When you go for your all inclusive holidays to Greece
, find time to visit one of its most stunning island, Corfu. Corfu Town, pop 41.000, is a charming blend of architectural styles including the following: Venetian, Italian Renaissance, Baroque, Georgian, Neo-classical and traditional island architecture. The flavor is predominately Italianate.
is dominated by its two Venetian fortresses with a wonderful view obtainable from
atop the new fortress from which, on a clear day, Italian, Sicily can be seen.
central square is called The Spiniada or Esplanade and joined with Epano Sq.
near the old castle and the cricket grounds.
waterfront views: architecture and the old castle, The Liston's cafes and Aghion
Spyridon church's red dome, the most sacred spot of Corfu.
the Venetian Old Castle stands the statue of General Von Schulenbourg commander
of the island's defensive forces which defeated the Turks in 1716. (He was a
soldier of fortune from Saxony who through his skill and daring defied the whole
power of the sublime portal under the personal command of their lord high admiral
during the Great Siege. Thereby frustrating the Turks last great attempt at
further conquests of European Christendom. They viewed Corfu as a stepping stone
for the rest of Europe.)
Other statues on the Esplanade, include the Guilford
Memorial in honor of British Philhellene Fredrick North, Earl of Guilford (1769-
1828) and to the south, Count John Capodistrias, Greece's first President who
was assasinated by two Cretans for imprisoning their Uncle. Capodistrias was enobled
by the Venetians.
houses are closely packed and built six to seven stories high. Its narrow alleys or
streets are known as the kandounia and its stone steps as skalinathes.
There are several larger mansions of note some of which were built during the
second French occupation and some by the British.
British cemetery, (Garitsa) soldiers memorials share the lovely grounds with
wild flowers and orchids in the botanical gardens. Also interred within, are
the sailors from the destroyers H.M.S. Saumarez and Volage sunk by Albanian
mines in 1946.
was inspired by the Rue de Rivoli in Paris. The name Liston is a contraction
of 'List On' because initially, only the islands listed richest citizens and
nobility were allowed to promenade there.
architects designed Mon Repos (for Sir Charles Adams, the 2nd Lord High Commissioner
(1824-31), and later used by Greece's King George as a summer villa,) and the
Palaces of St. Michael and St. George as the residence of King Tom, the first
Lord High Commissioner: the unpopular Sir Thomas Maitland.
from left: The Maitland Ionic Rotunda, by Sir George Whitmore in the Esplanade,
The Palace of St. Michael & St. George with its statue of Sir Charles Adams,
and home to the unique in Greece, Museum of Asiatic Art. Lower left, The
Liston with its chic and expensive cafes and stores reminiscent of Paris's Rue
de Rivloi and insisted upon by Napoleon who also designed the original in Paris.
Lower right: the interior of Aghios Spyridon Church wherein lie the remains of
the Saint and others.
buildings include the Temple at Paleaopoli (Garitsa), The Ionian Academy, The
Church of Aghio Spyridon, The Monastery of Platitera, the Old Prefecture Building,
the Latin Arch-Bishops Palace, and The Archeological Museum (Garitsa).
The Esplanade and the Old Port, or just North of the Historic Quarter in
the map below, you will find worthy architecture of note. These include The
Orthodox Cathedral (1576), with its golden icons and dedicated to St. Theodora
Augusta, Empress of Byzantium (829-843) who allowed the restoration of icon
worship after the destruction of many art works, both contemporary and ancient,
due to the zeal of the iconoclasts. Her remains are buried next to Saint Spyridon
in St. Spyridon Church along with President Capoditrias' sister who was a nun.
Museum, (9 am - 1 pm) off Arseniou St.
with a collection associated with the great poet of Zakynthos, Dionysios Solomos.
Museum, (9 am - 3 pm) essentially an Ionian
style church with many wonderful icons of the Cretan school, wall murals and
elaborately painted ceilings.
of the Old Prison in map below. A bit south
of modern Corfu Town and contiguous with it lies the Garitsa Quarter. Here is
the Archeological Museum (closed Mondays, hours 8:30 am to 3 pm, admission fee).
Major exhibits being the restored Gorgon Pediment (585 BC). Many Roman copies
of Greek originals, Cycladic sculptures and the Lion of Menicrates as well as
prehistoric finds from Sidari, Ermonies and Aphiona.
of Mon Repo in Garitsas
Built for Sir Fredrick
Adam in 1824 and birthplace of Prince Phillip Duke, of Edinburgh,1921.
are the remains of the ancient lower city and the Monastery of Aghio Theodoroi
as well as vestiges of the Temple of Artemis.
