Corfu articles

Corfu Holiday Activities

The Fortresses of Corfu

It is here that the Ottoman Turks stopped advancing westwards .

You will find your soul relaxing on the green scenery and the beautiful old town.

The mind travels to the open sea, searching for old traces. It is looking for the places where took place the battles of the Ancient Greeks, as described by Thucydides , it is searching for Antony and Cleopatra , for the places where the crusaders would stop for a short rest. You can "see" galleys and ship coming back in triumph after the naval battle of Nafpaktos . You can see the Turkish fleet on their last unsuccessful attempt to advance westwards. You can feel the agony of the united Christian fleet, the agony of the defenders . You can hear, in the empty rooms, the orders, the shouting and the celebrations. You can feel through the cobbled streets the prayers of the besieged, the gratitude processions to Saint Spyridon, the " Protector" .

A walk on the fortresses of Corfu town is not to be missed. It is the only place of the world where you can see the history of 2500 years in its most dramatic moments, with just one look .

New Fortress

The New Fortress is found on the hill of Agios Markos and it protected the city from the west side. It has a wonderful view to the old port. The New Fortress was built between 1572 and 1645 by the Venetians. The fortification works were completed by both French and British.
Its official name is Fortress of Saint Mark, however is knowner as New Fortress. It constituted by two twin bastions and is considered a architectural marvel.
Especially impressive architectural characteristics of the castle are the two gates that are saved in a very good situation and bring even today the emblem of Galinotatis (the winged lion of Saint Mark).
This historical monuments played an immense role during the World War II. Then, its archways were used as shelters.



The Old Fortress

The Old Fortress of Corfu is one of the most impressive fortification works in Europe. It is the first thing to see as the ferry approaches Corfu. It stands on the eastern side of the town, on a rocky peninsula that gets into the sea. This fortress is called Old in contrast to the New Fortress (of Saint Mark), that was also built to protect the town from enemies and pirates.

This fortress was constructed by the Venetians in the 15th century on the site of a former Byzantine castle. To make it more secure, they made an artificial fosse and thus they separated the fortress from the mainland. The fortress was connected to the land by a movable, wooden bridge. In 1819, the British replaced this bridge with the present stable pathway, which is 60 m long and stands 15 m above the fosse, locally known as contafossa.

On the eastern side of the fortress, there is a flatland, used today for cultural events in summer. In this flat square, there is the church of Saint George, built by the Venetians as an ancient temple. This is actually the only church in Greece that has been constructed according to the Doric style. Above this square, there is a cafeteria. For more than four centuries, this fortress had been the symbol of the Venetian occupation in the Ionian islands and today it is one of the most impressive sights on Corfu.



Aggelokastro Castle ( castle of Angels )

Aggelokastro which is also referred to as Angel Castle is strategically located in close proximity to Krini. It is believed to date back to the 13th century. The Aggelokastro is conspicuous by its domed gate at the entrance. It boasts of priceless vestiges and there are exclusive storage rooms as well. Another interesting remnant is an ancient church dedicated to the angels Gabriel and Michael which is surprisingly constructed in a cave.

Legend has it that an ancient emperor was on the lookout of a precipitous rock in which to build a fortress so that it could easily thwart most pirate attacks. With this in
mind, the emperor stumbled upon the neighborhood of Aggelokastro where he came across the towering fortress that was reportedly built by the then Archbishop of Epirus. The primary reason why the fort was built was to shield the inhabitants from pirate attacks.

The major threat emanated from pirates from Africa and that of the Venetians. According to historical records, the Aggelokastro was the capital of the island of Corfu and the Governor himself resided here.Historians are of the opinion that in the infamous pirate attack of 1403, the inhabitants of Aggelokastro fought tooth and nail from the fortified castle against the Genoan pirates.


The Palaiopolis ( Mon Repos )

The Palace of Mon Repos, surrounded by huge public gardens, was built under British rule by Sir Frederic Adams in the Palaiopolis (the ancient capital of Corfu). It was later the residence of several Lord High Commissioners and is where Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburg, was born. This Museum contains fascinating archaeological finds, historical documents, prints and lithographs concerning the use and history of the Mon Repos Mansion and also a collection of watercolours and botanical samples representing the natural heritage of Corfu and the Mon Repos Garden.



The Achillion Palace

The Achillion Palace is ideally located in the picturesque village of Gastouri. This magnificent Palace was built in 1890 exclusively for Elizabeth (Sissy), the then Empress of Austria. The palace used to serve as the summer retreat of the Empress. Unfortunately, Sissy the Empress passed away in a rather tragic manner when she was brutally assassinated in 1898 in Geneva and the palace was deserted till the year 1907 when it was bought by Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany.

During the time when the palace was occupied by the Kaiser, he is said to have removed the magnificent statues of Achilles and additionally constructed the House of the Knights with the sole reason of housing his battalion on Corfu. Even the palace garden was relandscaped according to the whims and fancies of the Kaiser. The palace was given the status of a Public building after World War II.

The popularity of the Achillion Palace can be gauged from the fact that the much hyped James Bond movie – “For Your Eyes Only” was shot at this magnificent palace and immortalized.



Splianada Square and Liston

Corfu is famous for its nightlife. Apart from the movie theatres, "Orpheus", and "Pallas", which feature family entertainment, the island offers a wide variety of bars and cafes proposing various kind of music, suitable for every taste. The most popular places to go are the cafes on Liston Promenade or the cafes on the north end of Splianada Square. The cafes are open from morning to night and are always bustling with people.

Korission Lake

An exceptional water-biotope, one of the lasts in Corfu, impresses the traveller with its rare fauna and flora. Lake Korission is located in south-west Corfu and you can approach it easily by the road Agios Mattheos - Argyrades. In fact, it is a lagoon, as it communicates with the sea with a narrow channel. A small wooden bridge leads to the unique in the region wood of cedars that grow on the sand.


Pantokrator Mountain ( the highest mountain on Corfu )

Mount Pantokrator  is a mountain located in north-eastern Corfu. At 906m (2,972 ft) it is the highest mountain on the island. At the summit the whole of Corfu can be seen, as well as Albania which lies a short distance from the island. On particularly clear days it is also possible to see Italy despite it being around 130 km (80 miles) away.



Old Perithia

The small town, originally built in Byzantine times, is located in the mountains between Kassiopi and Acharavi, off the main road. It is unique, in that it is almost completely uninhabited.

At one point occupied by over 1,500 people, the village lost all its inhabitants due to population changes over the last century.

There are now two tavernas in the old village, thronged by visitors in the summer months. Tourists can sit with a cold drink, before exploring the streets of the village and the tight rows of crumbling, shuttered houses.