Corfu or Kerkyra (/kɔːrˈfuː, -fjuː/; Greek: Κέρκυρα,
translit. Kérkyra, [ˈcercira]; Ancient Greek: Κόρκυρα,
translit. Kórkyra; Latin: Corcyra; Italian: Corfù) is a Greek
island in the Ionian Sea. It is the second largest of the Ionian
Islands, and, including its small satellite islands, forms the
northwesternmost part of Greece. The island is part of the Corfu
regional unit, and is administered as a single municipality, which
also includes the smaller islands of Ereikoussa,
Mathraki and Othonoi.
The municipality has an area of 610,9 km2, the island proper
592,8 km2. The principal city of the island and seat of the
municipality (pop. 32,095) is also named Corfu.
Corfu is home to
the Ionian University.
The island is bound up with the history of
Greece from the beginnings
of Greek mythology. Its history is full of battles and conquests.
Ancient Korkyra took part in the
Battle of Sybota which was a catalyst
for the Peloponnesian War, and, according to Thucydides, the largest
naval battle between Greek city states until that time. Thucydides
also reports that Korkyra was one of the three great naval powers of
fifth century BC Greece, along with
Athens and Corinth. Medieval
castles punctuating strategic locations across the island are a legacy
of struggles in the Middle Ages against invasions by pirates and the
Ottomans. Two of these castles enclose its capital, which is the only
Greece to be surrounded in such a way. As a result, Corfu's
capital has been officially declared a Kastropolis ("castle city") by
the Greek government. From medieval times and into the 17th
century, the island, having successfully repulsed the Ottomans during
several sieges, was recognised as a bulwark of the European States
Ottoman Empire and became one of the most fortified places
in Europe. The fortifications of the island were used by the
Venetians to defend against Ottoman intrusion into the Adriatic. Corfu
eventually fell under British rule following the Napoleonic Wars.
Corfu was eventually ceded by the British Empire along with the
remaining islands of the United States of the Ionian Islands, and
unification with modern
Greece was concluded in 1864 under the Treaty
In 2007, the city's old quarter was added to the
UNESCO World Heritage
List, following a recommendation by ICOMOS.
Corfu is a very popular tourist destination. The island was
the location of the 1994 European Union summit.
2.1 Diapontia islands
2.2 Lazaretto Island
2.4.3 Amphibians and reptiles
3.1 Early history
3.2 Medieval history
3.2.1 Venetian rule
3.2.2 Venetian policies and legacy
3.3 19th century
3.3.1 British Lord High Commissioners during the protectorate
3.4 First World War
3.5 Interwar period
3.6 Second World War and resistance
3.6.1 Italian occupation
3.6.2 German occupation
3.7 Post–World War and modern Corfu
4 Urban landscape
4.1 Old town
4.2 Palaio Frourio
4.3 Neo Frourio
4.4 Ano and Kato Plateia and the music pavilion
4.5 Palaia Anaktora and its gardens
4.6 The Old Town and Pontikonisi
5 Archaeology and architecture
5.1 An architectural overview: From classical to modern
5.2 Italianate architecture
5.3 Destruction of architecture during World War II
5.4 The Achilleion
5.5 Kaiser's Bridge
7.1 Student activism
8.1 Museums and libraries
8.2 Patron Saint Spyridon
8.3 Music and festivities
8.3.1 The Three City Philharmonics
8.3.3 Musical history
8.3.4 Teatro di San Giacomo
8.3.5 Municipal Theatre of Corfu
Ionian University and musical tradition
8.3.7 Ta Karnavalia
Corfu in myth
Corfu in literature
Corfu in film
Corfu in popular culture
11 International relations
12 Notable people
14 See also
17 Further reading
18 External links
The Greek name, Kerkyra or Korkyra, is related to two powerful water
deities: Poseidon, god of the sea, and Asopos, an important Greek
mainland river. According to myth,
Poseidon fell in love with the
beautiful nymph Korkyra, daughter of Asopos and river nymph Metope,
and abducted her.
Poseidon brought Korkyra to the hitherto unnamed
island and, in marital bliss, offered her name to the place:
Korkyra, which gradually evolved to Kerkyra (Doric). They had a
child they called Phaiax, after whom the inhabitants of the island
were named Phaiakes, in
Latin Phaeaciani. Corfu's nickname is the
island of the Phaeacians.
The name Corfù, an Italian version of the Byzantine Κορυφώ
(Koryphō), meaning "city of the peaks", derives from the Byzantine
Greek Κορυφαί (Koryphai) (crests or peaks), denoting the two
peaks of Palaio Frourio.
Map of Corfu. Its satellite islands of Ereikoussa,
Othoni and Mathraki
counterclockwise NW, WNW and W respectively (with respect to the
northern part of the island at the top of the map) and
Antipaxos on the SE side, are visible.
The northeastern edge of
Corfu lies off the coast of Sarandë,
Albania, separated by straits varying in width from 3 to 23 km (2
to 14 miles). The southeast side of the island lies off the coast of
Thesprotia, Greece. Its shape resembles a sickle (drepanē,
δρεπάνι), to which it was compared by the ancients: the concave
side, with the city and harbour of
Corfu in the centre, lies toward
the Albanian coast. With the island's area estimated at 592.9 square
kilometres (146,500 acres), it runs approximately 64 km
(40 mi) long, with greatest breadth at around 32 km
Two high and well-defined ranges divide the island into three
districts, of which the northern is mountainous, the central
undulating, and the southern low-lying. The more important of the two
ranges, that of Pantokrator (Παντοκράτωρ – the Almighty)
stretches east and west from Cape Falacro to Cape Psaromita, and
attains its greatest elevation in the summit of the same name.
Bay of Agios Georgios in northwestern Corfu
The second range culminates in the mountain of Santi Jeca, or Santa
Decca, as it is called by misinterpretation of the Greek designation
Άγιοι Δέκα (Hagioi Deka), or the Ten Saints. The whole
island, composed as it is of various limestone formations, presents
great diversity of surface, and views from more elevated spots are
magnificent. Beaches are found in Agios Gordis, the Korission lagoon,
Agios Georgios, Marathia, Kassiopi, Sidari,
Palaiokastritsa and many
Corfu is located near the
Kefalonia geological fault
formation; earthquakes have occurred.
Corfu's coastline spans 217 kilometres (135 mi) including capes;
its highest point is
Mount Pantokrator (911 metres (2,989 ft));
and the second Stravoskiadi, at 849 m (2,785 ft). The full
extent of capes and promontories take in Agia Aikaterini, Drastis to
Lefkimmi and Asprokavos to the southeast, and Megachoro to
the south. Two islands are also to be found at a middle point of
Corfu Bay, which extends across much of the eastern shore
of the island; are known as Lazareto and Ptychia (or Vido). Camping
areas can be found in Palaiokastritsa, Agrillia, with four in the
northern part, Pyrgi, Roda,
Gouvia and Messonghi.
Diapontia Islands (Greek: Διαπόντια νησιά) are
located in the northwest of Corfu, (6 km away) and about
40 km away from Italian coasts. The main islands are Othonoi,
Ereikoussa and Mathraki.
Lazaretto Island, formerly known as Aghios Dimitrios, is located two
nautical miles northeast of Corfu; the island has an area of 17.5
acres and comes under the administration of the Greek National Tourist
Organization. During Venetian rule in the early 16th century, a
monastery was built on the islet and a leprosarium established later
in the century, after which the island was named. In 1798, during the
French occupation, the islet was occupied by the Russo-Turkish fleet,
who ran it as a military hospital. During the British occupation, in
1814, the leprosarium was once again opened after renovations, and
following Enosis in 1864 the leprosarium again saw occasional use.
During World War II, the Axis Occupation of
Greece established a Nazi
concentration camp there for the prisoners of the Greek Resistance
movement, while remaining today are the two-storied building that
served as the Headquarters of the Italian army, a small church, and
the wall against which those condemned to death were shot.
Homer identifies six plants that adorn the garden of Alcinous: wild
olive, pear, pomegranate, apple, fig and grape vine. Of these the
apple and the pear are (as of 2011[update]) very inferior[citation
needed] in Corfu; the others thrive, together with all the fruit trees
known in southern Europe, with addition of the kumquat, loquat and
prickly pear and, in some spots, the banana. Olive trees dominate and
their combination with cypress trees compose the typical Corfiot
landscape. When undisturbed by cultivation, the high maquis is the
major natural vegetation type followed by deciduous oak forests and in
less extend pine forests. In total more than 1800 plant species have
Corfu is a continental island and so its fauna is similar to that of
the opposite mainland.
Avifauna is rich with around 300 bird species been recorded from 19th
century till present time, varying from the greater flamingo to the
goldcrest. Some species have become extinct, like the rock
partridge or don't breed on the island any more, like the eastern
imperial eagle and the Bonelli's eagle.
Around 40 species of mammals live on the island and in the sea around
it. Fin whales, sperm whales, Cuvier's beaked whales, common
bottlenose dolphins, short-beaked common dolphins, striped dolphins
and Risso's dolphins are the regularly present cetaceans. Monk seals
appear from time to time without breeding here any more. Eurasian
otters still survive in the lagoons and streams of Corfu. The
golden jackal was very common till the 1960s but after persecution it
got extinct, with the last individuals observed in the first half of
Wild boar was exterminated after 2000 when farmers
started complaining about crop damage. Red foxes, beech martens, least
weasels, European hares, northern white-breasted hedgehogs are quite
easy to see as some of the smaller mammals and the bats. Coypus,
fallow deer, Indian crested porcupines, Siberian chipmunks have been
observed recently but they are escapees and only the coypu has viable
Amphibians and reptiles
8 species of amphibians and 31 species of reptiles live or have been
recorded on and around Corfu.
