Empress Zoe (b 978 - d 1050) was reputed to be a very beautiful woman. She has been called the "bawdy empress" but that does not begin to describe the depths of her character.
Zoe was well loved by the people of Constantinople who took to the streets more than once to defend their beloved empress. She had several lovers and 3 husbands, all of whom became emperor through marriage with her. Toward the end of her life Empress Zoe ruled Byzantium jointly with her sister Theodora for some years - a rare occurrence for women in Byzantine times.
Zoe and her last husband Constantine Monomachos are depicted in the famous mosaic which still exists in the Aghia Sophia. Her likeness also exists in the lobby of our hotel in a painting by the Greek artist Nikos Papadakis and on the opening page of this website of Hotel Empress Zoe, also coincidentally run - so many hundreds of years later - by 2 sisters.
It is interesting to think that the original Empress Zoe lived in the general area of our hotel. We wonder what she would think of it.We live on top of many layers of history and we feel blessed to welcome travelers here from all parts of an ever changing world.
A more detailed version of the life of Empress Zoe is available in your room.