Zakynthos: Lifeguard tower built in front of iconic shipwreck creates anger

Zakynthos Navagio Beach

Zakynthos' famous Navagio Beach, commonly known as Shipwreck as Shipwreck Beach, now has a new lifeguard tower.

The Municipality's wooden construction provoked the reactions of many, who believe that the platform should have been set up elsewhere and not in front of the most famous monument on the island.

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The member of the Shipwreck Protection Committee, Nikos Tsipiras, spoke of a "misguided action" and stated that after the intervention of the committee and the Minister of Tourism, Vassilis Kikilias, the mayor of the island promised to move the tower.

"We hope that today or tomorrow it will have left from there so that visitors can have a clear picture of the place," added Tsipiras.

Navagio Beach is an exposed cove, sometimes referred to as "Smugglers Cove", on the coast of Zakynthos, in the Ionian Islands of Greece.

Zakynthos tourists

On 2 October 1980, the coaster MV Panagiotis, ran aground in the waters around Zakynthos Island on Navagio Beach during stormy weather and bad visibility.

Some rumours claim the ship was smuggling contraband; however. the captain was not convicted for such offences.

After the captain alerted the authorities, 29 locals were convicted of looting the cargo and valuable equipment from the wrecked ship. The ship was abandoned and still rests buried in the limestone gravel of the beach that now bears the nickname Shipwreck.

Recently released court documents and photos relating to the incident back up the smuggler story though.

Panagiotis was allegedly making its way from Turkey with a freight of contraband cigarettes headed for Italy. Encountering stormy weather, the ship ran aground in the cove, where the crew abandoned her to evade the pursuing Navy.

The location was prominently featured in the hit Korean drama Descendants of the Sun, leading to a surge of interest among Chinese and Korean tourists.

The beach was briefly closed in 2018, and swimming and boat anchoring were forbidden, after a cliff collapse above the beach dropped a large amount of rock.

File:Zakynthos Shipwreck Beach.jpg - Wikimedia Commons

The beach reopened and anchoring is permitted, but with restrictions out of concerns over future landslides.

Also in 2018, the beach was named as the world's best beach in a poll by over 1,000 travel journalists and professionals.

READ MORE: Sifnos: The Forgotten Cycladic Island That Rivals The Beauty Of Mykonos.