The Greek newt, the Macedonian crested newt, the common toad, the
European green toad, the European tree frog, the agile frog, the
Epirus water frog
Epirus water frog and the Greek marsh frog are the representatives of
the Amphibia Class.
Loggerhead sea turtles nest on the sandy beaches. On land, the
Hermann's tortoise is widespread while the marginated tortoise's
status is unclear. In freshwater wetlands European pond terrapins and
Balkan terrapins are common but the last few years face the
competition of the introduced pond slider.
Lizard species include typical lizards and geckos like the starred
agama, the Mediterranean house gecko, the moorish gecko, the Dalmatian
algyroides, the common wall lizard, the Balkan wall lizard, the Balkan
green lizard, the
European green lizard
European green lizard and the snake-eyed skink as
also the legless Greek slow worm and the European glass lizard.
Of the snakes of
Corfu only the nose-horned viper is potentially
dangerous. The harmless snake list includes the European worm snake,
the javelin sand boa, the Dahl's whip snake, the Balkan whip snake,
the Caspian whip snake, the four-lined snake, the Aesculapian snake,
the leopard snake, the grass snake, the dice snake, the European cat
snake, the eastern Montpellier snake. In 1985 a Yellow-lipped sea
snake was photographed in the sea which had probably escaped from
Corfu has a hot-summer Mediterranean climate (Csa in the Köppen
Climate data for Corfu
Record high °C (°F)
Average high °C (°F)
Daily mean °C (°F)
Average low °C (°F)
Record low °C (°F)
Average rainfall mm (inches)
Average rainy days
Average relative humidity (%)
Mean monthly sunshine hours
Source #1: Hellenic National Meteorological Service
Source #2: NOAA (extremes and sun 1961−1990)
A relief of
Dionysus Bacchus at the Archaeological Museum of Corfu.
The earliest reference to
Corfu is the Mycenaean Greek word
ko-ro-ku-ra-i-jo ("man from Kerkyra") written in
Linear B syllabic
script, c. 1300 BC. According to
Strabo Corcyra (Κόρκυρα)
was the Homeric island of
Scheria (Σχερία), and its earliest
inhabitants were the
Phaeacians (Φαίακες). The island has
indeed been identified by some scholars with Scheria, the island of
Phaeacians described in Homer's Odyssey, though conclusive and
irrefutable evidence for this theory or for Ithaca's location have not
Apollonius of Rhodes depicts the island in
a place visited by the Argonauts.
Medea were married there
in 'Medea's Cave'. Apollonius named the island Drepane, Greek for
"sickle", since it was thought to hide the sickle that
Cronus used to
castrate his father Uranus, from whose blood the
descended. In an alternative account, Apollonius identifies the buried
sickle as a scythe belonging to Demeter, yet the name Drepane probably
originated in the sickle-shape of the island. According to a
scholiast, commenting on the passage in Argonautica, the island was
first of all called
Macris after the nurse of
Dionysus who fled there
Other have asserted that
Corfu was Taphos, the island of the lelegian
Strabo (VI, 269), the
Liburnians were masters of the
island Korkyra (Corfu), until 735 BC, when they left it, under
pressure of Corinthian ruler Hersikrates, in a period of Corinthian
expansion to South Italy,
Sicily and Ionian Sea.
At a date no doubt previous to the foundation of Syracuse,
peopled by settlers from Corinth, probably 730 BC, but it appears to
have previously received a stream of emigrants from Eretria. The
commercially advantageous location of Corcyra on the way between
Greece and Magna Grecia, and its fertile lowlands in the southern
section of the island favoured its growth and, influenced perhaps by
the presence of non-Corinthian settlers, its people, quite contrary to
the usual practice of Corinthian colonies, maintained an independent
and even hostile attitude towards the mother city.
The ruins of the Temple at Kardaki, built about 700 BC
This opposition came to a head in the early part of the 7th century
BC, when their fleets fought the first naval battle recorded in Greek
history: 665 BC according to Thucydides. These hostilities ended in
the conquest of Corcyra by the Corinthian tyrant Periander
(Περίανδρος) who induced his new subjects to join in the
colonization of Apollonia and Anactorium. The island soon regained its
independence and thenceforth devoted itself to a purely mercantile
policy. During the Persian invasion of 480 BC it manned the second
largest Greek fleet (60 ships), but took no active part in the war. In
435 BC it was again involved in a quarrel with
Corinth over the
control of Epidamnus, and sought assistance from
Athens (see Battle of
This new alliance was one of the chief immediate causes of the
Peloponnesian War, in which Corcyra was of considerable use to the
Athenians as a naval station, but did not render much assistance with
its fleet. The island was nearly lost to
Athens by two attempts of the
oligarchic faction to effect a revolution; on each occasion the
popular party ultimately won the day and took a most bloody revenge on
its opponents (427 BC and 425 BC).
The lion of Menekrates at the Archaeological Museum of Corfu
During the Sicilian campaigns of
Athens Corcyra served as a supply
base; after a third abortive rising of the oligarchs in 410 BC it
practically withdrew from the war. In 375 BC it again joined the
Athenian alliance; two years later it was besieged by a Spartan force,
but in spite of the devastation of its flourishing countryside held
out successfully until relieved. In the
Hellenistic period Corcyra was
exposed to attack from several sides.
In 303 BC, after a vain siege by Cassander, the island was occupied
for a short time by the
Lacedaemonian general Cleonymus of Sparta,
then regained its independence and later it was attacked and conquered
by Agathocles of Syracuse. He offered
Corfu as dowry to his daughter
Lanassa on her marriage to Pyrrhus, King of Epirus. The island then
became a member of the Epirotic alliance. It was then perhaps that the
Cassiope was founded to serve as a base for the King of
Epirus' expeditions. The island remained in the Epirotic alliance
until 255 BC when it became independent after the death of Alexander,
last King of Epirus. In 229 BC, following the naval battle of Paxos,
it was captured by the Illyrians, but was speedily delivered by a
Roman fleet and remained a Roman naval station until at least 189 BC.
At this time, it was governed by a prefect (presumably nominated by
the consuls), but in 148 BC it was attached to the province of
Macedonia. In 31 BC, it served Octavian (Augustus) as a base
against Mark Antony. From AD 336 onwards, it was ruled by the Eastern
Roman Empire. After the definitive division of the Roman Empire in AD
395, Kerkyra remained with the Eastern Roman Empire, known in modern
historiography as the Byzantine Empire.
Pontikonisi island is home of the monastery of Pantokrator
(Μοναστήρι του Παντοκράτορος). The Greek word
Ποντικονήσι (pontikonissi) means “mouse island”; the
white staircase of the monastery resembles from afar a mouse tail.
Eclipsed by the foundation of Nicopolis, Kerkyra for a long time
passed out of notice. With the rise of the Norman kingdom in Sicily
and the Italian naval powers, it again became a frequent object of
attack. In 1081–1085 it was held by Robert Guiscard, in 1147–1154
by Roger II of Sicily.
During the break-up of the
Byzantine Empire the island was occupied by
Genoese privateers (1197–1207), who in turn were expelled by the
Venetians. In 1214 it passed to the Greek despots of Epirus, who gave
it to Manfred of
Sicily as a dowry in 1259. At his death in 1267
it passed with his other possessions to the house of Anjou. Under the
latter, the island suffered considerably from the inroads of various
The island was one of the first places in Europe in which Romani
people ("Gypsies") settled. In about 1360, a fiefdom, called the
Feudum Acinganorum was established, with mainly Romani serfs.
Corfu was controlled by the Republic of Venice, which in
1401 acquired formal sovereignty and retained it until the French
Occupation of 1797.
Ionian Islands under Venetian rule
The northern side of the Venetian Old Fortress at night. The Great
Cross can be clearly seen as described in the Palaio Frourio section
of this article.
From medieval times and into the 17th century, the island was
recognised as a bulwark of the European States against the Ottoman
Empire and became one of the most fortified places in Europe. The
fortifications of the island were used by the Venetians to defend
against Ottoman intrusion into the Adriatic.
Corfu repulsed several
Ottoman sieges, before passing under British rule following the
Kerkyra, the "Door of Venice" during the centuries when the whole
Adriatic was the Gulf of Venice, remained in Venetian hands from
1401 until 1797, though several times assailed by Ottoman naval and
land forces and subjected to four notable sieges in 1537, 1571, 1573
and 1716, in which the strength of the city defences asserted itself
time after time. The effectiveness of the powerful Venetian
fortifications as well as the strength of some old Byzantine castles
Kassiopi Castle, Gardiki and elsewhere, were
additional factors that enabled
Corfu to remain free. Will Durant
Corfu owed to the
Republic of Venice
Republic of Venice the fact that it was
one of the few parts of
Greece never conquered by the Ottomans.
A series of attempts by the Ottomans to take the island began in 1431
when Ottoman troops under Ali Bey landed on the island. The Ottomans
tried to take the city castle and raided the surrounding area, but
The Byzantine castle of Angelokastro in Corfu, located at the western
frontier of the Empire, was instrumental in repulsing the Ottomans
during the first great siege of
Corfu in 1537, in the siege of 1571
and the second great siege of
Corfu in 1716 causing the Ottomans to
fail at penetrating the defences of
Corfu in the North. Consequently
the Turks were never able to create a beachhead and to occupy the
Siege of Corfu (1537)
Siege of Corfu (1537) was the first great siege by the Ottomans.
It began on 29 August 1537, with 25,000 soldiers from the Ottoman
fleet landing and pillaging the island and taking 20,000 hostages as
slaves. Despite the destruction wrought on the countryside, the city
castle held out in spite of repeated attempts over twelve days to take
it, and the Turks left the island unsuccessfully because of poor
logistics and an epidemic that decimated their ranks.
