History

Katakolon: Always a port

If you wish to describe Katakolon using three words only, you will manage to deliver its full meaning.
A picturesque harbor!

Since ancient times the natural bay which was at the time the current Katakolon port, was used for ship approaches.

Historical sources indicate that Phoenicians and Leleges – tribe of the Ionian Islands –were the first who knew the port and attempting to market their products in the region. While in 431 B.C. – and while raged the Peloponnesian war – the Athenians sailed to the port in order to loot Ilia but a southern wind – the prevalence of which still plagues this sea region – forced them to turn to the cove of ancient Pheias and continue there to plunder them having lost though a significant part of their fleet because of that rough seas!

The port is reported from the time of Omiros. Some baffle its substance with this of the cove of ancient Pheias but ultimately both existed. The Katakolon port as natural edge of the cape Ihthis – on top of which the mouse castle was built (Pontikokastro) under Frankish reign – and the cove Pheias as sheltered, which supplied the city with goods from the known world back then!

The region experienced the scheming of all colonizers of the Middle Ages (395 A.D. – 1458 A.D.) and especially, that of the Romans 145 B.C. – 395 A.D., Byzantine times, from 395 A.D. – 1204 A.D., Franks, from 1204 to 1430, Venetians, 1687 – 1715 and Ottomans, from 1458 up to 1821, in two periods, from 1458 until 1687 the one and the second, from 1715 to 1821.

Centuries ago, Ilia culminated as a mythological origin place and dozens of reports and myths took place there.

Then the "golden age" followed from 850 B.C., interrupted by the descent of the Macedonians from 323 B.C., up to 145 B.C. And then the Romans came...

The naming...

The origin of the name "Katakolon" often confuses even historians – researchers. Most of them though, end up on the documented conclusion that this is a placename etymologically derived from the position of the port, as a tip! For this reason it had previously come to be marked as "Katakolo" and refer to comic crosstalk, malicious or not.

Katakolon in another version – non-existent for many researchers – may have taken its naming by a Roman official who was responsible for the supervision of the area and maintained a villa employing workers from the region. The official of the Roman Empire colonized the area, was called Katakalos and so it is considered that his name was paraphrased and remained the current toponym Katakolon.

But does not stand up, the other lightsome and for many vexatious, version, that the port took its name from its side where they sent the unwanted and the petty from Kefalonia and Zakynthos in Katakolon, as a place of exile!

The only truth is that the population comes in its vast majority from families by origin from Zakynthos and Kefalonia owing to their movement to the place of promise, as it was characterized from the islanders, Ilia.

The railroad...

In the last quarter of the 18th century the so called "black gold" in the area was Korinthian currant and till then they traded it only with mules strapped on with it and boats until they reached to Piraeus and from there by ships ended up in England…

The idea of the railroad was the only alternative for the trade at the time.

In 1878 the mayor of Letrina – Pyrgos, Petros Avgerinos conceived the idea of the railway line of Katakolon of Pyrgos and in 1881, by law it was given to the municipality the right to its construction. It was the second railroad of Greece and the first interurban!

In 1878 the engineer Alexander Streit made a cost estimation of the project and in 1881 was given the green light for 13 km of line, a building work which was completed in November 1882.

Before World War II, the line reached to the port with a stopover at the current station under the name "Baths" as there was a beach for bathers.

In 1951 it became the unifying line under the name Hospital (Manolopouleio) and in 1975 the SPK station of Pyrgos abolished. At the end of the 20th century it declined. Recently it came alive again with the initiative of TRAINOSE reviving the historic route of the "Kwlosourti" or "Train of Love" as was to be called the Pyrgos – Katakolon line.

Nowadays the train is again the favorite means of transport of tourists and locals for moving from Katakolon to Pyrgos and Olympia.