Infobox Pref GR
name = Zakynthos
name_local = Νομός Ζακύνθου
capital = Zakynthos
population = 41,472
population_as_of = 2005
pop_rank = 51st
pop_dens = 102.1
popdens_rank = 8th
area = 406
area_rank = 52nd
postal_code = 29x xx
area_code = 26950
licence = ΖΑ
municip = 6
ISO = GR-21
website = [http://www.zakynthos.gr www.zakynthos.gr]
Zakynthos (Greek: Ζάκυνθος(Audio-IPA|Ell-Zakynthos.ogg| [ˈzacinθos] ), sometimes called Zante in English; in Italian Zacinto or Zante), the third largest of the
Ionian Islands, covers an area of convert|410|km2|sqmi|0|abbr=on and its coastline is roughly convert|123|km|mi|0|abbr=on in length. The island is named after Zakynthos, the son of a legendary Arcadian chief Dardanus. The name, like all similar names ending in -nthos, is pre-Mycenaean or Pelasgianin origin. Zakynthos has a thriving tourism industry.
*1991: 32,556 (island), 13,000 (city)
In 2006, there were 507 births and 407 deaths. [http://www.statistics.gr/eng_tables/S201_SPO_1_TS_00_06_2_Y_EN.pdf] . Zakynthos is one of the regions with highest population growth in Greece. It is also one of the only 3 prefectures (Out of 54) in which rural population have a positive population growth rate. In fact rural population have higher growth rate than the urban population in Zakynthos. Out of the 507 births, 141 were in urban areas and 366 were in rural areas. Out of the 407 deaths, 124 were in urban areas and 283 were in rural areas.
List of settlements in the Zakynthos prefecture
Zakynthos has a varied terrain, with fertile plains in the southeastern part and mountainous terrain with steep cliffs along the coasts on the west. Zakynthos town coordinates are: Latitude 37.79139/37°47'29 N, Longitude: 20.89528/20°53'43 E.
Mediterraneanclimate and the plentiful winter rainfall endow the island with dense vegetation. The principal products are olive oil, currants, grapes and citrusfruit.
The capital, which has the same name as the prefecture, is the town of Zakynthos; apart from the official name, it is also called "Chora" (i.e. the Town, a common denomination in Greece when the name of the island itself is the same as the name of the principal town). According to the 2001 census, the island has a population of 38,957.
Among the most famous Zakynthians is the 19th century poet
Dionysios Solomos, the principal modern Greek poetand author of the national anthemof Greece. His statue adorns the main town square. Also the explorer Juan de Fuca(Ioannis Focas) and the Italian poet Ugo Foscolowere born here.
The island has one airport, the
Dionysos Solomos Airport(on former GR-35) in its southwest which connects flights with other Greek airports. Further southwest is the National Marine Park of Zakynthoswhere loggerhead turtles (" Caretta caretta") are found in the bay of Kalamaki. "Caretta caretta" is an endangered species- especially by the deck chairs laid out on their breeding grounds and the inevitable pollution. Every year at the beginning of June, the female turtles come to the southern beaches in order to bury their eggs in the sand. The incubation period for the nest is approximately fifty five days, after which time hatchlings emerge from the nest and make their way to the sea. The survival rate for hatchlings is very small, and it is estimated that only one in one thousand hatchlings that enter the sea live to adulthood. Each nest contains around one hundred to one hundred and twenty eggs, each of which are around the size and shape of a ping-pong ball. Female turtles begin to lay nests at around twenty to thirty years of age.
The port of Zakynthos has a ferry connecting to the port of Kyllini on the mainland. Another ferry connects the village of Skinari to
Argostolion the island of Kefalonia.
Zante currant, a small sweet seedless grapeis native to the island.
*Island length: 40 km
*Island width: 20 km
Vrachionas, 758 m
Sites of interest include Shipwreck Bay, Cape
Skinariand the Blue Caves. The western part of the island is accessible and has a panoramic view of the sea. The ridge area from Anafontria has an observation deck which overlooks the shipwreck and there is a monastery nearby.