Thirty-four years later, in August 1571, Ottoman forces returned for
yet another attempt to conquer the island. Having seized
Mourtos from the Greek mainland side, they attacked the
Subsequently they landed on Corfu's southeast shore and established a
large beachhead all the way from the southern tip of the island at
Lefkimi to Ipsos in Corfu's eastern midsection. These areas were
thoroughly pillaged as in past encounters. Nevertheless the city
castle stood firm again, a testament to Corfiot-Venetian steadfastness
as well as the Venetian castle-building engineering skills. It is also
worth mentioning that another castle, Angelokastro (Greek:
Αγγελόκαστρο meaning Angelo's Castle and named for its
Byzantine owner Angelos Komnenos), situated on the northwest coast
Palaiokastritsa (Greek: Παλαιοκαστρίτσα meaning
Old Castle place) and located on particularly steep and rocky terrain,
a tourist attraction today, also held out.
These defeats in the east and the west of the island proved decisive,
and the Ottomans abandoned their siege and departed. Two years later
they repeated their attempt. Coming from Africa after a victorious
campaign, they landed in
Corfu and wreaked havoc on rural areas.
Following a counterattack by the Venetian-Corfiot forces, the Ottoman
troops were forced to leave the city sailing away.
Outer perimeter of the Gardiki Castle which provided defence to the
southern part of the island.
The second great siege of
Corfu took place in 1716, during the last
Ottoman–Venetian War (1714–18). After the conquest of the
Peloponnese in 1715, the Ottoman fleet appeared in
Corfu. On 8 July the Ottoman fleet, carrying 33,000 men, sailed to
Buthrotum and established a beachhead at Ipsos. The
same day, the Venetian fleet encountered the Ottoman fleet off the
Corfu and defeated it in the ensuing naval battle. On 19
July, after taking a few outlying forts, the Ottoman army reached the
hills around the city of
Corfu and laid siege to it. Despite repeated
assaults and heavy fighting, the Ottomans were unable to breach the
defences and were forced to raise the siege after 22 days. The 5,000
Venetians and foreign mercenaries, together with 3,000 Corfiotes,
under the leadership of
Count von der Schulenburg who commanded the
defence of the island, were victorious once more. The
success was owed in no small part to the extensive fortifications,
where Venetian castle engineering had proven itself once again against
considerable odds. The repulse of the Ottomans was widely celebrated
Corfu being seen as a bastion of Western civilization
against the Ottoman tide. Today, however, this role is often
relatively unknown or ignored, but was celebrated in Juditha
triumphans by the Venetian composer Antonio Vivaldi.
Venetian policies and legacy
Corfu's urban architecture differs from that of other major Greek
cities, because of Corfu's unique history. From 1386 to 1797, Corfu
was ruled by Venetian nobility; much of the city reflects this era
when the island belonged to the Republic of Venice, with multi-storied
buildings on narrow lanes. The Old Town of
Corfu has clear Venetian
influence and is amongst the World Heritage Sites in Greece. It was in
the Venetian period that the city saw the erection of the first opera
house (Nobile Teatro di San Giacomo di Corfù) in Greece, but it was
badly damaged during
World War II
World War II by German artillery.
Many Venetian-speaking families settled in
Corfu during these
centuries; they were called Corfiot Italians, and until the second
half of the 20th century the Veneto da mar was spoken in Corfu. During
this time, the local
Greek language assimilated a large number of
Italian and Venetian words, many of which are still common today. The
internationally renowned Venetian-born British photographer Felice
Beato is thought to have spent much of his childhood in Corfu. Also
Italian Jews took refuge in
Corfu during the Venetian centuries
and spoke their own language (Italkian), a mixture of Hebrew-Italian
in a Venetian or Apulian dialect with some Greek words.
Venetians promoted the
Catholic Church during their four centuries of
rule in Corfu. Today the majority of Corfiots are Greek Orthodox, but
the small Catholic minority (5%), living harmoniously with the
Orthodox community, owes its faith to these origins. These
contemporary Catholics are mostly families who came from Malta, but
also from Italy, and today the Catholic community numbers about 4,000
(2⁄3 of Maltese descent), who live almost exclusively in the
Venetian "Citadel" of
Corfu City. Like other native Greek Catholics,
they celebrate Easter using the same calendar as the Greek Orthodox
church. The Cathedral of St. James and St. Christopher in
is the see of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Corfu,
The island served also as a refuge for Greek scholars, and in 1732, it
became the home of the first academy of modern Greece. A
Nikephoros Theotokis (1732–1800) became renowned in
Greece as an educator, and in
Russia (where he moved later in his
life) as an Orthodox archbishop.
The island's culture absorbed Venetian influence in a variety of ways;
Ionian islands (see Cuisine of the Ionian islands), its
local cuisine took in such elements and today's Corfiot cooking
includes Venetian delicacies and recipes: "Pastitsada", deriving from
the Venetian "Pastissada" (Italian: "Spezzatino") and the most popular
dish in the island of Corfu, "Sofrito", "Strapatsada", "Savoro",
"Bianco" and "Mandolato".
Venetian blazon with the Lion of Saint Mark, as frequently found on
New Fortress walls.
Panoramic view of
Corfu (city) from the New Fortress.
Detail of the south wing of the entrance at
View of Kasiopi village from the castle
Further information: French departments of Greece, Septinsular
Republic, and United States of the Ionian Islands
A Russian Gun from the Russian-Ottoman occupation of
Corfu in the
beginning of the 19th century, Paleokastritsa.
By the 1797 Treaty of Campo Formio,
Corfu was ceded to the French, who
occupied it for two years as the département of Corcyre, until they
were expelled by a joint Russian-Ottoman squadron under Admiral
Ushakov. For a short time it became the capital of a self-governing
federation of the Heptanesos ("Seven Islands"), under Ottoman
suzerainty; in 1807 after the
Treaty of Tilsit
Treaty of Tilsit its faction-ridden
government was again replaced by a French administration under
governor François-Xavier Donzelot, and in 1809 it was besieged in
vain by a British fleet, which had taken all the other Ionian islands.
Ionian Islands became a protectorate of the United Kingdom by the
Treaty of Paris of 5 November 1815 as the United States of the Ionian
Corfu became the seat of the British Lord High Commissioner
of the Ionian Islands. The period of British rule was a prosperous
Corfu because the
Greek language became official, new roads
were built, the water supply system was improved and the first Greek
university was founded in 1824.
Following a plebiscite the Second National Assembly of the Greeks at
Athens elected a new king, Prince Wilhelm (William) of Denmark, who
took the name George I and brought with him the
Ionian Islands as a
coronation gift from Britain. On 29 March 1864, the United Kingdom,
Greece, France and
Russia signed the Treaty of London, pledging the
transfer of sovereignty to
Greece upon ratification. Thus, on 21 May,
by proclamation of the Lord High Commissioner, the
Ionian Islands were
united with Greece.
British Lord High Commissioners during the protectorate
Maitland Monument in
Corfu town, built to commemorate Sir Thomas
This is a list of the British High Commissioners of the Ionian
Islands; (as well as the transitional Greek Governor, appointed a year
prior to Enosis (Union) with
Greece in 1864).
Sir James Campbell 1814–1816
Sir Thomas Maitland
Sir Thomas Maitland (1759–1824) 1815–1823
Frederick Adam (1781–1853) 1823–1832
Alexander Woodford (1782–1870) 1832
George Nugent-Grenville, 2nd Baron Nugent (1788–1850) 1832–1835
Howard Douglas (1776–1861) 1835–1840
James Alexander Stewart-Mackenzie (1784–1843) 1840–1843
John Colborne, 1st Baron Seaton
John Colborne, 1st Baron Seaton (1778–1863) 1843–1849
Henry George Ward
Henry George Ward (1797–1860) 1849–1855
Sir John Young (1807–1876) 1855–1859
William Ewart Gladstone
William Ewart Gladstone (1809–1898) 1859
Henry Knight Storks
Henry Knight Storks (1811–1874) 1859–1863
Count Dimitrios Nikolaou Karousos, President of Parliament
First World War
Further information: Serbian army's retreat through Albania
Serbian soldiers in
Corfu during WWI
During the First World War, the island served as a refuge for the
Serbian army that retreated there on Allied forces' ships from a
homeland occupied by the Austrians, Germans and Bulgarians. During
their stay, a large portion of Serbian soldiers died from exhaustion,
food shortage, and various diseases. Most of their remains were buried
at sea near the island of Vido, a small island at the mouth of Corfu
port, and a monument of thanks to the Greek nation has been erected at
Vido by the grateful Serbs; consequently, the waters around Vido
Island are known by the Serbian people as the Blue Tomb (in Serbian,
Плава Гробница, Plava Grobnica), after a poem written by
Milutin Bojić following World War I.
In 1923, after a diplomatic dispute between
Italy and Greece, Italian
forces bombarded and occupied Corfu. The
League of Nations
League of Nations settled
Second World War and resistance
Further information: Axis occupation of Greece
Bay of Garitsa
During the Greco-Italian War,
Corfu was occupied by the Italians in
April 1941. They administered
Corfu and the
Ionian islands as a
separate entity from
Greece until September 1943, following Benito
Mussolini's orders of fulfilling Italian Irredentism and making Corfu
part of the Kingdom of Italy. During the Second World War the 10th
infantry regiment of the Greek Army, composed mainly of Corfiot
soldiers, was assigned the task of defending Corfu. The regiment
took part in Operation Latzides, which was a heroic but ultimately
unsuccessful attempt to stem the forces of the Italians. After
Greece's surrender to the Axis, the island came under Italian control
and occupation. On the first Sunday of November 1941, high school
students from all over
Corfu took part in student protests against the
occupying Italian army; these student protests of the island were
among the first acts of overt popular Resistance in occupied Greece
and a rare phenomenon even by wartime European standards.
