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Zakynthos Capital City - Zakynthos island

Zakynthos Capital City

The town of Zakynthos is a beautiful and very lively tourist centre of the Greek island of Zakynthos, an important historical site and an important port town. The capital of Zakynthos lies on the southeast coast of the island of Zakynthos, at the foot of Bochali Hill.

Zakynthos, Zakynthos Capital City on the map Google maps

The capital of Zakynthos, often called Zante or Chora (meaning "town"), is situated in a large and open bay on the southeast coast of Zakynthos. The main town of Zante offers visitors many interesting ways to get to know the place better and enjoy their time in the picturesque port town, on the shores of the Ionian Sea.

In the field of architecture in particular, the influence of the so-called Venetian culture, which developed on Zakynthos between the 15th and 18th centuries, can still be seen in the capital. The town was home to splendid Venetian mansions, family houses and public buildings with arches and arched windows, some of which included arcades. Picturesque squares and streets were created, linking the town's vernacular houses and numerous stone churches with the new buildings. Unfortunately, in 1953 a very strong earthquake hit Zakynthos, causing extensive damage all over the island. The capital was almost completely devastated by the strong tremors and subsequent fires and had to be rebuilt. In the reconstruction of Zante and its historical monuments, emphasis was placed on preserving as much as possible the original appearance of the individual buildings, but equally on protecting the buildings from the effects of any further earthquakes.

Today, Zante is primarily a bustling tourist centre, where visitors will find many restaurants, tavernas, caf├ęs and countless shops selling a variety of goods. Of course, there are other public services such as ATMs, pharmacies, hairdressers, post offices and car rental. Tourists from other resorts also head to the capital for entertainment and nightlife.

Sights of the capital of Zakynthos

The Church of St. Dionysus is the largest church on Zakynthos and the symbol of the capital city of Zante. It stands on the seafront, near Zakynthos harbour, and includes a tall, white bell tower. The church, which miraculously survived the devastating earthquake of 1953, holds the relics of Saint Dionysus, the patron and protector of Zakynthos. The interior of the church is beautifully decorated with frescoes, murals, golden elements and stained glass windows and is dominated by a beautiful iconostasis.

Only three major buildings in the capital - the Church of St. Dionysius, the National Bank building and the Church of St. Nicholas - withstood the strong earthquake of 1953. The Church of St. Nicholas (Agios Nikolaos Molos) is also located on the waterfront of the port city of Zante, north of the Church of St. Dionysius along the coastal street of Santa Marina, in Dionysius Soloma Square. The church of St. Nicholas dates from the second half of the 16th century, during the Renaissance, and in reverence to St. Dionysos, it still preserves his religious vestments. The bell tower of the church once housed a harbour lighthouse, and today, the Good Friday procession regularly leaves from here during Easter.

The largest square in the capital Zante is that of Dionysios Solomos, the national poet of Greece who wrote the Greek national anthem. His statue and the Byzantine Museum are located in the square. It is said that Dionysios Solomos wrote Greece's national anthem on nearby Strani Hill, inspired by the panoramic views and sounds of the Greek Revolution. In honour of this famous poet, a monument and a bust of him were erected on the hill, in the pleasant surroundings of the surrounding pine and olive trees.

Just a few steps away is another beautiful square, St. Mark's Square, which dates back to the Venetian period and was also very famous at that time as it was the main meeting place for Venetian nobles. In the square stands the Catholic Church and the Museum of D. Solomos, A. Kalvo and other important figures of the island of Zakynthos. The beautiful neoclassical building of the museum hosts a permanent collection and exhibition of portraits of important figures of Zakynthos as well as manuscripts and personal objects of Dionysios Solomos.

Another important figure in the history of Zakynthos was Alexander Romas, a representative of the island's modern political and military history, speaker of the Greek Parliament and a fighter in the struggle for the liberation of Ioannina. The large family mansion of A. Romas was repaired after the earthquake and was also opened to the public (unfortunately, it is now closed). One of Zante's main streets, A. Roma Street, was also named after him, lined with low buildings with beautiful balconies and climbing plants and a variety of shops and caf├ęs.

