LEFKADA TOWN'S ARCHITECTURE
Lefkada‘s town plan is distinctive. After the devastating 1825 earthquake, the town was rebuilt according to British anti-seismic specifications.
The ground floor of the houses is stone masonry and the upper storey or storeys have a light wooden construction, with supports called pondella transferring the load directly to the foundations of the building and not to the ground-floor stone walls. The wooden frame is filled in with brickwork. In humble houses, this filling is of cheaper material, for example branches of dried broom, and they are plastered with lantsa, a mixture of lime, fine sand and water . On the inner side the overlay is plaster , also on the outside of the ground floor or , more rarely, it is left un-plastered.
The storey above is strengthened with boards, either with plaster board sheets or , (in later years) with the cheaper corrugated iron or , in some cases, it is left bare. The revetment provides protection against (high) humidity and gives thermal insulation. The use of sheet iron externally - nowadays painted a different colour for each house, gives the town its characteristic colourful appearance. The island’s proximity to Epirus brought its famed stone-workers to the island, where they left their stamp on the masonry, corner-stones, elaborate window frames and doorways, in churches and houses. Indicative buildings of local architecture and their location will be discussed later on with the use of a study chart by the architect Panayiotis Argyros, who has this to say: “This map concerns an appraisal of: a) buildings, b) elements of town planning and c) aspects of the historical centre. Traditional buildings are classified as: i) highly significant, ii) significant and iii) of secondary significance. Noteworthy squares, open spaces, routes to follow and façades of buildings are also marked. Finally, such characteristic details as “pontzi” (a specific balcony construction), attic lofts and stone-paved streets are noted, which enrich the aspect of the area as a whole.
The aforementioned categories are defined as follows:
“Significant and highly significant buildings of interest and particular interest are those of architectural value. On the whole, the elements that advocate inclusion in this category are the relatively large size of the buildings and occasionally their use, but mainly the richness and representativeness of architectural elements, such as porches, the “pontzi’’ , verandas and lofts. However , the main criterion is the quality of the constituent elements of the whole and the overall aspect of uniformity of height. It should be noted that in the majority of these buildings the concept of construction, the proportions of openings, the separate architectural elements, the stone-built ground floor, the wooden storeys above and the composition as a whole, date back to the period of British rule.
Buildings of secondary significance are incorporated in the layout of the old town and, albeit contributing to the impression of uniformity of height, are not of any particular value.
Major (significant) squares and open spaces are those surrounded by significant buildings or are located on the busiest routes and crossroads of the town and play an important role in the life of the town.
(Significant) Interesting routes are those marked by a concentration of significant buildings along the routes connecting major squares and open areas and play an important role in the life of the town.”