ZAKYNTHOS RADIO TAXI SERVICES
You are in Zakynthos which, has at various times been called «fiore di levante» (flower of the east), «beloved homeland», «floating garden», «magical island», «ilyessa» (forested area), «nemorosa» (wooded area)!
Now, begin to discover the charming Zakynthos town, the capital of the island, the clean, tranquil, shallow, sandy beaches, the sweet-smelling plains, the wooded mountains, the old monasteries, the picturesque churches and the warmth of its inhabitants. Eternally bathed in sunlight, Zakynthos is a lush green embrace you can never get enough of and because of this you will return many times!
Work began on the first coastal settlement outside the castle walls in the beginning of the 16th century and it was named “Borgo della marina.” In 1525 there were 1,051 houses and 4,620 inhabitants, while inside the fortress there were 245 houses and 1,216 inhabitants.
Before it lies the Ionian Sea, behind ascends the verdant hill of Bohali and the castle; exuding an air of nobility everywhere!
Neoclassical buildings, historic squares, arcades with impressive archways, balconies with traditional ironwork, churches with majestic belfries, picturesque kantounia (narrow streets), monuments and statues are there for you to explore. Visit it either in the morning or at night, it’s just as charming either way!
Begin unwinding the thread of your tour from Solomos Square, the largest in the town. It is surrounded by trees and imposing buildings with arched windows, pillars and archways. These buildings house the Town Hall, the National Bank, the Post-Byzantine Museum, the National Library (the ground floor of which accommodates the Zakynthos municipal band,the first brass band in the Ionian,founded in 1816), and various administrative services. Here you can see the bust of the Zakynthian-Italian poet Ugo Foscolo and the statue of Greece’s national poet Dionysios Solomos.
The Post-Byzantine Museum is well worth a visit to admire the rich collection of portable icons from the Heptanese School of Hagiography dating from Byzantine times up to the 19th century, iconostases from churches on the island that were brought here due to earthquakes, and also sculptures and statues from the Hellenistic and Byzantine periods.
Also pay a visit to the edge of the square where you will find the old church of Saint Nikolas of Molos dating from the 17th century, a Renaissance church with a Byzantine belfry! It is the only Venetian building that was saved from the fire that broke out after the earthquake of 1953!
From Solomos Square walk westward along the pavement and in 150 m. you will see St. Mark’s Square.
This historic square is linked to the island’s struggle for independence. On 30 July, 1797 the people of the island, wild with enthusiasm at the overthrow of Venetian rule, gathered in the little square and burned the “Libro d’oro” (the golden book), and the crests of the noblemen who were favoured instruments of the Venetians. Here you can visit the Catholic church of St. Mark and the museum of Solomos, Kalvos and other eminent Zakynthians where relics belonging to our national poet and other Zakynthians are displayed.
As you walk down the small pedestrian street next to the “Café Casino” you will come across Mitropoleos Street and the imposing Zakynthos Cathedral dedicated to Saint Nikolas.
Very near, two streets further down on Loukas Carrer Street (on the left, going down towards the sea), pay a visit to the church of Our Lady of the Angels built in Veneto-Cretan style in 1677.
From the south-western side of St. Mark’s square begins the so-called Rouga street (the market). In the beginning it is called “21st of May Street” and then becomes Alexander Roma Street, the most commercial street in the town with its picturesque arcades.
Wander down and purchase island products and other souvenirs. Perhaps relax for a while in a coffee bar.
If you are feeling energetic, head down Nikolaou Kolyva Street behind the Prefectural centre. Take Argasari Street and continue straight down Pikridiotissas Street, walking uphill towards the church of the Virgin Mary Pikridiotissas, and enjoy a stroll with an exceptional view over the town. If you like, continue walking uphill beyond the church through the pine forest and the path will lead you to the Venetian castle and the suburb of Bohali.
Try walking along the paved way by the city harbour, starting from Solomos square and ending up at the church of Saint Dionysios or vice versa. It is short and very enjoyable. On your left or your right, according to your direction, you will get an idea of how the town is built at the foot of the hill.
Starting off from behind the church of St. Nikolas of Molos in Solomos square, keeping the sea on your right, walk northwards along the paved way. You can have a pleasurable walk to the cape of Kryoneri (about 2 km.). There you can take a break while gazing out across the Ionian Sea and admiring the 18th century church of the Virgin Mary Kryoneritissas. It is an exceptionally idyllic place!
The church of the monastery of Saint Dionysios is the symbol of Zakynthos and rises majestically over the south side of the harbour! It is one of the three buildings in town that was not destroyed by the earthquake in 1953. It was built in 1925 in the style of a basilica with an imposing belfry. Enter the church and admire the exquisite frescoes. If you wish, kneel before the relic of the island’s patron saint Dionysios (1547-1622) that is kept in a silver reliquary.
About 150 m. to the north-west of Saint Dionysios at the junction of Doxaradon and Lisgara streets, stands the church of the Virgin Mary Faneromeni built in 1633. Prior to it being destroyed in the earthquake of 1953, it was one of the most beautiful churches in Greece. It was rebuilt, retaining its original external form.
Just a few minutes from the town centre along a pleasant route, through lush-green, sweet-smelling gardens, you will find yourself in the flower-laden suburb of Bohali that clings to the wooded hillside. Stand in awe of the unparalleled view over the town and the sea that you will remember as long as you live! You may also visit the little church of the Virgin Mary Chrysopigi with its icon of the Virgin.
If you turn and look above the town, you will see the wooded hill with the castle, which was inhabited during the 13th and 14th century B.C. It was already fortified by the middle of the 5th century B.C. The first written evidence as to the existence of a fortress named «Castle» dates back to the 15th century.
During the Venetian occupation, a medieval town stood here, with narrow, winding streets (in 1546, a census registered 252 houses and 1,702 inhabitants). The town also included: a Government House, prison, gunpowder store, 32 machine-guns, barracks, an old people’s home, hospital, library, archive, 12 Orthodox and 5 Catholic churches, a theatre built in 1,750 to seat 300, a water supply system, tanks, cisterns and wells.
The present walls were constructed in 1646, preceded by many repairs and reconstructions. It was reputed among the Turks to be an «impregnable» castle! Go in and look around. Passing through the gates, you will feel a mysterious charm awakening memories of long-gone ages, battles, conquerors, heroes, princes and pirates!
"It is the fortress, the final refuge of conscience, dignity and gallantry which we would not wish to surrender it!" The pine forest, which was planted in 1939 and covers the whole area, is the ideal place for a walk. The view of all parts of the island is unique.
Strani Hill is a particularly historic place, embracing the hearts of millions of Greeks through the ages, every time we sing our national anthem. As this is quite possibly the fatherland, the home, of all Greeks! It was here that in May 1823 Dionysios Solomos (1798-1857) sat in the shade of the trees and with the sound of cannon fire from Messolongi in his ears, wrote our national anthem!
A cobblestone street that starts from the main road leading to Bohali, ends at a small open space where the bust of the poet stands. Along with its historic memories, you can enjoy the tranquility and the exquisite panoramic view.
ALL OVER ZAKYNTHOS ISLAND