Keri is located in the far south of the island. It is a mountain village and has a lighthouse in the south. It includes a panorama of the southern part of the
For tourist facilities, Zante has campsites and beaches including, a beautiful strech near Keri, around 100 m in length and surrounded by cliffs. The island also offers a plethora of arches and cliffs which are widely known beyond the island ; One is underground. Several documentaries have been filmed around this area of Zakynthos/Zante. Beaches are to be found in Porto Limnionas, Porto Vromi and Porto Zoro.
Zakynthos was inhabited from the
Neolithic Age, as some archaeologicalexcavations have proved.
The famous ancient Greek poet and writer,
Homer, first mentioned the island in his masterpieces, the Iliadand the Odyssey, stating that the first inhabitants of it were the son of King Dardanos of Troy called Zakynthos and his men and that they first came on the island around 1500-1600 BC.
The island was then conquered by the Great Imperial King Arkeisios of Kefalonia. The famous Ulysses ("
Odysseus" in Greek) from Ithacawas the next King to conquer the island.
Later on, a treaty was signed that made Zakynthos an independent democracy, the first established in the Hellenic area, and that lasted more than 650 years.
Zakynthos, along with the rest of the Ionian islands, spent centuries as a subject of the
Republic of Veniceand other Italian principalities. Italian rule protected the island from Ottoman domination but in its place it put a feudal oligarchy. The cultural influence of Italy (and of Italian on local dialect) was considerable. The wealthy made a habit of sending their sons to Italy to be educated. A good example is Dionysios Solomos, a native of Zakynthos and Greece's national poet. However, both the Greek language and Orthodox faith survived intact. During the Napoleonic wars the islands were occupied at different times by France, as part of the département Mer-Égée(which induced the peasants to revolt), Russia, Turkey ( Septinsular Republic) and finally Britain, which held on to them under the guise of the United States of the Ionian Islandsuntil 1864, when they were ceded to Greece to stabilize the rule of the newly crowned Danish-born King of Greece, Georgios I.
The Great Earthquake of 1953
This "paradise on earth" suffered a series of four severe
earthquakes in August 1953, resulting in the total destruction of the island's infrastructure, including most of its state archives. The third and most destructive of those quakes, registering 7.3 on the Richter Scale, occurred at 09:24 UTC (11:24 am local time) on August 12, 1953. It had its epicentre directly on the southern tip of the nearby island of Kefaloniaand caused widespread destruction there as well. In addition, the quake was felt throughout most of the country. Only three buildings on Zakynthos were left standing after the disaster: the St. Dionysios Cathedral, the National Bank building and the church of St. Nicholas "tou Molou" (of the Quay). A few other buildings in outlying areas managed to avoid complete collapse. The first relief efforts came from the British Royal Navy and the state of Israel; during Nazi Germany's occupation of the island, the island's Bishop Chrysostomos gave the Germans a list of Jews on the island. It was a list of two names; his own and the mayor's. Israel's relief came with a message that read "The Jews of Zakynthos have never forgotten their Mayor and their beloved Bishop and what they did for us." [http://www.ushmm.org/museum/exhibit/online/greece/nonflash/eng/zakyntho.htm Zakynthos: The Holocaust in Greece] , "United States Holocaust Memorial Museum", URL accessed April 15 2006.] The rebuilding of the island was subject to a very rigid anti-seismic code, and has thus withstood several moderate and powerful earthquakes at a small amount of damage.
After the quake
After the enormous earthquake, the island's roads were expanded and paved along with the GR-35, one of the roads linking with the town and
Porto Romaalong with Laganas, Keri and Volimes and from Lachans to Keri. Its airport was opened in the 1960s. Its population partly emigrated but subsequently boomed in later years. Miningis also common on the island. A small mountain located in Zakynthos' west side was mined during the 1990s, though it is no longer in use. Today, mining continues, but with two quarries on the mountain range on the western part of the island. Tourism continues to thrive and Zakynthos is currently one of the most popular tourist destinations in Greece.
A few earthquakes rumbled later in the
2000s, one on Sunday June 8, 2008at 6.4 R, felt without any damages or injuries. Another but less trembling four months later occurred on Saturday October 11and measured at 4 R also nearly causing no damages.
