History of Katakolon

The history of Katakolon begins thousands of years ago. Katakolon is known since the ancient years with the name Pheia.

The Ancient town of Pheia was located at today’s Agios Andreas beach and was the second largest port in Elis after the port of Killini.

During the Homeric years, Katakolon had a castle close to Iardanos River that was used by the Athenians later, during their effort to conquer the entire region.

old picture of katakolon in 1840
Katakolon in 1840

According to historical sources, the port of Katakolon was destroyed during a severe earthquake in the 6th century, and a piece of land was elevated at the spot of the port, which completely disappeared over the years.

Visitors can still see parts of small islands from that era, which are called Tigani and Korakas. Archaeologists and geologists have unearthed seashells in the mainland, proving the existence of water where now is land.

This area played a very important strategic role during the Byzantine and Medieval era, since the Villeardouins built the enchanting Pontikokastro.

After the liberation from the Turks, the center of Katakolon village moved to the area where we find it today. It became one of the most important ports of the time, since it facilitated the trade of products such as raisins, and still remains one of the most significant port of calls for cruise ships in Greece.

Today, Katakolon is known for its tourist significance more than anything else, as it is the gate to Ancient Olympia.

The name Katakolon

According to the tradition, Katakolon was a place of exile for the so called marginal people that were not acceptable by the societies of the Ionian Islands Zante and Cephallonia. The locals were sending those people to the area of Katakolon saying “ai kata kolou” with a derogatory tone, so they begun to call this area Katakolou and later Katakolo in Greek.