Corfu Town's Ancient Remains in Kanoni Quarter
Kerkyra's Capital, known as Chersoupolis was discovered during the demolition
of the Venetian Fortress of San Salvadore in 1843, on the peninsula ending at
Kanoni (named for its cannons) which the locals call Palaiopolis (old town).
It was sacked by the Goths in the 6th century and abandoned. Greeks and Venetians
used it as a quarry in the erection of modern Corfu Town.
of the ancient wall still remains near the present day cemetery in Corfu Town.
The walls are thought to have surrounded the city on three sides protecting
the port of Alkinoos (the current bay of Garitsa) in the North, the Lagoon of
Chalkiopoulos, also known as the Bay of Chelaios, in the West, and the sea of
Mon Repo, in the East. The market of the city was built north of the bay of
Garitsa. The acropolis was erected on the site of today's Analipsi. The only
existing tower of the wall was located at the entrance of the port of Alkinoos,
while today it serves as the foundation of the Church of Agios Athanasios. Near
the cemetery, one can see the Tower of Neratziha where once stood the Church
of Virgin Mary.
aqueduct also passed through this section. In the area of Garitsa, (Mon Repo
grounds) archaeologists have discovered traces of Archaic and Classical era
tombs , which were part of the town’s ancient cemetery. The most significant
funery find is the Statue of Menekratis.
the town’s fleet berthed in the well-protected (by 24 pounder cannon),
port of the bay of Chelaios. The bay’s entrance is formed by two islets.
One of which is the site of the Church of Vlaherna, and the other is green and
town had many temples of all sizes, built by the first inhabitants from Corinth
and Evoia. The largest and most significant temples, built in the 7th and 6th
century BC, are the Temple of Hera, Diana and Kardaki in honor of Apollo and
the Temple of Dionysus. Findings are exhibited in the local Archaeological Museum.
12 miles South of Corfu Town
is a small village fighting against development, its most illustrious building
is The Achillion Palace.
Achillion Palace built in 1891 for Empress Elizabeth of Austria by the Italian
architect Cardilo and a confusing but imposing mansion in a blend of Teutonic,
fin-de-siecle, and neo-classic styles. Lawrence Durrell called it Monstrous.
Even the empress herself was hesitant before taking up residence but her
love for Corfu won out. Her court life back in the Hapsburg's Austria no
doubt, contributing to her decision, partly due to her fillandering husband,
the Emperor Franz Josef and to her own obsession with the Sea Goddess Thetis
with whom she felt a strong identification and to whom the mansion is also
dedicated. Her son Rudolphe, she felt, also resembled Achilles, and after
his tragic suicide, commissioned and purchased many statues of the hero
to ornament the Italian style landscaped gardens. Of particular note is
the Dying Achilles by Herter (1884). Below is an oil of the Empress by
her assasination by an Italian anarchist in 1898 the estate lay empty for
10 years until it was purchased by Kaiser Wilhiem II for an undisclosed sum. He
spent his springs here for the next six years until the outbreak of WW I, at which point The Greek Government took possession.
1962 it was leased to Baron von Richtoven for use as a Casino
for chemin-de-fer and roulette and is still in operation. Possibly,
the Casino has been moved, since this writing, to the Hotel Corfu Holiday
is also a museum within displaying possessions of the previous occupants
including the famous saddle-throne of the Kaiser's from which he would dictate
WW I the Achillion was used as a military hospital and nearby are the grounds
of the French Military Cemetery (225 graves). The best view of the surroundings
is to be had from the hill of Aghia Kyriaki just opposite.
Daily 9 am to 4 pm, 1000 drx, students 500, EU students free. Take bus #
10 from San Rocco Sq, 6/day, 30min.
Tasting on Corfu
across from the Achillion is Billy's or Vasilakis Tastery. Vassili is a
local distiller of alcoholic beverages including ouzo, Kumquat liquere and
wines. More local to town, try the Venetian Well, Kremasti Sq., tel: 44761
English Book Store
Xenoglosso, Ger. Markora 45, near San Rocco Sq. decent.
Museum: 3 Vraila St. (just off Garitsa Bay road near the Corfu Palace Hotel).
