Zakynthos Town: The capital and main harbour of Zakynthos is called Zakynthos Town, or Zante, and has a population of about 10.000 inhabitants. The town located on the eastern part of the island used to have a unique architecture influenced by the Venetians, the French and the English who colonised the island. However, the major earthquake of 1452 destroyed a big part of the elegant mansions and fine neoclassical buildings that used to embellish the capital.
Today only a few traditional buildings and churches can be seen in the town. The new town was built on the ruins of the ancient one in an attempt to preserve the traditional architecture but this was only possible in a few areas, like the spacious Solomos Square.
The long waterfront extending between the Solomos Square (on its right) and the Church of Agios Dionysios, saint patron of the island (on its left) is the most popular and crowded spot of Zakynthos, lining with many restaurants, tourist shops and ferry agencies.
All the commercial and cultural life of the island is concentrated on the third parallel street of the waterfront. Solomos Square is quite large, boarded by some elegantly arched buildings. The square was given the name of the famous Greek poet Dionysios Solomos who wrote the Greek National Hymn. A museum was founded to celebrate the life and work of the poet.
The capital of Zakynthos also has a Museum of Post Byzantine Art which stands on Solomos square, as well as a museum dedicated to the life and work of the Greek novelist and play writer Gregorios Xenopoulos, located close to the Church of Agios Dionysios which stands on the left end of the waterfront. The corps of the saint is kept there, in a silver carved reliquary. The church also houses some beautiful and valuable wall paintings.
Another very interesting church of the town is the Church of Agios Nikolas of Molos, located on the waterfront. A Venetian fortress used to rise over the capital but today only the gate and the outer walls are still standing. However, the view over Zakynthos Town and its surroundings from this spot is astonishing.
Activities and entertainment