Subsequently, a considerable number of Corfiots escaped to
Greece and enlisted as partisans in ELAS and EDES, in order
to join the resistance movement gathering in the mainland.
Italian soldiers taken prisoner by the Germans in Corfu, September
Upon the fall of
Italian fascism in 1943, the Nazis moved to take
control of the island. On 14 September 1943,
Corfu was bombarded by
the Luftwaffe; these bombing raids destroyed churches, homes, whole
city blocks, especially in the Jewish quarter Evraiki, and a number of
important buildings, such as the Ionian Parliament, the Municipal
Theatre, the Municipal Library and others. The Italians
capitulated, and the island came under German occupation. Corfu's
mayor at the time, Kollas, was a known collaborator and various
anti-semitic laws were passed by the Nazis that now formed the
occupation government of the island. In early June 1944, while the
Corfu as a diversion from the Normandy landings, the
Gestapo rounded up the
Jews of the city, temporarily incarcerated them
at the old fort (Palaio Frourio), and on 10 June sent them to
Auschwitz, where very few survived. Approximately two hundred
out of a total population of 1,900 escaped. Many among the local
population at the time provided shelter and refuge to those 200 Jews
that managed to escape the Nazis. A section of the old city is
called Evraiki (Εβραική, meaning Jewish quarter), where there
is currently a synagogue with about 65 members, who still speak their
Douglas' column at the suburb of Garitsa. Built to commemorate Howard
Corfu was liberated by British troops, specifically the 40th Royal
Marine Commando, which landed in
Corfu on 14 October 1944, as the
Germans were evacuating Greece. The
Royal Navy swept the Corfu
Channel for mines in 1944 and 1945, and found it to be free of
mines. A large minefield was laid there shortly afterwards by the
Albania and gave rise to the
Incident. This incident led to the
Corfu Channel Case,
where the United Kingdom opened a case against the People's Republic
Albania at the International Court of Justice.
Post–World War and modern Corfu
World War II
World War II and the Greek Civil War, the island was rebuilt
under the general programme of reconstruction of the Greek Government
(Ανοικοδόμησις) and many elements of its classical
architecture remain. Its economy grew but a portion of its inhabitants
left the island for other parts of the country; buildings erected
during Italian occupation – such as schools or government buildings
– were put back to civic use. In 1956 Maria Desylla Kapodistria,
relative of first Governor (head of state) of
Kapodistrias, was elected mayor of
Corfu and became the first female
mayor in Greece. The
Corfu General Hospital was also
constructed; electricity was introduced to the villages in the
1950s, the radio substation of Hellenic Radio in
Corfu was inaugurated
in March 1957, and television was introduced in the 1960s, with
internet connections in 1995. The
Ionian University was
established in 1984.
Panoramic view of parts of Old Town of
Corfu as seen from Old
Fortress. The Bay of Garitsa is to the left and the port of
just visible on the top right of the picture.
Spianada Square is in
The city of
Corfu stands on the broad part of a peninsula, whose
termination in the Venetian citadel (Greek: Παλαιό
Φρούριο) is cut off from it by an artificial fosse formed in a
natural gully, with a seawater moat at the bottom, that now serves as
a marina and is called the Contrafossa. The old town, having grown
within fortifications, where every metre of ground was precious, is a
labyrinth of narrow streets paved with cobblestones, sometimes
tortuous but colourful and clean. These streets are known as
kantoúnia (Greek: καντούνια), and the older amongst them
sometimes follow the gentle irregularities of the ground; while many
are too narrow for vehicular traffic. A promenade rises by the
seashore towards the bay of Garitsa (Γαρίτσα), together with an
esplanade between the city and the citadel known as Spianada with the
Liston (it) arcade (Greek: Λιστόν) to its west side, where
restaurants and bistros abound.
Main article: Old Fortress, Corfu
Palaio Frourio south elevation. The Venetian built moat is on the left
and the Doric style St. George's Church built by the British can be
seen in the background on the right.
The old citadel (in Greek Palaio Frourio (Παλαιό Φρούριο)
is an old Venetian fortress built on an artificial islet with
fortifications surrounding its entire perimeter, although some
sections, particularly on the east side, are slowly being eroded and
falling into the sea. Nonetheless, the interior has been restored and
is in use for cultural events, such as concerts (συναυλίες)
and Sound and Light Productions (Ηχος και Φως), when
historical events are recreated using sound and light special effects.
These events take place amidst the ancient fortifications, with the
Ionian sea in the background. The central high point of the citadel
rises like a giant natural obelisk complete with a military
observation post at the top, with a giant cross at its apex; at the
foot of the observatory lies St. George's church, in a classical style
punctuated by six Doric columns, as opposed to the Byzantine
architectural style of the greater part of
Greek Orthodox churches.
Main article: New Fortress, Corfu
View of the Neo Frourio
The new citadel or Neo Frourio (Νέο Φρούριο, "New Fortress")
is a huge complex of fortifications dominating the northeastern part
of the city. The huge walls of the fortress loom over the landscape as
one travels from Neo Limani (Νέο Λιμάνι, "New Port") to the
city, taking the road that passes through the fishmarket
(ψαραγορά). 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.
Ano and Kato Plateia and the music pavilion
Near the old Venetian
Citadel a large square called Spianada is also
to be found, divided by a street in two parts: "Ano Plateia"
(literally: "Upper square") and "Kato Plateia" (literally: "Lower
square"), (Ανω Πλατεία and Κάτω Πλατεία in
Greek). This is the biggest square in South-Eastern Europe and one of
the largest in Europe, and replete with green spaces and
interesting structures, such as a Roman-style rotunda from the era of
British administration, known as the Maitland monument, built to
commemorate Sir Thomas Maitland. An ornate music pavilion is also
present, where the local "Philharmonikes" (Philharmonic Orchestras)
(Φιλαρμονικές), mount classical performances in the
artistic and musical tradition for which the island is well known.
"Kato Plateia" also serves as a venue where cricket matches are held
from time to time. In Greece, cricket is unique to Corfu, as it was
once a British protectorate.
Palaia Anaktora and its gardens
Main article: Palace of St. Michael and St. George
View of the Palace of Saints Michael and George (Palaia Anaktora). The
gates of St. Michael and St. George are on the left and right
respectively. The gardens are to the right of the arch of St. George.
The statue of Sir Frederick Adam, a British governor of Corfu, is at
The Garden of the People at the Palace of St. Michael and St. George
(Palaia Anaktora) with the
Ionian Sea in the background.
Just to the north of "Kato Plateia" lie the "Palaia Anaktora"
(Παλαιά Ανάκτορα: literally "Old Palaces"): a large
complex of buildings of Roman architectural style which formerly
housed the Kings of Greece, and prior to that the British Governors of
the island. It was then called the Palace of Saints Michael and
Order of St. Michael and St. George
Order of St. Michael and St. George was founded here in
1818 with motto auspicium melioris aevi, and is still awarded
by the United Kingdom. Today the palace is open to the public and
forms a complex of halls and buildings housing art exhibits, including
a Museum of Asian Art, unique across Southern Europe in its scope and
in the richness of its Chinese and Asian exhibits. The gardens of the
Palaces, complete with old Venetian stone aquariums, exotic trees and
flowers, overlook the bay through old Venetian fortifications and
turrets, and the local sea baths (Μπάνια τ' Αλέκου) are
at the foot of the fortifications surrounding the gardens. A café on
the grounds includes its own art gallery, with exhibitions of both
local and international artists, known locally as the Art Café. From
the same spot, the viewer can observe ships passing through the narrow
channel of the historic
Vido island (Νησί Βίδου) to the
north, on their way to
Corfu harbour (Νέο Λιμάνι), with high
speed retractable aerofoil ferries from
Igoumenitsa also cutting
across the panorama. A wrought-iron aerial staircase, closed to
visitors, descends to the sea from the gardens; the Greek royal family
used it as a shortcut to the baths. Rewriting history, locals now
refer to the old Royal Gardens as the "Garden of the People" (Ο
Κήπος του Λαού).
The Old Town and Pontikonisi
The Old Town of
Corfu city is an
UNESCO World Heritage Site. In
several parts of the old city, buildings of the Venetian era are to be
found. The old city's architectural character is strongly influenced
by the Venetian style, coming as it did under Venetian rule for a long
period; its small and ancient side streets, and the old buildings'
trademark arches are particularly reminiscent of Venice. Of the
thirty-seven Greek churches, the most important are the city's
cathedral, the church dedicated to Our Lady of the Cave (η
Παναγία Σπηλιώτισσα (hē Panagia Spēliōtissa));
Saint Spyridon church, wherein lies the preserved body of the patron
saint of the island; and finally the suburban church of St
St Sosipater (Αγιοι Ιάσων και Σωσίπατρος),
reputedly the oldest in the island, and named after the two saints
probably the first to preach Christianity to the Corfiots.
The nearby island, known as
Pontikonisi (Greek meaning "mouse
island"), though small is very green with abundant trees, and at its
highest natural elevation (excluding its trees or man-made structures,
such as the monastery), stands at about 2 m (6 ft
Pontikonisi is home of the monastery of Pantokrator
(Μοναστήρι του Παντοκράτορος); the white
stone staircase of the monastery, viewed from afar, gives the
impression of a (mouse) tail, which lent the island its name.
