The highest village on Lefkas Island is Eglouvi which is part of the municipality of Karia. It is located in the plateau of Agios Donatos at an altitude of 730 metres. It is built within a vast green area and its fabulous location offers amazing views to the Ionian Sea.
Here, the houses are strongly built of stone with red roofs. The owners have kept the traditional character of their houses. You can walk in the picturesque narrow streets. At the central square, under the huge plane tree you can enjoy your afternoon coffee in a nice old fashioned cafe where local and tourists mix together during the summer season.
Some delightful hiking paths admits the lush green forests around Eglouvi lead to small chapels, ruined windmills and old wells. There you can find the chapel of St Donatus. This church was originally dedicated to Ayios Dometios but when the villagers restored the church in 1980, they rededicated it to the memory of Ayios Donatos, who had been Bishop in AD 284. Following the tradition, during the persecutions of the Christians, he was thrown from a tower the remains of which still stand today at a short distance from the church. The church still has its feast day on the 7th of August, in honour of Ayios Dometios. A festival is also held on that day, when the women from the village cook traditional Eglouvi lentils in large pots.
On the hill, at the north of Eglouvi can be found the chapel of Prophet Elijah. A visit of this chapel is a great experience with magnificent view to the endless blue sea. One can feel only admiration for the forefathers of the villagers, who managed to haul up to such a place all the materials needed to build the chapel.
Eglouvi is famous throughout Lefkada not for its arts and crafts, but for the excellent quality of its lentils. The good quality of lentils that are produced in the village is due not only the organic content of the soil but also in the way of farming. Eglouvi lentils have a great nutritional value. They are rich source of carbohydrate vegetable protein, fibre, vitamins, minerals, trace elements, calcium and iron. They advantage compare to similar legumes is the minimum cooking time and their amazing taste.
The first record of the landrace appeared in historical data around 1717 but its presence in the area is much older. Since 1992 it has been conserved ex situ at the Institution of Fodder Crops in Larisa and ICARDA facilities where it has been used in breeding programme. It is included in the official list of landraces facing genetic erosion.
The fields where the lentils and other crops are grown are in two areas. The first is to the south of the village, in the little valley which slope up into the hills. The second can be reached by taking the road which turns sharp right in the village opposite the cafe.
There is an annual celebration of the lentil with folk dances, lots of free wine and cooked lentils. The celebration takes place on top of the mountain by the small church of Prophet Elijah.
The mountainous village of Eglouvi is full of contracts of colour and scented mountain. With its traditional character and its wild fascination with rocks invites visitors to explore it.