The April 2006 Earthquake Swarm
Starting in the early morning hours of
April 4, 2006, a series of moderate to strong earthquakes occurring on an almost daily basis began shaking almost the entire island. On April 11, however, the phenomenon intensified in both magnitude and rate of events. At 03:02 local time of that day, a powerful, magnitude 5.7 earthquake hit the area, only to be followed by an even stronger tremor, registering at 5.9 on the Richter Scale, at 8:30 p.m. (20:30) EET. On April 12, a committee of the nation's most prominent seismologists had an emergency meeting with the Greek Ministry of Environment and Public Works, in order to assess the emerging situation. The meeting ended in a scientific consensus that this specific area of the Ionian Sea was simply not ready to produce an even stronger quake, advising the nervous citizens of the island to remain calm. However, at 19:52 and at 19:56 local time of that same evening, two more earthquakes shook the region sending scores of terrified people into the streets. The earthquakes had a preliminary moment magnitude of 5.8 and 5.4 respectively. Seismologists at the Athens Seismological Institutewere once again taken by surprise by what turned into an unprecedented riddle concerning whether or not these were in fact foreshocks of a major event. The chances are, nonetheless, that this was just a phenomenon known as earthquake swarm, characterized by a pattern of a considerable amount of magnitude-wise similar tremors, all occurring within a limited number of days or weeks. As a result of the recurring jolts, moderate damage was reported to a total of sixty residencies and one library, while a small crack appeared on the eastern part of the capital's port. In addition, several rocks tumbled down onto one of the island's main roads, running through its mountainous areas.
The Ionian Islands are situated upon one of Europe's most notorious
faults, capable of producing earthquakes potentially causing both widespread damage and considerable loss of life. However it should be stressed that, following the catastrophe of 1953, the authorities of Zakynthos have enforced a strict program of antiseismic standards to be applied in every building to be constructed. All buildings have been built on a swimming slab and enforced with steel, determined by the government to ensure safety. As a result, an earthquake similar to that of August 12, 1953, will almost certainly result in far less destruction.
After the quake and the Wildfires of 2006
July 18, 2006, the western portion of the island was hit by a forest fire. The fire spread to the island's forest and ended up spreading by hectares. Firefighters along with helicopters and planes from the mainland arrived to fight the fire's expansion and further deforestation. The fire lasted for several days and on July 20, much of the area was contained; though it had become unpopular and unattractive scenery. One of the conflagrations appeared as a fiery line visible from as far away as the southern portion of the island and the Ionian Sea.
The island offers exceptional attractions for divers. Many of the dive sites are cave dives around the island ; a wide range of marine life can be found, and common amongst it are moray eels, monk seals, octopus, and loggerhead turtles (caretta caretta).
Greece National Road 35, a road linking Zante and Porto Roma; and another road linking Zante and Volimes.
Ημέρα τση Ζάκυθος
* [http://www.islandfm.gr/ ISLAND FM 88.6] English speaking with English music and news
* [http://www.stigmafm.gr/ Stigma Radio 97.6] Greek speaking with mainly English music
*Astrafm 90.6 Greek speaking with mainly English music
* [http://www.bravofm.gr/ Bravo Radio 89.6] Greek speaking with mainly Greek music
Aris Agios Dimitrios- Agios Dimitrios
Asteras Macherado Zakynthos- Macherado
A.E. Kalamaki- Kalamaki
Katastari AC- Katastari
Peiratis Lagkana- Lagkana
Thyella Ampelokipi- Ampelokipoi
A.P.S. Zakynthos- Zakynthos
A.E. Lagkana, merged with Peiratis to form Peiratis Lagkanba
Peiratis Zakynthos, merged with A.E. Lagkana to form Peiratis Lagkana
Notable people from Zakynthos
Dionysios of Zakynthos16th century
Nikolaos Koutouzis(1741-1813), painter
Ugo Foscolo(1778-1827), Greek-Italian writer
Andreas Kalvos(1789-1869), poet
Dionysios Solomos(1798-1857), poet, creator of the Greek national anthem
Pavlos Carrer(1829-1896), composer
Leonidas Zois(1865-1956), historian
George Costakis(1913-1990), art collector
Kostas Dikefalos(1956), sculptor
Spyrodon Tsoukalas(1950), "King of Zante"
Dionysios Tsoukalas(1973), "Prince of Zante"
Antonia Tsoukalas(2002), "Original Princess"
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