It may be a slight exaggeration, but for many locals, the town of Aitoliko, situated on an island between two lagoons in western Greece is their own, smaller version of Venice.
A new drone video captures the historic center of the town and the bridges on either side that connect Aitoliko to the mainland.
The old part of the town lies quite romantically on an island between two lagoons, of which the Aitoliko Lagoon extending up to Stamna lies to the north, and the Missolonghi Lagoon, which was Lake Kynia in antiquity, lies to the south where it connects with the Gulf of Patras and into the Ionian Sea.
Protected by the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands, and included in the Natura 2000 network, the Mesolongi-Aitoliko Lagoon National Park is rich in flora and fauna, including 290 species of birds and more than 100 species of fish.
Aitoliko famous for its Greek caviar
Tidal forces produce strong currents surging back and forth under the arches of the bridges.
The taverns of Aitoliko offer specialties such as smoked or salted avgotaraho — Greek caviar — which is famous around the world for its unique taste and quality.
Avgotaraho, the egg of the fish called kefalos (grey mullet) is considered to be of a superb specialty, some say even superior to caviar, which is the eggs of sturgeon. It is registered as having a Greek and European protected designation of origin (PDO) – one of only a small number of seafood products with a PDO in the EU – and is of significant commercial value to the local economy.
Other specialties include butterflied grilled petali, grilled or baked eel and shellfish, when in season.
During the Greek War of Independence against the Ottoman Empire, in the beginning of the 19th century, Aitoliko experienced three Turkish sieges before it became a part of Greece. There were 500 Greek defenders and 15,000 Turks in the first siege.
The second siege was repelled, but in the third siege, Aitoliko was re-taken by the Turks at the same time as Mesolonghi, on April 11, 1826.