Katakolon is a seaside town in the municipality of Pyrgos in western Ilia, Greece. It is situated on a headland overlooking the Ionian Sea and separating the Gulf of Kyparissia from the rest of the Ionian. It is 15 km (9 miles) west of downtown Pyrgos, 38 km (24 miles) west of Olympia and 310 km (193 miles) south-west of Athens.
The port of Katakolon is a popular stop for cruise ships, offering an opportunity for passengers to visit the site of Ancient Olympia – the birthplace of the most important athletic event of all times; the Olympic Games which was held every four years to honor Zeus.
Low hills with forests surround Katakolon. The lighthouse of Katakolon was built in 1865. One of the most important sites of Katakolon is the Museum of Ancient Greek Technology that holds approximately 150 models of mechanisms and inventions of the ancient world from 2000 BC until 100 AD. The tour in conducted by an English/French speaking curator while the exhibits are accompanied by explanatory labels in English and rich audio-visual material (posters, diagrams and videos of their operation). In addition to the Museum of Ancient Greek Technology, the Museum of Ancient Greek Musical Instruments housed in the same building also appears to have re-opened after a period of dormancy and exhibits a wide range of working musical instruments from ancient Greece.
The building is approximately 300 meters from the pier and the admission is 2€ (free admission for kids).
In the middle Ages, Katakolon was the site of the fortress of Pontikokastro, which the Frankish rulers of the Principality of Achaea called Beauvoir or Belveder. It is one of the oldest Byzantine castles in Greece dating from 700 BC s. The remains of the medieval Pontikokastro/Beauvoir castle still stand on a hilltop northeast of the modern port, but the castle is mostly ruined and its original appearance can only be surmised.
Several buildings were rebuilt after World War II and the Greek Civil War.
In the past, Katakolon was one of the most important ports of the country – it was the main port of departure for exportation of resins. Since 2003, after the donation of John Latsis, the port of Katakolon has been renovated and today it has become one of the most touristic destinations in Greece. More than one million people annually visit Katakolon and its companion facility, the Archaeological Museum of Olympia, a treasure trove of pieced-together sculptures and statues that once adorned the ancient structures. That makes it the second busiest port after Piraeus in cruise ships’ arrivals.
The port is full of cafeterias, taverns and souvenir shops which replaced the old raisin houses, giving a traditional tone to the area. There is also a church, a post office, a pharmacy and 2 ATM’s.
Population of Katakolon: 513 residents
City distances from Katakolon:
Pyrgos: 15 km (9 miles)
Olympia: 38 km (24 miles)
Patra: 100 km (62 miles)
Athens: 310 km (193 miles)
Katakolon Useful Telephone Numbers:
Calling Code for Greece: 0030
Katakolon Port authority: Tel. 2621041206, Fax 2621041109
Katakolon Police Station: 2621041111
Pyrgos Tourist Police: 2621037111
Pyrgos Hospital: 2621022222