It’s one of the most photographed places in Greece and the symbol of the island. The shipwreck lying on the homonymous Navagio beach (navagio in Greek stands for shipwreck), is no prop, but an actual ship and after 36 years in the sand, it has been subjected to wear and tear. Recognizing its great importance for the island’s tourism image, the municipality, in cooperation with the local Technological Educational Institute (TEI) will carry out the first maintenance work on the shipwreck to ensure its preservation for the next generations.
October 1980. The ship ‘Panagiotis’ begins sailing from Durres in Albania to Piraeus, but due to severe weather, it runs aground at Aghios Georgios beach in Zakynthos. The islanders worry and complain strongly about the environmental and aesthetic disaster caused by the presence of the shipwreck on one of their most beautiful beaches. But for a number of reasons the ship can not be moved and so it’s left, washed up as it is on the beach.
But it was a misfortune in disguise. The combination of the wild beauty of this inaccessible (even today) beach with the shipwreck creates a unique backdrop, which travels around the world, advertising the island.
“We can not let the shipwreck be destroyed. It is a symbol of Greece, now recognizable worldwide”
Since then, however, 36 years have passed and the wear and tear of the wreck is more noticeable than ever. “We can not let the shipwreck be destroyed. It is a symbol of Greece, now recognizable worldwide,” says the mayor of the island, Pavlos Kolokotsas. The municipality, therefore, in cooperation with the Cultural Heritage Preservation department of the TEI of the Ionian Islands (located on the island) decided to join forces to rescue the shipwreck.
“In a few days we will visit the wreck, along with scientists from the TEI for a first recording and assessment of the situation,” says Anthonis Nikoloudakis, vice president of the Tourism Commission of the municipality. “This year we will take some first steps: we will erect a fence in the area, discreet so as not to disturb those who want to be photographed with the shipwreck, but enough to prevent internal access. We will install a plaque with the history of the shipwreck. Finally, we will place a lifeguard and security guard on the beach, to keep things in order.”
“We don’t know exactly what condition it’s in. The truth is that it has eroded significantly over the years, and has also suffered some vandalism,” says Chrystos Karydis, Professor at the TEI of the Ionian Islands. “Therefore we will begin by identifying some of the technical materials from which it is composed, and then think about how to intervene, first of all to improve the wreck’s stability and then to maintain it.”
“Of course we must see how we’ll cover the cost of maintenance,” says Nikoloudakis. “Certainly the municipality will contribute, we will seek sponsors, we’re open to ideas. Our goal is for the study to conclude this year and for the maintenance operations to begin before the start of next year’s tourism season.”
Originally published in kathemerini.com
“Our goal is for the study to conclude this year and for the maintenance operations to begin before the start of next year’s tourism season.”