Touring in the Ionian islands: The old town of Corfu

Laundry on a string in Corfu cityLaundry on a string in the old town of Corfu – Photo by Frieda de Witte, Netherlands
 

1st stop: The old town of Corfu

The island of Corfu is bound with the history of Greece from the beginning of Greek mythology.  According to myth, Poseidon fell in love with the beautiful nymph Korkyra, daughter of Asopus and river nymph Metope, and abducted her. Poseidon brought Korkyra to the unnamed island and, in marital bliss, offered her name to the place: Korkyra, which gradually evolved to Kerkyra (Doric), the Greek name for the island. Together, they had a child, Phaiax, after whom the inhabitants of the island were named Phaiakes (Latin: Phaeacians).

Corfu old citadelPalaio Frourio in CorfuSt. Spyridon Church at night, Corfu townEaster in CorfuAbove and left: The old ciatdel at Corfu town is a Venetian fortress built on an artificial islet with fortifications surrounding its entire perimeter.  Middle: Street of Corfu town by night, at the St. Spiridon Church  Right: Corfu town square at Easter time  Below: View of Corfu old town
 
Corfu old town
 

The city of Corfu stands on the broad part of a peninsula, whose termination in the Venetian citadel is cut off from it by an artificial fosse formed in a natural gully, that now serves as a marina and is called the Contrafossa. The old town, having grown within the fortifications is a labyrinth of narrow streets paved with cobblestones. These streets are known as kantoúnia, many of which are too narrow for vehicular traffic.

New citadel of Corfu

Detail of Venetian blazon at the new citadel, CorfuThe new citadel or Neo Frourio is a huge complex of fortifications dominating the northeastern part of the city; the huge walls of the fortress dominate the landscape as one makes the trip from Neo Limani (“New Port”) to the city, taking the road that passes through the fishmarket. The new citadel was until recently a restricted area due to the presence of a naval garrison, but old restrictions have been lifted and it is now open to the public, with tours possible through the maze of medieval corridors and fortifications. The winged Lion of St Mark, the symbol of Venice, can be seen at regular intervals adorning the fortifications.

External links

• Municipality of Corfu
• HolidayCorfu.org
• Corfu Travel Guide
• Interactive Corfu Travel Guide
• Aqualand Corfu
• Corfu Archaeological Museum
• Birdwatching in Corfu
• Hiking in Corfu
• The Silva Project
• Donkey refuge in Corfu

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