Hotels in Greece, Cyprus. Greek travel guide
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Harbour Police Corps
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Have a swim at the wide sandy beaches in the company of sea turtles, go snorkelling or scuba diving between rocks and in underwater caves. Take a sailboat out or go surfing. Make a trekking-tour in the mountain-areas. Enjoy the great weather on the sunniest island in the Mediterranean , and let yourself be swept away by the rhythms of Zakynthian life, joining the hospitable people of this island. But that's not all. Zakynthos (its total size is 406 square km) has much more to offer, so use the special links on the left navigation board to see the aspects of this island of sea turtles, in which you may have an interest . The beaches of Zakynthos are hosting the last and most important concentration of Loggerhead " Caretta caretta " nesting sites in the Mediterranean .
According of Homer, the first inhabitant of the island was Prince Zakynthos , the son of King Dardanos of Troy , who arrived here between 1500 and 1600 B.C. Thereafter, the island was inhabited by the Arcadians, whose culture developed through the exploitation of the fertile soil. They went on to found colonies (the well-known Zakantha in Spain , whose culture flourished for more than a thousand years, until 218 BC when it was destroyed by Annivas . During the Macedonian War, the island was occupied by the Macedonians, and afterwards by the Romans. After the first years under the command of a Roman governor, the island was granted the right to be governed by its own laws, have its own municipality, parliament, legislature, and currency with a local symbol. This era contributed to a great cultural development on Zakynthos.In 34 A.D. Maria Magdalena and Maria Klopa , on their way to Rome , brought Christianity to the island and the name of the village Maries is a proof of this fact. Every year there is a great ceremony and feast to commemorate this event. Constantine the Great, during the Byzantine era, included Zakynthos in the province of Illyria . During this time the island suffered from pirates and, later on, also from the Crusaders, passing from the East to the West. In 1084, the island was occupied by the Venetians; and from the end of the 12th century until 1357, by the French.In 1357, the De Toki dynasty settled on the island. They contributed to administrative and economic organization, which resulted in an important growth and development of Zakynthos until the Turks attacked and the people had to escape from the island to the Peloponnesian mainland. In 1485, the Venetians occupied the island again and called back the inhabitants to their fields and homes. In the famous Libro d`Oro are recorded the names of the Venetian nobility. The island developed, and the city was reconstructed in an impressive architectural style. From these times on, Zakynthos was named the Florence of Greece. Separation of the population into " nobili ", " civili " and " popolari " took place. The popolari rebelled against the nobili . The revolution is also well known as the "rebellion of the popolari".With the French Revolution in 1789 the Zakynthians brought the ideals of social equity and justice on the island. On July 4, 1797 , the French democratic flag was raised on the castle of Zakynthos . Dicrimination was abolished and schools for all children were established.
In October 1798, the Turkish fleet besieged Zakynthos . On March 21, 1800 , a treaty between Turkey and Russia was signed. This contract established the first independent Greek State of the Seven Islands and was effective for seven years. In 1809, the British fleet occupied Zakynthos , and Zakynthos then became the titular capital of the Ionian State . At the same time, the rest of Greece was under Turkish occupation. With a base in Zakynthos , the Philiki Etairia (Company of Friends) promoted the rebellion against the Turks.In 1830, Greece became independent. Then in 1851, a member of Parliament Ioannis Typaldos Kapelatos suggested the union of the Seven Islands with Greece . The British reacted violently, but the Zakynthians under leadership of Constantine Lamvardos carried on the struggle for the union with Greece . Finally, on May 21 in 1864, the Greek flag was raised on the island .. During World War II, the Italians and the Germans occupied Zakynthos until its liberation on September 12, 1944 . The big earthquake in 1953, together with a seven-day firestorm, destroyed most of the monuments of cultural development on the island and the few still remaining give only a slight hint of its glorious past. In the Museum, you can see the miniature of the town before the earthquake.
Twelve thousand residents inhabit the capital town of the Island , which also is the main ferry-port. The town has been extensively rebuilt since the big earthquake of 1953. In the summer months the town gets very busy, but there is plenty to see, such as the market places, stores, museums, churches, the library and much more.
The New Museum, with artwork in the Byzantine and post- Byzantine style, can be found at Solomou Square .
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