Zakynthos is the third largest (after the island of Kefalonia and Corfu) and the second most populous Ionian island endowed with fertile valleys and temperate climate. Known internationally by the name Zante and is situated 15 km. west of the Peloponnese and 13.5 km. South of the largest Ionian Island – Kefalonia. Its area is 406 square km., And the coastline length of 123 km. It offers an exceptional variety – sand, larger or adjusted from sea pebbles.
The economy of the island is based on agriculture and tourism. Grown olives, grapes, citrus variety and extremely fragrant strawberries. It is famous for olive oil and wine. Interestingly, it is famous and raising horses for riding, and visitors can enjoy the wonderful scenery, riding the sea.
On the island of Zakynthos take great care to conserve two endangered animal species, namely Caretta Caretta sea turtles and monk seals.
The island is known in antiquity by many names – Yakintos, Diakintos, Zaki, Eri.
Homer mentions the island of Zakynthos in the Iliad and Odyssey, claiming that the first settlers here were the son of King Dardanos, ruler of the ancient kingdom of Phrygia – Zakynthos and his soldiers. According to Greek mythology, later the island was conquered by King Arkesiy of Kefalonia and then by Odysseus of Ithaca.
In the Middle Ages the island of Zakynthos is part of Byzantium. Later, with the island of Kefalonia became county of Kingdom of Naples. Briefly ruled by the Ottomans, Venetians but it redeemed them and managed from 1484 to 1797 It is they call Zakynthos Fioro di Levante – Flower of the East, as there are over 7000 species of flowers and Venice architectural influence has left its mark on Zante.
The region of northwest Greece, which falls island of Zakynthos, is one of the most seismic country. After the devastating earthquake in 1953 and the subsequent fire, a number of historic buildings and churches were burned to the ground. Although these buildings and treasures kept missing, the city was rebuilt in compliance with the previous architectural structure plan following strict anti-seismic specifications.
Walking around the city can not miss Solomos Square surrounded by buildings with distinctive architectural features of the island – arch-shaped windows and arcades. In the center is the bust of Dionysus Solomos- national poet of Greece, born here before 1798 Here are the public library (55 000 volumes) and Post-Byzantine Museum where statues are kept trimmed with gold, icons and art woodcarvings.
Popular place to stroll or suffered Marina promenade of Zakynthos, which leads from Solomos Square to the church of the patron saint Dionysius. Today, his relics are kept in the church “St. Dionysius, “one of the few surviving buildings after the earthquake in 1953. In celebration of the island is considered August 24, when people from all over the country come to honor the saint, to join the procession, to see fireworks and hear the sound of the ship’s siren honor St. Dionysius.
Square St. Mark’s in 1797 revolutionaries burned Libre d’Oro or the official book of the nobility of the Venetian Republic and planted the tree of liberty. Today the square is a major meeting place for locals, but here is the Museum of Solomos and Kalvos.
Another place to walk is Alexandros Romas street, starting from Square St. Mark and crosses almost the entire city. This street with its impressive arches has been a major trading center of Zante through the centuries.
Another attraction is the Venetian fortress on the hill Mpohali. It is believed that it was built on the site of an ancient acropolis. In 1479. fort on the hill was completely destroyed by the Ottomans, and in the XVI century. Venetians complement and reinforce the fort.
Zante captivates you with many wonderful places. The most famous among them is the beach Navagio (from the city. “Shipwreck”) – an isolated bay, which ranks among some of the most famous and most photographed beaches in Europe.
The name of the bay, according to local legend, is associated with shipwreck merchant ship. In the rocks found the icon of Virgin Mary radiating light now fading now again the world, as if crying for people to find it. They built the monastery, which placed the icon and named it Mary Anafonitriya (called, beckoning).
Another version of the remains of the smuggling ship that krushiral a result of persecution and bad weather conditions in 1983 of exotic turquoise bay, reinforced by the mystique of the remaining marine debris make this place exceptional tourist attraction.
With its green hills covered with flowers in spring and early summer, its beautiful landscapes, with some of the best beaches, with nightlife and easy access to the other Ionian islands of Zakynthos is among the most lavish and beautiful Greek Islands and is a dream destination for lovers of tourism and traveling around the world.