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Island History

Zakynthos is a Greek island located in the Ionian sea. The third largest island in the region, Zakynthos is a popular tourist destination, with the nickname of The flower of the east. Many who visit the island fall in love with it and return year upon year.

The history of Zakynthos is a mixed one. The Greek poet Homer mentioned the island in his works, the Odyssey and the Illiad, and over time it has been ruled by many including Byzantine, Greeks, Neopolitans, The Russians, The French and The British. The island is now Greek once more, and is very proud of its Greek heritage. Zakynthos was invaded by both the Italians and Greeks during World War Two, and it is famous for having saved its entire Jewish populous during the war by protecting and hiding them from the Germans.

The island is situated in an earthquake zone, and has been subject to a number of severe earthquakes throughout its history. In 1953 it suffered badly when four large earthquakes, the largest being 7.3 on the Richter scale, razed much of the island to the ground. Only three buildings in the main town, Zakynthos Town, remained standing; the island was eventually cleared and rebuilt. Zakynthos still gets earthquakes, but residents and businesses are very prepared for them and most, if not all buildings, are built to a strict code and are safe nowadays.

As well as being home for many Greek families, the island is also now second home to many International residents. The famous landmark of Navagio, or shipwreck cove, is one of the most photographed images in the world, and tourists flock to the island from all over the world to explore, visit the numerous beautiful beaches, swim in the clear turquoise seas and enjoy the good food, hospitality and nightlife that is plentiful.

Located on the south of the island is the National Maritime Park of Zakynthos. It is home to endangered loggerhead turtles that nest on the island. They are protected and preserved by specialist teams who not only educate visitors about the protected species, but also ensure that the turtles nest safely, hatch, grow and thrive. Visitors can see the turtles in the areas of Laganas Bay all the way across to Kalamaki and Gerakas.