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Pestana Cascais
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FOKIDA

The green prefecture of Fokida (Phocis), full of olive groves as well as small beaches, attracts a large number of tourists almost all year round.

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The capital and commercial centre of the prefecture is Amfissa (200 km. from Athens), the Byzantine Salona From the moment you see it, the town will strike you as picturesque, built as it is between the mountains, with its Frankish fortress perched precariously on a precipitous rock and surrounded by olive trees. Here you can see the well-preserved Byzantine church of the Saviour (11th c.), the cathedral of the Annunciation as well as the Phocis Folk Art Museum.

Easter in Amfissa is celebrated according to local Roumeli traditions and customs. On Easter Sunday the residents roast lambs and "kokoretsi" in the streets, offering red wine and tasty tidbits to all passers-by.

Amfissa is also renowned for its marvelous olives. But what attracts the largest stream of tourists to the area is nearby Delphi (Delfi), the site of the famous Oracle of Apollo on the slopes of Mt. Parnassos.

The magnificent landscape chosen by the ancient Greeks for their sanctuary, framed by the Phaedriades rocks (the twin "Shining Rocks" that tower above the Oracle) with the Gulf of Itea gleaming in the background, is truly unique.

The sanctuary of Athena, the ruins of the temple of Apollo, the Gymnasium, the Stadium decorated with small statues, the ancient theatre, a 4th century BC construction, and the Castalia Fountain are just some of the wonders to admire amidst Delphi's majestic atmosphere.

Finally, don't miss the museum, which houses the important finds excavated at the site. Among the most impressive are the famous bronze statue of the Charioteer (5th c. BC), the gold and ivory heads of Apollo and Artemis and the Roman copy of the "Navel of the World"

Delphi is also home to the European Cultural Center, an international organization that sponsors cultural conferences and symposia. On the road to Itea, it is worth stopping for a while at Hrisso, a charming village filled with plane trees and fountains.

Itea lies at the edge of the Sacred Valley of Delphi. It takes its name from the numerous willow trees (ities) that used to reach as far as the shore. A seaside market town, Itea is slowly evolving into an important commercial and tourist center. It is hard to pass by the nearby beaches of Trocadero and Miami, or the beach of Itea, without taking a dip. Very close to Itea is the village of Kira, the flourishing port of Delphi in antiquity. Nowadays its long stretch of beach attracts many bathers.

Following the coastal road west of Itea, you come to Galaxidi. Situated at the end of a little fjord, it was an important naval and shipbuilding center until 1821 when it was destroyed. In this pleasant harbor tradition is still very evident along the quay amongst the seafood taverns and boatyards where self taught craftsmen still make sturdy wooden caiques.

It is well worth strolling through the picturesque streets lined by stately mansions and dotted with little taverns drenched in geraniums and jasmine. Don't miss the Galaxidi Archaeological and Naval Museum, with its fine exhibits of model ships, maps, naive sea paintings and weapons from the War of Independence; the church of St. Nicholas, famous for its carved wooden icon screen and Agia Paraskevi, which has the zodiac Cycle in laid in its floor and a sundial in its forecourt.

If you happen to be in Galaxidi on Clean Monday (beginning of Lent), you'll get caught up in the revels of the masqueraders who throw flour at each other in festivities with heavy Dionysiac overtones.

Another charming fishing village west of Galaxidi is Eratini. Nearby is the site of ancient Tolophon .

Continuing west, the seaside settlements of Agios Nikolaos, Spilia and Glifada, as well as the islands of Trizonia, Agios Ioannis and Prassoudi opposite are ideal for bathing and fishing. If you 're seeking peace and quiet, we suggest you visit the mountain villages of Eptalofos or Ano Agoriani, a starting point for the Parnassos ski centre, Lilea, Polidrossos and Gravia surrounded by fir trees and streams.

At Agia Efthimia near Amfissa, the delicious wine will help you to forget your worries. West of Amfissa lies the interesting monastery of the Panayia Koutsoufou in the village of Amigdalia, while somewhat cut off from the rest of the prefecture is Lidoriki, a town on the slopes of Mt. Giona, not far from the Mornos dam and reservoir.



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