Ithaca's Cultural Center
The Cultural Centre of Ithaca has functioned in Vathy since 1957 and aims at contributing to the intellectual, social and cultural development of the island.In its own double-story building and for the fulfillment of its aims the Centre operates:
1. A library consisting of approximately ten thousand books, some of which are especially rare, like Strabo’s Geographica, Francofurti, apud haeredes Andrea Wecheli, 1585 and Pausanias’, Description of Greece, Excudebat Eustathius Vignon Arrebat, 1581. The library also houses a Japanese translation of the Odyssey and Iliad, published in 1940.
2. A function room or hall for events of approximately 200 square meters. This frequently hosts theatrical productions, lectures, meetings of local Associations, as well as musical events, exhibitions and social events like dances, receptions etc.
3. A cinema/conference room that in the past functioned only as a cinema. The Municipality of Ithaca later saw to its refurbishment, providing all necessary equipment for the smooth functioning of a contemporary Conference Center. There have been times in the past, when all three venues- library, function room and cinema, were used simultaneously for the hosting of conferences or other cultural events.
Ithaca Philharmonic Society
The ‘Philharmonic and Music School of Ithaca’ was founded in 1904 by a group of enlightened Ithacan fans and friends of music with the goal of providing free musical education for the island’s young people and ensuring that these musicians could play a full part in all social and cultural events. On the Ionian islands, which have an old and rich tradition of music societies, the term ‘Philharmonic’ is preferred to the terms ‘band’ or ‘orchestra’, used in other parts of Greece. The Ithaca Philharmonic was founded by volunteers and, to this day, receives no state financing, so it is entirely self-supporting.
The first lead musician of the Ithaca Philharmonic was Francesco Nicolini, a well-known Italian violinist. He was succeeded by his son, Armando Nicolini, and the baton has been passed on through the hands of a number of notable musicians.
All leaders and members of the Philharmonic have been united in their desire to continually improve and develop musical education on the island and, in this, they have always benefited from wide public support. Thus generations of Ithacans have been either musicians or supporters and today, the number of established musicians is about 35, a number which swells to over 90 when young pupils are included and they are joined by much older and experienced ‘veterans’. This group is fortunate in that it is quite well-endowed and owns its own building and rehearsal rooms and a musical museum of instruments. A rich collection of instruments, costumes and uniforms, books of musical interest and an infrastructure for printing and promotion, all enrich the heritage of music in Ithaca.
“Charilaos Tsigonias”- Dance and Culture Society of Ithaca
The dance group of the association took its first steps in 1983, on the initiative of the late physical education teacher Charilaos Tsigonia. The year 1993 was named after the founder of "ODYSSEUS" !.
After the death of Charilaos Tsigonias (1995), it continued to operate under the supervision of Mrs. Kostiris Spyridoula until 1998. Then (1998), on the initiative of the students - members of the dance (founding members), the Dance and Cultural Association was officially founded Ithaca Island "Charilaos Tsigonias" based in Ithaca.
The club also teaches dances from all over Greece.
Our Association participates in the cultural and social events of our place, (participation in the parades of National holidays - tribute with traditional dances, Christmas performances / participation in the carnival, annual big show at the end of the dance season (end of May), participation in summer cultures events of the Municipality of Ithaca.)
Also, in the past he participated in festivals / events in cities of Greece and abroad such as: Corfu, Lefkada, Cephalonia, Zakynthos, Patras, Karditsa, Alexandroupolis, Athens, Kos, Aegina, Naples, Italy, Cyprus, Serbia, Italy, Santa Marinella Czech republic
In 2007, Angelos Kouvaras took the initiative, along with his friends Minas Manias and Giannis Molfesis to reconstitute the Mandolinata group. Minas and Giannis had previously been members of the Proodos 1962 group under the leadership of Vaptistis Kouvaras. Their initiative received the full support of the conductor and musical director, Gregor Schäfer, who has been living on Ithaca for 35 years and undertook to organise the group, making a great contribution to its success.The Mandolinata was originally hosted on the premises of the Ithaca Philharmonic before moving its activities to the old primary school in Vounaki. The group has received many donations of instruments, most notably a piano from Anna and Vasilis Karavias. The Mandolinata later joined forces with the local municipality is now based in the halls of the former boarding school.
The group, today, has a membership of more than 35 people of all ages. They perform quite regularly throughout the year both in Vathy and in the other villages so, in this way, manage to preserve a special resonance within the cultural fabric of the island.
Odyssean Studies Center
The Centre for Odyssean Studies is a non-profit scientific foundation of public benefit sitting in Ithaca. It was founded by the “Union of the Diaspora Ithaceans”, and it was the outcome of an initiative by Mr. Epameinondas Vlassopoulos, President of the Union at the time, who utilised a legacy by Olga Dracoulis for the ormation of a cultural establishment in Ithaca.
In 1982, the Centre obtained its statutory name as of: “Kentro Odysseiakon Spoudon” (Centre for Odyssean Studies) by means of a presidential decree promulgated through the government’s official gazette (no 1076, fasc.2, 30.12.1982) The Centre’s regular yield originates from the interest of its initial capital. First person to serve as President of the Centre for Odyssean Studies was the late Professor John Th. Kakridis, whose stature contributed to the Centre’s repute while assisting towards the advancement of its present identity.The main purpose of the Centre is to serve and develop a strictly scientific dialogue responsive to international academic approaches and continually stimulated by new research on Homeric and, in particular, on odyssean studies.a)The international conferences eminent scholars, homerists from all over the world, present papers in the international conferences that have unremittingly been held in Ithaca in the course of the past thirty years. Through these conferences, Ithaca is internationally recognised as the stable and regular meeting point for Homeric scholars.b)The organisation of seminars towards the training of philologists teaching Homer in Greek High Schools has been another unceasing priority of the Centre.Every year, philologists teaching in high schools of different geographical sectors of Greece are given the chance to enrich their experience by participating in a seminar at which papers on specific issues of Homeric scholarship are presented by specialised academic scholars and researchers from the secondary education. The proceedings of these seminars are published in the journal Philologiké. c)The Centre organises and eventuates a number of activities related to the Homeric epics, such as lectures, exhibitions, collections, libraries, data bases. These activities are held in Ithaca as well as in Athens. (http://cods.wpnet.upatras.gr/)
Ithaca's Historical Archive Center
The historical and cultural identity of a land is defined by the endurance of its characteristics through the ages, as well as the degree of their furtherance and functioning in society. Ithaca had the good-fortune, as a Venetian territory since 1500 onwards, to be able to cultivate this possibility. The Serene Republic of Venice was particularly interested in the recording and the keeping of public documents in her territories. In this way she contributed to the preservation of their historical content.
On our island, this material was collected and kept at the Archives of Ithaca. During the 20th century this functioned under the name ‘Historical Archives of Ithaca’.
Thus, the Archives today contain a large number of contracts from 1600 onwards that are a rich source of information. They contain the registry in whose pages one can find the entries for the birth of Lorentzos Mavilis, Ioannis Metaxas, Nikos Karvounis, the commander Varnakiotis and many more. Unfortunately, the registration of the birth of Odysseas Androutsos has not been preserved. Subsequently, no one today knows when this important Greek and hero of the Revolution was born.
The records contain hand-written books and papers, building plans, the correspondence of the Administration from 1654 onwards, newspapers and church books, court verdicts, interrogations and other significant papers that sufficiently recreate the development and continuity of the land, while simultaneous presenting its unique elements.