Archaeology and architecture
An architectural overview: From classical to modern
The harbour of
Corfu in 1890
Corfu contains a few very important remains of antiquity. The site of
the ancient city of Corcyra (Kerkyra) is well ascertained, about
1.5 mi (2 km) to the south-east of Corfu, upon the narrow
piece of ground between the sea-lake of Halikiopoulo and the Bay of
Castrades, in each of which it had a port. The circular tomb of
Menekrates, with its well-known inscription, is on the Bay of
Castrades. Under the hill of Ascension are the remains of a temple,
popularly called of Poseidon, a very simple dome structure, which
still in its mutilated state presents some peculiarities of
architecture. In regard of Cassiope, the only other city of ancient
importance, its name is still preserved by the village of Cassiopi,
and there are some rude remains of building on the site; but the
Zeus Cassius for which it was celebrated has totally
disappeared. Throughout the island numerous monasteries and other
buildings of Venetian erection are to be found, of which the best
known are Paleokastritsa, San Salvador and Peleka. The Achilleion is a
palace commissioned by Elisabeth of
Austria and purchased in 1907 by
Wilhelm II of Germany; it is now a popular tourist attraction.
Corfu town as seen from the sea
Corfu city is famous for its Italianate architecture, most notably the
Liston, an arched colonnade lined with cafes on the edge of the
Spianada (Esplanade), the vast main plaza and park which incorporates
a cricket field and several pavilions. Also notable are the
Venetian-Roman style City Hall, the Old and New castles, the recently
restored Palace of Sts. Michael and George, formerly the residence of
the British governor and the seat of the Ionian Senate, and the summer
Palace of Mon Repos, formerly the property of the Greek royal family
and birthplace of the Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. The Park of
Mon Repos is adjacent to the Palaiopolis of Kerkyra, where excavations
were conducted by the Greek Archaeological Service in collaboration
with the University of Louvain-la-Neuve in Belgium, and Brown
University in the United States.
Examples of the finds can be found in the Museum of the Palace of Mon
Destruction of architecture during World War II
During World War II, the island was bombed by the Luftwaffe, resulting
in the destruction of most of the city's buildings, including its
market (αγορά) and Hotel Bella Venezia. The worst architectural
losses of the
Luftwaffe bombardment were the splendid buildings of the
Ionian Academy (Ιόνιος Ακαδημία), and the Municipal
Theatre (which in 1901 had replaced the Nobile Teatro di San Giacomo).
The Roman style Theatre (Θέατρον) of the city was later
replaced by a bland, modern box-style building. Discussions have been
held at local governmental level about demolishing this modern
building and replacing it with a replica of the old theatre. In
Ionian University reconstructed the
Ionian Academy in
its former style.
Main article: Achilleion (Corfu)
Statue of Achilleús Thnēskōn (
Achilles Dying) in the gardens of the
In 1889, Empress Elizabeth of
Austria built a summer palace in the
region of Gastouri (Γαστούρι) to the south of the city, naming
it Achílleion (Αχίλλειον) after the Homeric hero Achilles.
The structure is filled with paintings and statues of Achilles, both
in the main hall and in the gardens, depicting scenes of the Trojan
War. The palace, with the neoclassical Greek statues that surround it,
is a monument to platonic romanticism as well as escapism.
Achilles as guardian of the palace in the gardens of the Achilleion.
He gazes northward, toward the city. The inscription in Greek reads:
ΑΧΙΛΛΕΥΣ i.e. Achilles. It was commissioned by
The Imperial gardens on the hill look over the surrounding green hills
and valleys and the Ionian sea. The centrepiece of the gardens is a
marble statue on a high pedestal, of the mortally wounded Achilles
(Greek: Αχιλλεύς Θνήσκων, Achilleús Thnēskōn,
Achilles Dying) without hubris and wearing only a simple cloth and an
ancient Greek hoplite helmet. This statue was carved by German
sculptor Ernst Gustav Herter.
The hero is presented devoid of rank or status, and seems notably
human, though heroic, as he is forever trying to pull Paris's arrow
from his heel. His classically depicted face is full of pain. He gazes
skyward, as if to seek help from Olympus. According to Greek
mythology, his mother
Thetis was a goddess.
In 1898, Empress Sissi was assassinated at the age of 60 by an Italian
anarchist, Luigi Lucheni, in Geneva, Switzerland. After her death, the
palace was sold to the German
Kaiser Wilhelm II. In contrast, at the
great staircase in the main hall is a giant painting of the triumphant
Achilles full of pride. Dressed in full royal military regalia and
erect on his racing chariot, he pulls the lifeless body of Hector of
Troy in front of the stunned crowd watching helplessly from inside the
walls of the Trojan citadel.
Following the Kaiser's purchase of the Achilleion, he invited
archaeologist Reinhard Kekulé von Stradonitz, a friend and advisor,
to come to
Corfu to advise him where to position the huge statue of
Achilles which he commissioned. The famous salute to
Achilles from the
Kaiser, which had been inscribed at the statue's base, was also
created by Kekulé. The inscription read:
To the Greatest Greek from the Greatest German
The inscription was subsequently removed after World War II.
The Achilleion was eventually acquired by the Greek state and has now
been converted into a museum.
View of the Kaiser's bridge
Kaiser Wilhelm II was also fond of taking holidays in Corfu.
Having purchased the Achilleion in 1907 after Sissi's death, he
Carl Ludwig Sprenger
Carl Ludwig Sprenger as the botanical architect of the
Palace, and also built a bridge later named by the locals after
him—the "Kaiser's bridge" (Greek: η γέφυρα του
Κάιζερ transliterated as: i gefyra tou Kaizer)—to access the
beach without traversing the road forming the island's main artery to
the south. The bridge, arching over the road, spanned the distance
between the lower gardens of Achilleion and the nearby beach; its
remains, a monument to imperial vanity, are an important landmark on
the highway. The bridge's central section was demolished by the
Wehrmacht in 1944, during the German occupation of World War II, to
allow for the passage of an enormous cannon, forming part of the Nazi
defences in the southeastern coast of Corfu.
The flag of the municipality
The present municipality of
Corfu was formed in the 2011 local
government reform by the merger of the following 15 former
municipalities, which became municipal units:
The province of
Corfu (Greek: Επαρχία Κέρκυρας) was one
of the provinces of the
Corfu Prefecture. Its territory corresponded
with that of the current municipality Corfu. It was abolished in
Ionian Academy is the first academic institution of modern Greece.
The building is now fully restored after the WWII
Ioannis Kapodistrias' ancestral home in
Corfu town. Nowadays hosts the
Translation Department of the Ionian University
Aside from being a leading centre for the Fine Arts,
Corfu is also the
home of the Ionian Academy, an institution carrying through and
strengthening the tradition of Greek education while the rest of
Greece was still under Ottoman rule.
It is also home to the Ionian University, established in 1984, in
recognition, by the administration of Andreas Papandreou, of Corfu's
contribution to Education in Greece, as the seat of the first Greek
university in modern times, the Ionian Academy. The academy was
founded in 1824, forty years before the cession of the Ionian islands
to Greece, and just three years after Greece's Revolution of 1821.
In the modern era, beginning with its massive student protests during
World War II
World War II against fascist occupation, and continuing in the fight
against the dictatorship of
Georgios Papadopoulos (1967–1974),
Corfu have played a vanguard role in protesting for
freedom and democracy in Greece, against both internal and external
oppression. For Corfiotes a recent example of such heroism is that of
geology student Kostas Georgakis, who set himself ablaze in Genoa,
Italy on 19 September 1970, in a protest against the Greek military
junta of 1967-1974.
Museums and libraries
Gorgon as depicted on the western pediment from the Temple of
Artemis, on display at the Archaeological Museum of Corfu.
Corfu library at Palaio Frourio
Kerkyra has always been a cultural centre of distinction and
cosmopolitanism. Its museums and libraries are studded with
irreplaceable books and artifacts. The most notable of its museums and
libraries are located in the city, and are:
The Archaeological Museum, inaugurated in 1967, was constructed to
house the exhibit of the huge
Gorgon pediment of the Artemis temple in
the ancient city of Korkyra, excavated at Palaiopolis in the early
20th century. The pediment has been described by the
New York Times
New York Times as
the "finest example of archaic temple sculpture extant". Kaiser
Wilhelm II had developed a "lifelong obsession" with the Gorgon
sculpture, dating from seminars on Greek Archaeology the Kaiser
attended while at the University of Bonn. The seminars were given by
archaeologist Reinhard Kekulé von Stradonitz, who later became the
Kaiser's advisor. In 1994, two more halls were added to the
museum, where new discoveries from the excavations of the ancient city
and the Garitsa cemetery are exhibited.
Museum of Asian art of Corfu
Museum of Asian art of Corfu is located at the Palace of St.
Michael and St. George (mainly Chinese and Japanese Arts); its unique
collection is housed in 15 rooms, taking in over 12,000 artifacts,
Greco-Buddhist art collection that shows the influence of
Alexander the Great
Alexander the Great on Buddhist culture as far as
The Banknote Museum, located in Aghios Spyridon square, features a
complete collection of Greek banknotes from independence to the
adoption of the euro in 2002.
The Byzantine Museum of Antivouniotissa, a church converted into a
museum featuring rare Byzantine art.
Kapodistrias Museum. Ioannis Kapodistrias' summer home in Koukourisa
in his birthplace of
Corfu has been converted to a museum
commemorating his life and accomplishments and has been named in his
honour. Donated by Maria Desylla Kapodistria, grand niece of
Ioannis Kapodistrias, former mayor of
Corfu and first female mayor of
The Music Museum of the
Philharmonic Society of Corfu
Philharmonic Society of Corfu is located in
the building of the Philharmonic Society and features scores,
instruments, paintings and documents related to the music history of
Corfu and the 19th-century Ionian Islands.
The Public Library of
Corfu is located at the old English Barracks, in
The Reading Society of
Corfu has an extensive library of old Corfu
manuscripts and rare books.
