For a small island, Zakynthos has a wealth of interesting and important museums that aim to highlight and educate visitors with the historical, traditional and environmental sides of the island. There’s something for everyone and whether you’re interested in learning more for educational purposes, or just wanting to delve further into Zakynthos rich culture, history and environment to get a better understanding of it, there’s a great choice of museums for island visitors. This is our second post about Zakynthos museums and it features Ancient History, Maritime and War.
The Byzantine Museum of Zakynthos is located in Solomos Square, Zakynthos Town. The largest museum on the island, it highlights the extensive Byzantine history of the island, as well as the post Byzantine era. It was rebuilt in 1950’s, as the original building was destroyed during the Great Ionian Earthquake of 1953. The museum is a great step into the past, one that helps the visitor view the island as it used to be, with wooden icons, frescos and other artefacts dating from the fiftieth to seventeenth centuries. Some of these items have come from sites on the island that no longer exist or are mere ruins. There is also a great collection by artists Damakinos, Doxaras, Kallergis, Koutouzis and Tzanes, making it a perfect opportunity for art lovers to enjoy something they love too.
History War Museum is located in Laganas at the Galaxy Beach Resort Hotel. This museum specialises in the history of war with lots of interesting displays, memorabilia and exhibits that reflect well known wars that have taken place in recent history. Some of the displays have combat scenes from the Korean, Vietnam and Second World War, with authentic vehicles, artefacts and other historical items that were used during those battles. It’s a really interesting museum for visitors who like learning about these periods of history or who want to know more about what happened during these wars. It’s also a great learning resource for children. The museum is open daily and there are also guided tours.
The Naval Museum (also known as the Milano Maritime Museum) is in Tsilivi. The Museum highlights the lengthy maritime history of Zakynthos, from ancient seafaring days right through to modern times. It was opened by the Navy and has an extensive number of displays that include the evolution of maritime history and details about maritime transport. There are also many artefacts including, books, photographs, historical documents, uniforms, models and other interesting Naval pieces. An important part of the museum is a documentary and information on HMS Perseus, a submarine that sank between Zakynthos and Kefalonia during WW2. The museum is also a confirmed Greek Ministry of Education source for educational visits.
The Town Hall Library (also known as the Municipal Library) is in Solomos Square, Zakynthos Town, and has been the keeper of books, and old papers for centuries. It is thought that the library dates back to 1628 and over time, items were donated by residents to make up what was an important and extensive collection. Sadly the original library, which held many books, archaeological collections and important papers relating to Zakynthos, was destroyed by the 1953 earthquake and subsequent fires. Many items were lost, but through perseverance and tens of thousands of donations, the library has since been rebuilt and now holds not only books but local paintings, papers and a gallery containing old furniture and other items.
Whichever museum you choose to visit have a great time, you’ll definitely learn something new about Zakynthos!