages of Gaios, Laka and Longos, usually two-storey buildings, painted in soft, bright colours, with tiled roofs and lovely balconies, are typical examples of authentic, traditional Ionian architecture. In the thick olive groves of the island there are hidden old mansions and farm-houses that once belonged to the noblemen of the island. One can also find stone-built farmhouses, water-tanks for the preciouw rain water, old oil-presses, mills and storehouses, all surrounded by narrow paths, little walks and stone benches. Among these there are numerous old chapels, all white-washed, with painted door and window friezes, with unusual domes and elaborate bell-towers. Some of the most remarkable churches in Paxos are: the church of Ypapanti with the two domes and the beautiful bell-tower in the village of Gramatikeika; the church of Aghii Apostoli in the village of Boikatika, the church of Estavromenos in the village of Fontana, Aghios Ioannis in Vasilatika, Aghia Paraskevi in Ozias and, finally, the church of Aghios Nikolaos in Longos.
As on all Ionian Islands, the Venetians made their presence strongly felt in Paxos. This island, qua 'satellite' of Corfu, was not administrated by an independent authority, but rather by a deputy appointed by the General Superintendent of Corfu. Paxos did not remain unaffected by pirate raids, especially during the 16th century. Apart from attacks by Turkish battleships, with all the plundering, the taking of local people as captives, and all the disasters that ensued as a result thereof, the notoriously cruel Hairedin Barbarossa set his eye on Paxos. The Turkish admiral-cum-pirate, irritated from his failure to siege Corfu into surrendering, literally levelled Paxos in 1537. Still, he did not enjoy this victory for long. On July the 14th 1537, the Turkish fleet was severely damaged the attack made against it by the Genoan Admiral Andrea Doria, in the strait between Corfu and Paxos. Fourteen Turkish ships were sunk, ammunition and all, without ever meeting the Turkish convoy that was heading to Vlore.
Yachtsmen and all kinds of sailing-lovers and seafarers have discovered for years now, a true paradise in Paxos. The island with the safe and lee harbours of Gaios, Longos and Laka is a "must" destination or stop-over for boats travelling in the Ionian sea. The marinas offer all necessary facilities. Mooring at these picturesque ports is a lovely surprise for travellers. While sails flocking round the islands and the coasts of Epirus and boats sailing slowly to the narrow passage of Gaios and the quiet bays of Laka and Longos early in the evening when the first lights appear in the harbour, are two of the most characteristic and beautiful summer pictures at Paxos.
A traveller approaching Paxos is confronted with an image of immense greenery. A vast olive grove covers the island's low hillocks through-out. Its slopes are densely wooded, and the soil is propped up by innumerable stone benches, which outline a number of little roads and paths. Just a tiny bit of light manages to peer through the thick foliage. The silver-green olive grove is dispersed with cypress thickets that reach as far down as the seaside. All this abundant vegetation is irrigated by no other source than the frequent Ionian rainfall, since both springs and underground streams are practically non-existent.
 
     
 
 
 
Map of Cyclades Islands
Map of Paxi
 
     
  It is quite wondrous that such a small island, with craggy shores all along its west coast, has so many beautiful beaches. They are all situated along the northern and the eastern parts of the island, and they all offer the same exotic view: thick vegetation reaching down to the seaside, white pebbles, and crystal-clear water. Some of Paxos most beautiful beaches are those of Harami and of Kanoni at the Laka bay; Levrechio, Monodendri and the lovely beaches of Kipiadi and Kaki Langada, while at the south of Gaios one should single out the beaches of Ballos, Porto Ozia and the one and only sandy beach at Mongonisi. At the craggy western shores, there lie, as if hidden away, the wonderful beaches of Avlaki and Galazio, while those who will take a trip to Antipaxos will enjoy the splendid sandy beaches of Vrika and Voutoumi.
In greek mythology, Paxos was created by Poseidon, the sea-god. With his all-mighty trident he clipped a piece off Corfu's southern shore and used it to create Paxos, an idyllic love nest for himself and Amphitrite, daughter of Nereus. Amphitrite became Posidon's wedded wife, while his divine trident - which was severely damaged when he was creating the island - is said to have been found by ancient Paxians. It was then that Posidon's trident became the official symbol of Paxos.
 
   
   
   
   
 
 
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