Hours: 8.30 -15.00. Every day except Mondays.800 drx., Tel: 30680.
of Byzantine Art is housed in the Church of Antivouniotissa, up a flight
of steps off Arseniou St. Hours: 8.30 - 3.00. Tu - Sun.
Museum: Koukouritsa, Tel: 32440.
- Folklore Museum at Danilia: For information call 91621.
- Folk Museum in Sinarades: Open every day except Monday from 9.30 -14.30.
Museum off Arseniou St. Open 9.30 -2.00 Everyday except Sat. & Sun. Tel:
War Museum in Moustoxidou St. Open from 9.00 -1.00 Mon. Fri. Tel: 26724
Reading Society : 120 Kapodistriou St. 9 am - 1.pm, Tel: 39528
- Castello Art Gallery housed in the Castello Mansion grounds in Kato Korakiana.
Open 10.00 - 5.00 every day except Monday.
- The Corfu Shell Museum
Gouvia, with thousands of beautiful sea shells.(10am-9pm) Tel: 99340
- Palace of St. Michael
and St. George, Tu - Sat, 8:30 am - 2:30 pm, 500 drx. Has within the 2 museums
- The Modern Art Museum,
Corfiot paintings, 9 am to 9 pm, 300 drx.
- The Museum of Asian
Art or the Sino-Japanese Museum, the Indian, Chinese and Japanese collections
of Greek Diplomat Georgos Manos (1850-1929) with over 10,000 items amassed
during his postings and travels.
- The Paper Money Museum,
in the Ionain Bank bldg.,Iroon Kypriaki Agona Sq., Bankers hrs.: 9 to 1, Mon
- Sat, traces the history of the island through its bank notes. Also an exhibition
of note production from beginning to end.
Night Life in Corfu Town
18 radio stations, 3 cable TV stations and 3 movie theaters in Corfu Town. The Meteikasma, Orpheus, and Pallas all show foreign language films in
the original language.
Disco Strip is 2 km west of the new port on National Resistance Street or Ethniki
Antistaseos St. at the exit to Kondokali on the coastal road.
many bars and Discos and such International favorites as the Hard Rock Cafe.
for techno music, Sax for techno-rave-trance, and the popular Ippodromo, Appocalypsi
(Italain hang out), and Embargo Discos at the far end of the strip. In both
directions, north and south of Corfu Town entertainment venues are to be found
with both Greek and foreign music, some even have both. Noise yes, charm no!
a nominal admission fee, which also includes a drink.
For a more
civilized experience wander the town or head to the Esplande and the Liston
where a better heeled clientele does its thing untill very early in the morning.
For less expensive venues visit the back streets off the Square. There are many
charming out of the way places to rest. You will have no trouble finding action
to suit your moods.
Drinking and Dining
- Corfu Palace,
In the hotel, Greek and International cuisine, excellent food and service with
view of the fort and town. Tel: 39485/6/7
Pigadi or Venetian Garden, Kremastes Sq. Tel: 44761, the view is fantastic and
far better than the food, pretentious.
Dimarchiou Sq., Tel: 39031, Good international and Greek-Corfiot cuisine, nice
central location & atmosophere.
- Rex, 66
Kapodistias St., Tel: 39349, above the Liston, nice for lunch.
- IL Giardino,
4B Vraila St., Garitsa Quarter, Tel:30723, nice garden, good Italian dishes,
below the Palace and by the sea, nice atmosphere, good views.Tel: 30392.
Kefalomandoukio area, Tel: 25363, Traditional Corfiot food in a converted olive
press with music.
new port, Xen. Stratigou St., upscale seafood with garden
- Prices (The Mandoukia area in general is more moderate in price)
- La Famiglia,
Kandouni alley tou Bizi,Tel: 30270, intimate, good quality food and atmosphere.
- O Yiannis,
in Garitsa, Tel: 31066, typical Corfiot food and traditional taverna in the
old style! Good!
tou Georgos, Guilford St., typical Greek-Corfiot taverna,good prices and food.
- Porta Remounda,
Guilford St., good fresh sea food.
Well, Kremasti Sq., tel: 44761, international menu with lots of local wines.
Mandouki area, opposite ferry terminal, excellent grilled meats and more.
- Pizza Pete's,
waterfront, Arseniou St., jumpin spot, good pizza, whacky mynah bird mascot
named LoLo which means crazy.
- Dont Miss the Taverna Tripa, (Hole in the Wall) in Kinopiastes and 2 miles from Gastouri.