Serbian Museum of Corfu
Serbian Museum of Corfu (Serbian: Српска кућа, Serbian
House) houses rare exhibits about the Serbian soldiers' tragic fate
during the First World War. The remnants of the Serbian Army of about
150,000 soldiers together with their government in exile, found refuge
and shelter in Corfu, following the collapse of the Serbian Front as a
result of the
Austro-Hungarian attack of 6 October 1915. Exhibits
include photographs from the three years stay of the Serbians in
Corfu, together with other exhibits such as uniforms, arms and
ammunition of the Serbian army, Serbian regimental flags, religious
artifacts, surgical tools and other decorations of the Kingdom of
Solomos Museum and the Corfiot Studies Society.
Patron Saint Spyridon
The bell tower of the
Saint Spyridon Church can be seen in the
background among the busy kantounia of the city centre. On top of the
stores are apartments with balconies. It is from these type of
balconies that Corfiots throw botides, clay pots, to celebrate the
Resurrection during Easter festivities.
Saint Spyridon the Thaumaturgist (Miracle-worker,
Θαυματουργός) is the patron saint (πολιούχος) of
the city and the island. St. Spyridon is revered for the miracle of
expelling the plague (πανώλη) from the island, among many other
miracles attributed to him. It is believed by the faithful that on its
way from the island the plague scratched one of the fortification
stones of the old citadel to indicate its fury at being expelled; to
St. Spyridon is also attributed the role of saving the island at the
second great siege of
Corfu of 1716. The legend says that the
sight of St. Spyridon approaching Ottoman forces bearing a flaming
torch in one hand and a cross in the other caused panic.
The legend also states that the Saint caused a tempest which was
partly responsible for repulsing the Ottomans. This victory over
the Ottomans, therefore, was attributed not only to the leadership of
Count Schulenburg who commanded the stubborn defence of the island
against Ottoman forces, but also to the miraculous intervention of St.
Venice honoured von der Schulenburg and the Corfiots for
successfully defending the island. Recognizing St. Spyridon's role in
the defence of the island
Venice legislated the establishment of the
litany (λιτανεία) of St Spyridon on 11 August as a
commemoration of the miraculous event, inaugurating a tradition that
continues to this day. In 1716 Antonio Vivaldi, on commission by
the republic of Venice, composed the oratorio
Juditha triumphans to
commemorate this great event.
Juditha triumphans was first performed
in November 1716 in
Venice by the orchestra and choir of the Ospedale
della Pietà and is described as Vivaldi's first great oratorio.
Hence Spyridon is a very popular first name for Greek males born on
the island and/or to islanders.
Music and festivities
The Three City Philharmonics
A marching band from Austria, a frequent visitor, through the Corfu
landmark of Liston (it). In the background the western arch of
Palace of St. Michael and St. George.
Corfiote musical tradition is significant. In the past, people would
join in the singing of cantádes (Greek: καντάδες) or
serenades), impromptu choral songs in two, three or four voices,
usually accompanied by a guitar. Nowadays, in the face of rigours of a
modern life from which Corfiote society has not been spared, cantádes
(from the Italian verb cantare, to sing) are only performed by
semi-professional or amateur singers, often as attractions for
'Bands' (Philharmonic societies, or Φιλαρμονικές), which
also provide free instruction in music, are still popular and continue
to attract young recruits. There are nineteen such marching wind bands
throughout the island.
Corfu city is home to the three most prestigious bands – in order of
Philharmonic Society of Corfu
Philharmonic Society of Corfu use dark blue uniforms with dark red
accents, and blue and red helmet plumes. It is usually called the Old
Philharmonic or simply the Paliá ("Old"). Founded 12 September 1840.
the Mantzaros Philharmonic Society use blue uniforms with blue and
white helmet plumes. It is commonly called the Néa ("New"). Founded
25 October 1890.
the Capodistria Philharmonic Union use bright red and black uniforms
and plumes. It is commonly called the Cónte Capodístria or simply
the Cónte ("Count"). It is the juniormost of the three (founded 18
All three maintain two major bands each, the main marching bands that
can field up to 200 musicians on grand occasions, and the 60-strong
student bandinas meant for lighter fare and on-the-job training.
The bands give regular summer weekend promenade concerts at the
Spianada Green "pálko", and have a prominent part in the yearly Holy
Week ceremonies. A considerable but mostly friendly rivalry between
them persists, and each rigorously adhere to their respective
repertoires. Every time one of these bands passes in front of the
building housing another, they stop and give a musical "salute" to
their rival. While this is officially a sign of respect, it is
actually a challenge meant to show off to the rivals and impress them
with a display of superior musicianship.
The Music Pavilion in
Spianada Square (Ano Plateia) with Palaio
Frourio in the background. The philharmonics use it regularly for
their free concerts.
On Good Friday, from the early afternoon onward, the bands of the
three Philharmonic Societies, separated into squads, accompany the
Epitaph processions of the city churches. Late in the afternoon, the
squads come together to form one band in order to accompany the
Epitaph procession of the cathedral, while the funeral marches that
the bands play differ depending on the band; the Old Philharmonic play
Albinoni's Adagio, the Mantzaros play Verdi's Marcia Funebre from Don
Carlo, and the Capodistria play Chopin's Funeral March and Mariani's
On Holy Saturday morning, the three city bands again take part in the
Epitaph processions of St. Spyridon Cathedral in procession with the
Saint's relics. At this point the bands play different funeral
marches, with the Mantzaros playing Miccheli's Calde Lacrime, the
Palia playing Marcia Funebre from Faccio's Amleto, and the Capodistria
playing the Funeral March from Beethoven's Eroica. This custom dates
from the 19th century, when colonial administrators banned the
participation of the British garrison band in the traditional Holy
Friday funeral cortege. The defiant Corfiotes held the litany the
following morning, and paraded the relics of St. Spyridon too, so that
the administrators would not dare intervene.
The litany is followed by the celebration of the "Early Resurrection";
balconies in the old city are decked in bright red cloth, and
Corfiotes throw down large clay pots (the bótides, μπότηδες)
full of water to smash on the street pavement, especially in wider
areas of Liston (it) and in an organised fashion. This is
enacted in anticipation of the Resurrection of Jesus, which is to be
celebrated that same night, and to commemorate King David's
phrase: "Thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel" (Psalm
Once the bótides commotion is over, the three bands parade the
clay-strewn streets playing the famous "Graikoí" festive march.
This legendary march, the anthem of the island, was composed during
Venetian rule, and its lyrics urged: "Greeks, never fear, we are all
enslaved: you to the Turks, we to the Venetians, but one day we shall
all be free". The Venetians were replaced by the French and the French
by the British, and both the lyrics and the performance of the march
were officially banned. The bands, however, defiantly played it on the
Eve of Easter, as a token of the resurrection of the nation, and the
tradition is honored to this day.
Nikolaos Mantzaros, major representative of the Ionian School of music
While much of present-day
Greece was under Ottoman rule, the Ionian
Islands enjoyed a Golden Age in music and opera.
Corfu was the capital
city of a prized Venetian colony and it benefited from a unique
musical and theatrical heritage. Then in the 19th century, as a
Corfu developed a musical heritage of its own
and which constitutes the nucleus of modern Greek musical history.
Until the early 18th century, musical life took place in city and
village squares, with performances of straight or musical comedies –
known as Momaries or Bobaries. From 1720,
Corfu became the possessor
of the first theatre in post-1452 Greece. It was the Teatro San
Giacomo (now the City Hall) named after the nearby Roman Catholic
cathedral (completed in 1691).
The island was also the center of the so-called Ionian School of
music, the musical production of a group of Heptanesian composers,
whose heyday was from the early 19th century till approximately the
1950s. It was the first school of classical music in
Greece and it was
a heavy influence for the later Greek music scene, after the
Teatro di San Giacomo
Main article: Nobile Teatro di San Giacomo di Corfù
Nobile Teatro di San Giacomo di Corfù
Nobile Teatro di San Giacomo di Corfù was the first theatre and opera
house of modern Greece. Today it serves as the
Corfu City Hall.
Under Venetian rule, the Corfiotes developed a fervent appreciation of
Italian opera, which was the real source of the extraordinary (given
conditions in the mainland of Greece) musical development of the
island during this era. The opera house of
Corfu during 18th and
19th century was the Nobile Teatro di San Giacomo, named after the
neighbouring Catholic cathedral; it was later converted into the City
Hall. It was both the first theatre and first opera house of
Greece in modern times and the place where the first Greek opera
(based on an exclusively Greek libretto), Spyridon Xyndas' The
Parliamentary Candidate was performed. A long series of local
composers, such as Nikolaos Mantzaros, Spyridon Xyndas, Antonio
Liberali, Domenico Padovani, the Zakynthian Pavlos Carrer, the
Lambelet family, Spyridon Samaras, and others, all developed careers
intertwined with the theatre. San Giacomo's place was taken by the
Municipal Theatre in 1902, which maintained the operatic tradition
vividly until its destruction during German air raid in 1943.
The first opera to be performed in the San Giacomo was in 1733
("Gerone, tiranno di Siracusa"), and for almost two hundred years,
between 1771 and 1943, nearly every major opera from the Italian
tradition, as well as many others from Greek and French composers,
were performed on the stage of the San Giacomo; this tradition
continues to be reflected in Corfiote operatic mythology, a fixture in
famous opera singers' itineraries.
Municipal Theatre of Corfu
Main article: Municipal Theatre of Corfu
The Municipal Theatre of Corfu, which in the early 20th century
replaced the legendary Nobile Teatro di San Giacomo. This photograph
shows the theatre prior to the 1943
Luftwaffe bombardment and its
subsequent destruction during WWII.
The new municipal theatre.
Municipal Theatre of Corfu
Municipal Theatre of Corfu (Greek: Δημοτικό Θέατρο
Κέρκυρας) has been the main theatre and opera house in Corfu,
Greece since 1902. The theatre was the successor of Nobile Teatro
di San Giacomo di Corfù which became the
Corfu city hall. It was
destroyed during a
Luftwaffe aerial bombardment in 1943.
