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Lofos Strani Zakynthos

It was on the hillside of Lotus Strani where Dionysius Solomos, the father of modern Greek poetry, composed the Hymn to Liberty, which was later to become the Greek National Anthem.

If you are spending a day in and around Zante Town, or passing on your way to more distant regions, make the time to stop at this peaceful little spot.

The Lofos Strani amphitheatre park, in the region of Bohali, marks the actual spot where Dionysius Solomos penned the National Anthem of Greece - Ode to Liberty. There is a towering statue of the poet at the park.

 

LOFOS STRANI - DIONYSIUS SOLOMOS AND THE GREEK NATIONAL ANTHEM

Zante TownThings to do and see in Zante TownBohaliThe CastleLofos StraniStrada MarinaMuseumsCafes Bars & TavernasAmphitheatreChurchesSt Dionysis ChurchBusiness ServicesPublic Library MonumentSolomos SquareSt Marcos SquarePost Byzantine MuseumSolomos and Kalvos Museum
 

Just past the turning to Bohali village from Zante Town, on the right hand side of the road, you will see a small road leading up to the charming park of Lofos Strani.

Dionysius Solomos lived from 8th April 1798 to 9th February 1857. He was a Greek poet from Zakynthos, best known for writing the Hymn to Liberty. The first two stanzas, on music by Nikolaos Mantzaros, became the Greek national anthem in 1865.

Dionysius Solomos was considered to be the key figure of the Heptanese School of poetry, and the national poet of Greece - not only because he wrote the National anthem, but also because he contributed to the preservation of earlier poetic tradition and highlighted its use in modern literature.

Born in 1798, Dionysius Solomos was the illegitimate child of a wealthy count, Nikolaos Solomos, and his housekeeper, Angeliki Nikli. Nikolaos Solomos was of Cretan origin; his family were Cretan refugees who settled on Zakynthos in 1670 after Crete's conquest by the Ottoman Empire in 1699.

His father married Dionysius' mother a day before he died on 27 February 1807, making the young Dionysius a legitimate and co-heir of the estate with his half-brother. The poet spent his childhood years in Zakynthos until 1808. After his father's death, count Dionysius Messalas gained Solomos' custody. His mother married Manolis Leontarakis in 15 August 1807. In 1808, Messalas sent Solomos to Italy in order to study law, in line with the Ionian islands tradition among nobility.

After ten years of studies, Solomos returned to Zakynthos with a solid background in literature. He initially found it very difficult to write in Greek, since the large portion of his education and studies had been in Italian.
The first important turning point in the Greek works of Solomos was the Hymn to Liberty that was completed in May 1823.

This poem was inspired by the Greek revolution of 1821. Solomos was renowned for being a very humble artist, and many of his works were reportedly rescued from rubbish bins by his students.


A Verse from the

HYMN TO LIBERTY
I shall always recognize you
by the dreadful sword you hold
as the Earth with searching vision
you survey with spirit bold

From the Greeks of old whose dying
brought to life and spirit free
now with ancient valour rising
let us hail you, oh Liberty!


 

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