Greece Estate Group

ZAKYNTHOS

October 13, 2008

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Zakynthos, also Zante, the other form often used in English and in Italian (Greek: Ζάκυνθος; Venetian: Zacinto), is the third largest of the Ionian Islands. It covers an area of 410 km2 (158 sq mi) and its coastline is roughly 123 km (76 mi) in length. The island is named after Zakynthos, the son of a legendary Arcadian chief Dardanus. The name, like all similar names ending in -nthos, is pre-Mycenaean or Pelasgian in origin. Zakynthos has a thriving tourism industry.

Zakynthos has a varied terrain, with fertile plains in the southeastern part and mountainous terrain with steep cliffs along the coasts on the west. Zakynthos town coordinates are: Latitude 37.79139/37°47’29 N, Longitude: 20.89528/20°53’43 E.

The mild, Mediterranean climate and the plentiful winter rainfall endow the island with dense vegetation. The principal products are olive oil, currants, grapes and citrus fruit.

The capital, which has the same name as the prefecture, is the town of Zakynthos; apart from the official name, it is also called Chora (i.e. the Town, a common denomination in Greece when the name of the island itself is the same as the name of the principal town). The population is more than 40 000.

The island has one airport, the Zakynthos International Airport, “Dionysios Solomos” (on former GR-35) in its southwest which connects flights with other Greek airports. Further southwest is the National Marine Park of Zakynthos where loggerhead sea turtles (Caretta caretta) are found in the Bay of Kalamaki. Caretta caretta is an endangered species – especially by the deck chairs laid out on their breeding grounds and the inevitable pollution. Every year at the beginning of June, the female turtles come to the southern beaches in order to bury their eggs in the sand. The incubation period for the nest is approximately fifty five days, after which time hatchlings emerge from the nest and make their way to the sea. The survival rate for hatchlings is very small, and it is estimated that only one in one thousand hatchlings that enter the sea live to adulthood. Each nest contains around one hundred to one hundred and twenty eggs, each of which are around the size and shape of a ping-pong ball. Female turtles begin to lay nests at around twenty to thirty years of age.

The port of Zakynthos has a ferry connecting to the port of Kyllini on the mainland. Another ferry connects the village of Skinari to Argostoli on the island of Kefalonia.

Greece Estate Group