Zante Sights - Strofades Islands - Holidays in Zakynthos
Strofades Islands - Zakynthos Greece
Strofades is a complex of two small rocky islands named Arpya and Stamfani, at a distance of 25 nautical miles southern to Cape Keri in Zakynthos.
According to the ancient author Apollonius the Rodian, it is because of their flat landscape that they were called “Plotai Nissoi” (“floating islands”). Virgilius in the Aenaede suggests that the islands have been called Strofades (meaning “the island which turn”) because of the following myth: “Zetis and Kalais, the sons of Voreas (the northern wind) and Orithia, were after the Harpies, who lived on these islands. When the two men arrived near the islets, they suddenly left the pursuit and “turned back”; the islands got their name as a memory of this event.
In 1241 the Byzantine princess Irini, daughter of the emperor Theodoros the First, Lascaris, established an impressive fortified Monastery, dedicated to Jesus Christ’s Transfiguration on the bigger of the islets. Dedicated also to Virgin Mary, the monastery is also known as the Monastery of “Panaghia Pantohara” (Virgin Mary, the joy of everyone). This Monastery is where Aghios Dionysios, the patron saint of the island lived as a monk for several years. When in 1716 the island was attacked by pirates, his remains were here and they were desecrated by them. It was then that it was decided that they should be transferred to Zakynthos.
Strofades Islands are also part of the National Marine Park as they are a nesting place for more than 1200 species of migratory birds that fly to Africa every year and then return to rest here. Except for the rich and wild flora that covers the entire island, there are also orchards such as oranges, lemon trees and sycamores and more than 250 species of plants and flowers with the perennial cedar creating a bushy forest.
Access to the islets is possible by excursion boats in summer. The boats depart from the port of the town of Zakynthos. Of course, if you have a yacht, private or rented, you may visit the islets any time of the year you wish.