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Zakynthos is inhabited since the prehistoric years and is often referred to in the epics of Homer. The Zakynthian culture was strongly influenced by the Romans and other civilizations who settled there but it flourished greatly during the Venetian period. Zakynthos is home to various museums and first on this list is the Byzantine Museum of Zakynthos housed in one of the oldest buildings, in Solomos square. The rich collection consists of Byzantine icons, frescoes made by Cretan artists and other impressive sculpture works from the 16th century.
Solomos Museum opened its doors to visitors in 1959 presenting many items from the personal collection of Dionysios Solomos, the renowned Greek poet, as well as works of other literate men. The museum's exhibition focuses on other forms of art and among them are paintings, musical instruments, ceramics, and sculpture works. Next to Solomos Museum is the Municipal Library with interesting manuscripts from the 18th century.
Some kilometers outside the capital of Zakynthos you will meet the Helmis Natural Museum which aims to provide insight and ways to protect the island's ecosystem. Visitors can see a nice collection o rare animal species.
The naval history of Zakynthos from the 18th century to modern times is beautifully portrayed in the Naval Museum located in Tsivili, through a nice exhibition including ship models, books and traditional machinery. Zakynthos is the birthplace of many artists, among them Grigorios Xenopoulos, one of the most famous playwriters in Greece. The two-storey house, where the writer spent his childhood, is now a museum that displays his personal belongings.
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