Aghios Marcos square, located in the heart of Zakynthos’ main town, has always served as the island’s focal point for political and social events. It was in this square that the cafés, clubs and hangouts of wealthy aristocrats, as well as those of the bourgeoisie, radicals and liberals, were all located. The square’s most significant historical event took place in 1797 when the island’s working classes and the bourgeoisie, known as the popolari, rebelled by burning the Libro d’Oro, which listed – in golden ink – the names of the island’s nobles, who were oppressing lower social classes with the blessing of the Venetians.
This act of defiance had been preceded by a popolari rebellion in 1628 against wealthy landowners and aristocrats, an event that marked the first social and class revolt in Europe’s more recent history. The square’s town planning and character were completely changed following the devastating earthquake that struck the region in August, 1953. These days, the altered square bustles with activity, day and night, serving as an entertainment hotspot for locals and visitors.