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Corfu Island

Corfu is one of the Greek islands, and is called Kerkyra as well. It has a capital by the same name. It is called "green island" - there's really allot of green plants, if you compare it with continental Greece. The humidity of the air there is quite high.

Corfu is located in the western part of Greece, close to the Albanian border. Most of the Greek Islands are located in the Aegean sea, while Corfu is in the Ionian sea.

For literally thousands of years, Corfu has been celebrated as the most beautiful of the Greek islands. This is still true today - however, it is vital to know how to find the parts which have not been overrun by an excess of modern commercialization!

The real Corfu, with its glorious natural surroundings and unruffled yet lively traditional lifestyle, is still to be found in hidden places all over the island. The serene beaches and fishing villages in the north east, for instance, offer the charm and hospitality of a bygone age, while the more rugged seascapes of the west coast have an untamed quality which delights adventurous visitors.

Old Fortress: What you can see of Corfu Town today owes its architecture largely to the Venetians. The town was originally founded in the Byzantine Era on the site of the Old Fortress where the entire population of the town lived for a long time. During the Venetian occupation the town gradually spread out. The modern town also has French and British influences. The Old Fort although partly demolished by the British when they returned the Ionian Islands to Greece, still contains some impressive fortifications including some by the famous architect Martinego and is open to visitors. Look for the statue of Marshall Schulenberg by Corradini and the old bell tower. Inside the fortress there is one of the most beautiful churches in Corfu: St. George's that was built by the British. Sound & Light presentations are offered here in the summer.

New Fortess: The New Fortress near the Old Port was started by the Venetians in 1575 and completed in 1645. The British added to it. Today it is houses navy offices but it is open to visitors. Look out for the giant Venetian Lion over the main gateway.

The beautiful l6th century church situated in St. Spiridon's St., is the church dedicated to St. Spiridon, the Patron Saint of the island. Each year on four occasions the remains of the saint are paraded through the streets in celebration. You may visit the church at anytime. Dress suitably.

The Greek Orthodox Cathedral is in a square just off the Old Port and the Catholic Cathedral (a restored l4th Century building) can be found in the Town Hall Square (Platia Dimarchiou).

The Town Hall itself was built in the l7th century and is an exquisite example of Venetian architecture.

The center of social life in Corfu Town is undoubtedly to be found at the Espianade. The town gardens with their bandstand and the Liston Arcade offer a welcome break from the summer heat.

The Liston Arcade was built during the French occupation (1807-1814) by the father of Ferdinand Lesseps, the builder of the Suez Canal.

At the north end of the Esplanade is the Palace of St. Michael & St. George built by the English in the early l9th century as the Governor's Palace.

Just out of town on the National Road to Paleokastritsa you will find the Monastery of Platytera. Dating from 1743, it has several fine icons and a superb bell tower.

>> Ionian Islands Corfu, Ithaca, Kefalonia, Kythira, Lefkada, Meganisi, Paxoi, Zakynthos.


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