Ionian University and musical tradition
Since the early 1990s a music department has been established at the
Ionian University. Aside from its academic activities, concerts in
Corfu and abroad, and musicological research in the field of
Neo-Hellenic Music, the Department organizes an international music
academy every summer, which gathers together both international
students and professors specialising in brass, strings, singing, jazz
Corfu tradition is known as the
Carnival or Ta
Karnavalia. Venetian in origin, festivities include a parade featuring
the main attraction of Karnavalos, a rather grotesque figure with a
large head and smiling face, leading a diverse procession of colourful
floats. Corfiots, young and old, dress up in colourful costumes
and follow the parade, spilling out into the area's narrow streets
(kantounia) and spreading the festivities across the city, dancing
and socialising. At night, in the island's more sophisticated social
circles, dance and costume parties are traditional.
Corfu in myth
It is in
Corfu that Hercules, just before embarking on his ten
labours, slept with the naiad Melite; she bore him Hyllus, the leader
of the Heraclids.
Corfu marks the Argonauts' refuge from the avenging Colchic fleet,
after their seizure of the Golden Fleece.
In the mythical sea adventure of Homer's Odyssey, Kerkyra is the
island of the Phaeacians, (Phaiakes) wherein
Odysseus (Ulysses) meets
Nausica, the daughter of King Alkinoos. The bay of
considered to be the place where
Corfu in literature
Gerald Durrell wrote three well-loved books about
his 1935–1940 childhood on Corfu: My Family and Other Animals;
Birds, Beasts and Relatives; and The Garden of the Gods. His brother,
literary author Lawrence Durrell, also wrote a volume about Corfu:
Prospero's Cell: A Guide to the Landscape and Manners of the Island of
Mary Stewart's novel
This Rough Magic
This Rough Magic is set in Corfu.
Prospero's island in Shakespeare's final play, The Tempest, is often
said to have been based on Corfu.
Humbert Humbert's first love, Annabel Leigh, is said to have "died of
typhus in Corfu" in a primal scene of Vladimir Nabokov's Lolita.
Novelist Simon Raven (1927-2001) set 'Come Like Shadows', the eighth
novel in his 'Alms for Oblivion' sequence, on Corfu.
Albert Cohen wrote 3 books which are partially or entirely set in
Corfu. They are: Mangeclous, Les Valeureux, and Belle du Seigneur.
Corfu in film
Corfu was one of the main locations featured in the 1970 film The
George Peppard and Joan Collins.
Corfu was one of the settings of The Burglars, a 1971 film starring
Jean-Paul Belmondo and Omar Sharif.
Much of the 1978
Billy Wilder film Fedora is set in
Corfu and filmed
The 1981 James Bond movie For Your Eyes Only has a number of scenes
filmed in Corfu. The most memorable scene of the film to be bound with
the island is of the underwater ancient Greek temple, with a huge
turtle swimming in front of the camera; a casino scene was also filmed
at the Achilleion. Other scenes filmed here include those tracing
'Melina' and James' walk through the city's streets, and Melina being
greeted by Bond at
Pontikonisi island. A major action element was
filmed on the largest sandy beach on the island, Issos Beach in Agios
Georgios South, involving a beach buggy chase along the dunes. The
film's scene depicting a Greek wedding was filmed at the Bouas-Danilia
traditional village (Μπούας Δανίλια
παραδοσιακό χωριό). Action scenes were also filmed
at Neo Frourio.
The 1984 Greek film "Η Τιμή της Αγάπης" (The Price of
Love), directed by
Tonia Marketaki is a tragic love story taking place
in Corfu. It is based on the novel Honour and Money by Konstantinos
Corfu is also the setting of a 1987
BBC TV series version, and a 2005
BBC movie version, of My Family and Other Animals, Gerald Durrell's
book about his childhood in
Corfu in the late 1930s
The Gaze of the
Gorgon (1992): a poem-film for
BBC television by
British poet Tony Harrison. The film examines the politics of conflict
in the 20th century using the
Gorgon as a metaphor. The imaginary
narration of the film is done through the mouth of Jewish poet
Heinrich Heine. The film describes the connection between the Corfu
Gorgon at the
Artemis Temple of Corfu
Artemis Temple of Corfu and
Kaiser Wilhelm II.
Harrison concludes his 1992 film-poem by making a proposal that in the
1994 European Union summit in Corfu, Heine's statue be returned to
Corfu on time to preside over the new Europe so that EU can keep its
eyes open and not turn to stone from the Gorgon's gaze.
The Countess of Corfu
The Countess of Corfu (Greek: Η Κόμησσα Της
Κέρκυρας), a 1972 film starring
Rena Vlahopoulou and Alekos
Alexandrakis, was filmed in Corfu.
ITV aired a TV series, named
The Durrells in Corfu, in April 2016 and
a second season in 2017 with a third being filmed that year. It is a
biographical series detailing Gerald Durrell's childhood on Corfu.
Corfu in popular culture
Corfu is one of the locations in the legend of Simon and Milo, where
Simon falls in love temporarily. It is the setting of the 1998 song
Mediterranean Lady by Prozzak. The island is alluded to several times
in David Foster Wallace's The Broom of the System. Drake mentions
Corfu in a song.
The famous beach at Canal D'Amour,
Sidari on a windy day. At the
entrance of the bay there is an opening in the rock at the right
(centre left of picture) that continues to the other side, a natural
tunnel. This sea channel gave the beach its name: Canal D'Amour,
French for channel of love.
Corfiotes have a long history of hospitality to foreign residents and
visitors, typified in the 20th century by Gerald Durrell's childhood
reminiscence My Family and Other Animals. The north east coast has
largely been developed by a few British holiday companies, with large
expensive holiday villas.
Package holiday resorts exist on the
north, east and southwest coasts.
At the other end of the island, the southern resort of
provides tourist facilities.
St George South to the west boasts the largest sandy beach on the
island coupled with a selection of all inclusive package hotels and
traditional corfiot villas and flats. The Korission lake nature
reserve also provides a stop over for European birds migrating south.
Up until the early 20th century, it was mainly visited by the European
royals and elites, including Emperor
Wilhelm II of Germany
Wilhelm II of Germany and Empress
Elisabeth of Austria; today it is also widely visited by middle class
families (primarily from the UK,
Scandinavia and Germany). With the
advent of the jet airliner bringing these groups relatively affordable
Corfu was one of the primary destinations for this
new form of mass tourism. It is still popular with the
ultra-wealthy however, and in the island's northeast the homeowners
include members of the
Rothschild family and Russian
Ioannis Kapodistrias International Airport
The Flying Dolphin hydrofoil ferry near
Vido island is
in the foreground with the Albanian coastline in the background.
The island is linked by two motorways, GR-24 in the northwest and
GR-25 in the south.
Greek National Road 24, Cen., NW,
Corfu – Palaiokastritsa
Greek National Road 25, Cen., S, SE,
Corfu – Lefkimi
Corfu has ferry services both by traditional ferries to Gaios in the
Paxoi and as far as
Patras and both traditional ferries and
advanced retractable airfoil, hydrodynamic-flow, high-speed ferries
called "Flying Dolphins" to
Sarandë in neighbouring
Albania. The small port of
Lefkimmi is also to be found at the
southernmost tip of the island on Cape Kavos, offering a ferry service
to the mainland.
Ioannis Kapodistrias International Airport, named after Ioannis
Kapodistrias, a distinguished Corfiot and European diplomat, and the
first governor of the independent Greek state, is located around three
kilometres south of Kerkyra, just half a kilometre north of
Pontikonisi. The approach and landing, in a northeasterly direction,
afford passengers spectacular aerial views of
Vlaheraina Monastery, also taking in the hills of Kanoni, as the
runway employed for landing lies a few hundred metres from these
spectacular local landmarks. The airport offers domestic flights from
Olympic Airlines (OA 600, 602 and 606), and
Aegean Airlines (A3 402,
404 and 406). Seaplanes, Air Sea Lines, a Greek seaplane operator,
offers scheduled flights from
Corfu to Paxoi, Lefkada, Ithaki,
Brindisi in Italy.
The buses to the main places on the island run about six times a day
between the city and Glyfada, Sidari, Paleokastritsa, Roda and
Lefkimmi and Piri. Other coaches drive up to twice
a day to
Athens and Thessaloniki. City buses run through the city to
the Airport, Achilleon, Gouvia, Afra,
Pelekas and some other places of
The Diapontia islands are accessible by boat with regular services
Corfu port and Agios Stefanos
Avliotes and by ferrie from Corfu
Koum Quat liqueurs, produced in Corfu.
Corfu is mostly planted with olive groves and vineyards and has been
producing olive oil and wine since antiquity. The main wine grape
varietals found in
Corfu are the indigenous white Kakotrýgēs and red
Petrokóritho, the Cefalonian white Robóla, the Aegean Moscháto
(white muscat), the Achaean Mavrodáphnē and others.
Modern times have seen the introduction of specialist cultivation
supported by the mild climate, like the kumquat and bergamot oranges,
which are extensively used in making spoon sweets and liqueurs. Corfu
also produces local animal products, such as Corfiote graviéra (a
variant of gruyere) and "Corfu" cheese (a variant of Grana); "Corfu
butter" (Boútyro Kerkýras), an intensely flavored cooking and baking
butter made of ewe's milk; and the noúmboulo salami made of pork and
lard and flavored with orange peel, oregano, thyme and other aromatic
herbs, which are also burned for smoking.
Local culinary specialties include sofrito (a veal rump roast of
Venetian origin), pastitsáda (bucatini pasta served with diced veal
cooked in a tomato sauce), bourdétto (cod cooked in a peppery sauce),
mándoles (caramelized almonds), pastéli (honey bars made with
sesame, almonds or pistacchios), mandoláto (a "pastéli" made of
crushed almonds, sugar, honey and vanilla), and tzitzibíra, the local
ginger beer, a remnant of the British era. There are three beweries in
Corfu and one bed layers factory.