Just above the capital rises the famous Bochali hill, which offers stunning views in all directions, but especially of the beautiful town of Zakynthos with its harbour and the blue distances of the Ionian Sea. The drive up to the village of Bochali itself offers beautiful views, and the view from the caf├ę and church in the village of Bochali or even higher from the walls of Bochali Fortress is also popular.

There is a tourist train in Zante, which is especially loved by children, and it is also a fun and relaxed way to explore the capital. The train departs from Solomos Square and takes tourists around the most important monuments and other tourist destinations in Zakynthos.

The town of Zante and its social life

The capital of Zakynthos is a modern town with a wealth of services that are very accessible to both tourists and locals. The town has a wide variety of shops ranging from souvenir, postcard and jewellery stalls, to grocery and convenience stores, to homeware and tool shops. Similarly, there are also a large number of refreshment options in the city - very popular traditional taverns, restaurants (including the really luxurious ones or those located on the roofs of houses), fast food stands, cafes and bars.

Among the more famous, busier places are especially Solomos Square, St. Mark's Square and A. Roma Street, where there are many shops, tavernas and bars. They come alive especially in the early evening when the square fills with lights, music and of course people. Bars and nightlife also operate on the coastal promenade of Santa Marina.

Zante has good transport links to other resorts on the island, so we definitely recommend a visit to this beautiful capital. This is both during the day, when you can take a pleasant excursion and visit the historical monuments of Zakynthos, stroll through its picturesque streets and have some of the traditional Greek dishes, and of course at night, as the main streets of Zante are alive long into the morning. To get back, you can use for example the taxi service, which is well available in the town.

Of course, tourists can also stay right in the capital and enjoy its beauty and services from the immediate vicinity. There are many hotels of different levels and services (dining, entertainment, etc.) in the city, so everyone can choose according to their preferences. If one prefers to stay in private apartments, studios or villas, these are more widespread in the outskirts of the city or in nearby resorts such as Bochali, Akrotiri, etc.

Visitors can also get to know the local culture through concerts, exhibitions and religious traditions that are still observed throughout the island. Twice a year, processions are held in the capital in connection with the Church of St. Dionysius - on 17 December, the anniversary of the saint's death, and on 24 August, when the remains of St. Dionysius were transferred to Zakynthos. The capital of Zakynthos is also constantly developing and slowly expanding inland.

Port and beaches in Zakynthos

The capital of Zakynthos is a coastal town with the main port of the island of Zakynthos. From the port of Zakynthos, in addition to ferries and larger cargo ships, there are also smaller cruise ships and boats that tourists can rent and experience the island of Zakynthos from the sea side. Some of the most popular boat trips include sailing around the northern tip of the island to see the so-called blue caves, sailing past the Skinari lighthouse and sailing to the famous Navagio bay, but you can also sail south to Laganas bay with the islets of Marathonisi and Pelouzo.

The capital also has its own beach, which is not as well known and popular as other beaches on Zakynthos and is mainly visited by locals, but you can spend a pleasant summer afternoon there. Zakynthos beach starts behind the harbour and follows the coastline northwards towards Cape Krioneri. Zakynthos beach is pebbly, long and rather narrow, but the sea is sparkling clean. In addition to swimming and sunbathing, it offers other activities such as tennis courts, children's parks and a yacht club. We recommend having dinner in one of the local coastal tavernas and enjoying a really beautiful view of the sunset.

More touristic destinations of Zakynthos

Tips for trips on Zakynthos: Zakynthos Capital City, Marathonisi (Turtle Island), Blue Caves, Aristeon Press and Museum, Olympia, Callinico Winery, Water park Zante Water Village (Sarakinado), Shipwreck (Navagio Beach)

Resorts, beaches, sights or trips - clearly listed on the map of Zakynthos.

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