Visit "Fior di Levante"

Zakynthos (Zante)

Green, full of natural beauties, Zakynthos lies at 8.5 nm south of the island of Cephalonia, and at 9.5 nm west of Kyllini of Elis in the Western Peloponnese. It has an area of 402 sq km, a length of 34 km and a width of 22 km. The highest peak is Vrachionas at a height of 756 m. The soil is fertile with rich vegetation. Main products are olives, citrus fruits, raisins and flowers.

The coastline has a length of 123 km. In the northwest the shores are rocky and steep, with coves and caves, but in the east and mainly in the south are low with beautiful sandy beaches. On the south side the large bay of Laganas is formed, declared a National Marine Park to protect the sea turtle Caretta Caretta.

The island, a famous tourist destination, has many beautiful locations and offers to the visitor all the facilities and services. Zakynthos Town is located at the south of the eastern coast. It experienced damages by earthquakes, which were the cause of losing many of the old buildings and monuments, but retains its main features with arcades and large squares. Zakynthos or Zante, Il Fioro di Levante (Flower of the East), as it was called by the Venetians, was a major cultural center with great artistic tradition.

The island was named after Zakynthos, the son of Dardanus, King of Phrygia. It was conquered by Arkisios from Cephalonia, grandfather of Odysseus. During the Peloponnesian War was an ally of the Athenians. Then, came the Macedonians and later the Romans. During the Byzantine era it was plundered by the Vandals and pirates. In 1185 it was conquered along with Cephalonia by William II of Sicily. The Sicilians founded the County Palatine of Cephalonia and Zante and the islands were under the sovereignty of the Orsini (1197 - 1325), the Anjou (1325 - 1357) and the Tocci (1357-1479).

Then came the Venetians and stayed three centuries. At the turn of the 15th century to the 16th century they fled to the island many fugitives from the Peloponnese, but also settlers from Venice and Cyprus. Then the cultivation of raisins began, which became an important source of wealth. The 1629 there was an uprising there, known in history as the Rembelio (Revolt) of Popolari.

As in all the Ionian Islands, in 1797 - 1799 came the French of the Revolution and then the Russians. In 1800, with the Convention of Constantinople, the State of the Seven Islands was established for the autonomy of the Ionian Islands. In 1807 came the French of the Napoleonic imperial era and in 1815 the British. The island, along with the other Ionian Islands, was united with Greece on May 21, 1864.

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