The island has again become an important port of call and has a
considerable trade in olive oil. In earlier times there was a great
export of citron, which was cultivated here, including for ritual use
in the Jewish community during the
See also: List of twin towns and sister cities in Greece
Arsenius (10th century) saint
Peithias, leader during the Peleponnesian War
Philiscus, tragic poet, born in Corfu
Ptolichus (5th century BC) sculptor
Ioannis Kapodistrias (1776–1831), first head of state,
governor of independent
Greece and founder of the modern Greek state
H.R.H. Princess Alexia of
Greece and Denmark, born in Corfu
Marie Aspioti, M.B.E., distinguished Corfiote magazine publisher and
cultural figure who influenced the literary and cultural life of
Panos Aravantinos, artist, born in Corfu
Felice Beato, 19th-century photographer, born in Corfu
Giacomo Casanova, lived on the island as an officer of the Venetian
Albert Cohen, Swiss-French author, born in Corfu
Haim Corfu, Israeli politician, was born in Jerusalem, his family name
testifying to his family's origin
Mathew Devaris, scholar, born in Corfu
Tommaso Diplovataccio, Greco-Italian jurist, publisher and politician,
born in Corfu
Panagiotis Doxaras, painter, pioneer of the Heptanese School of
painting, worked and died in Corfu
Gerald Durrell lived in
Corfu and wrote autobiographic books about the
topic of Corfu, like My Family And Other Animals, Birds, Beasts, and
Relatives, The Garden of the Gods, making the island famous among the
readers, books translated in many languages.
Lawrence Durrell also lived in
Corfu for some years and Lawrence
wrote, among several other books on Greece, Prospero's Cell: A Guide
to the Landscape and Manners of the Island of Corcyra
Elisabeth of Bavaria
Elisabeth of Bavaria ("Sissi"), Empress of Austria, built Achilleion
as summer palace
Kostas Georgakis, student, martyr of the resistance against the Greek
military junta of 1967-1974, born in Corfu
Angela Gerekou, actress, singer and politician, born in Corfu. Wife of
Spyros Gogolos, footballer, born in Corfu
Angelos Grammenos, actor
Augustinos Kapodistrias, younger brother of Ioannis Kapodistrias,
soldier and politician. He was born in Corfu.
Ioannis Kapodistrias, first Governor of Greece, born in Corfu
Maria Desylla-Kapodistria, relative of Ioannis Kapodistrias, mayor of
Corfu and first female mayor of Greece.
Kore. Ydro., musical group, formed and based in Corfu
Spyridon Lambros, history professor and former Prime Minister of
Greece, born in Corfu
Vicky Leandros, international pop star, born in Corfu
Andreas Mandelis - expert on photonics, member of the Canadian Academy
of Engineering. Awarded the 2014 Killam Prize
Nikolaos Mantzaros, composer, born in Corfu
Aristedes Metallinos, sculptor
Margarita Miniati, (1821-1897) Greek scholar and writer, born in Corfu
Andreas Moustoxydis, historian and philologist, born in Corfu
Vangelis Petsalis, classical musician and composer, born in Corfu
H.R.H. Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, born Prince Philippos of
Greece and Denmark, in
Corfu in 1921
Saint Philomena, according to legend she started her life as a Greek
princess born in Corfu
Iakovos Polylas (fr), first published of Dionysios Solomos, born
Henry Ponsonby (1825-1895), Private Secretary to Her
Britannic Majesty Queen Victoria, Empress of India.
Georgios Rallis, (1918–2006) prime minister. Son of Ioannis Rallis
and Zaira, daughter of George Theotoki.
Alexander Rossi, artist, born in Corfu
Sakis Rouvas, singer and athlete, born in Corfu
Marshal Johann Matthias
Reichsgraf von der Schulenburg, Austrian
general and aristocrat. The
Reichsgraf successfully defended the
island against the Ottoman Turks during the siege of 1716 as leader of
the Venetian forces in Corfu
Spyridon Samaras, composer, born in Corfu
Nikolaos Sophianos, humanist and cartographer, born in Corfu
Carl Ludwig Sprenger, German botanist, lived in Corfu
Theodore Stephanides, poet, author, doctor and naturalist, born in
Georgios Theotokis, former Prime Minister of Greece, born in Corfu
Ioannis Theotokis, politician, born in Corfu
Nikephoros Theotokis (1732–1800), Greek educator and Russian
archbishop, born in Corfu
Antonio Vivaldi composer. In 1716, on commission by the republic of
Venice, created the oratorio
Juditha triumphans to commemorate victory
over the Turks during the great siege of 1716.
Rena Vlahopoulou, actress and singer, born in Corfu
Eugenios Voulgaris, scholar, born in Corfu
Giovanni Giuffré, Wind-band leader, composer, born in Corfu
Gaetano Giuffré, composer, Maestro, born in Corfu
Sotirios Voulgaris (1857–1932), cosmetologist, founder of the
Bulgari jewellery store than later became the famous
Petros Vrailas Armenis (el), former owner of Achilleion, born in
Spyridon Xyndas (1812–1896) composer and musician, born in Corfu
Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany, bought Achilleion after Sissi's death.
Markos Antonios Katsaitis, (1717–1787) was an 18th-century Greek
scholar, geographer and lawyer born in Corfu
Cape Drastis at the northwest tip of
Chalikiopoulou Lagoon (or Lake Chalikiopoulou), south of
Venetian arsenal, Gouvia
Panorama of the Old Town of Corfu
Odós Ipeirou in
Corfu old town
Historic building in Evgeniou Voulgareos street
View of St. George's Temple at the Old Fortress
Gardens of Achilleion
Statues at the Achilleion terrace
Villa Rossa, landmark of
Kaiser's Bridge in
Corfu ca. 1918
Workers on Corfu. The image shows the Old Fortress. First World War
Cuisine of the Ionian islands
Heptanese School (painting)
Music of the Heptanese
^ "Mayor of Corfu". corfu.gr.
^ a b "Απογραφή Πληθυσμού - Κατοικιών 2011.
ΜΟΝΙΜΟΣ Πληθυσμός" (in Greek). Hellenic Statistical
^ a b The Independent Complete Guide to Corfu
^ Trevor Webster (1994). Where to Go in Greece: A New Look. 1. Settle
Press. p. 221. ISBN 9781872876207.
Corfu is one of the most
northern isles in
Greece and also the most westerly, apart from three
of its own small satellite isles...
^ a b "Population & housing census 2001 (incl. area and average
elevation)" (PDF) (in Greek). National Statistical Service of Greece.
Archived from the original (PDF) on 21 September 2015.
^ a b Kallikratis law
Greece Ministry of Interior (in Greek)
^ Thucydides, History of the
Peloponnesian War 1.36.3
^ a b c d "
Corfu City Hall website". City of Corfu. Archived from the
original on 6 January 2008. In literature, apart from the Homeric name
Scheria, we meet various other names for the island, like Drepanë or
Arpi, Makris, Cassopaea, Argos, Keravnia, Phaeacia, Corkyra or Kerkyra
(in Doric), Gorgo or Gorgyra and much later the medieval names Corypho
or Corfoi, because of the two characteristic rock-peaks of the Old
Fortress of Corfu.
^ a b
Johann Georg Keyssler
Johann Georg Keyssler (1760). Travels Through Germany, Bohemia,
Hungary, Switzerland, Italy, and Lorrain: Giving a True and Just
Description of the Present State of Those Countries ... G. Keith.
p. 54. Retrieved 6 July 2013.
Corfu is not only a bulwark to the
Venetians against the attack of a foreign enemy,... [...] ....and,
since count Schulenburg caused several fortifications to be added to
it, it may justly be looked upon as one of the strongest places in
UNESCO World Heritage List".
BBC News. 28 June 2007. Retrieved
29 June 2009.
UNESCO Advisory Body (ICOMOS) report on
Corfu History retrieved 3
^ "Old Town of
UNESCO website retrieved 3 July 2007".
Whc.unesco.org. Retrieved 29 June 2009.
^ Duncan Garwood, Mediterranean Europe, 2009
^ Russell King, John Connell, Small worlds, global lives: islands and
^ ANDREW MARSHALL IN CORFU (24 June 1994). "European Union Summit:
Corfu summiteers ready to fudge key EU decision". The
^ a b c "Greek Mythology Encyclopedia". Theoi.com. Retrieved 29 June
^ a b "
Corfu honored with a new museum". Koine.terapad.com. Retrieved
29 June 2009.
^ a b "Travel to Corfu". Travel to Corfu. Retrieved 29 June
^ Panitsa, M. & E. Iliadou 2013: FLORA AND PHYTOGEOGRAPHY OF THE
IONIAN ISLANDS (Greece). 2nd Botanical Conference in Menorca.
^ Gasteratos, I. unpublished data.
^ Ruiz-Olmo, J. 2006: The Otter (Lutra lutra L.) on
(Greece): Situation in 2006. IUCN Otter Spec. Group Bull. 23: 17-25.
^ Masseti, M. 2010: Homeless mammals from the Ionian and Aegean
islands. Bonn zoological Bulletin 57(2): 367-373.
^ Stille, B. & M. Stille 2017: The Herpetofauna of
Corfu Climatic Averages". Hellenic National Meteorological
Service. Retrieved 1 March 2015.
^ "Kekira Climate Normals 1961–1990". National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved 1 March 2015.
^ Palaeolexicon, Word study tool of ancient languages
^ Strab. vi. p. 407
^ W.H. Race, Apollonius Rhodius: Argonautica, Loeb Classical Library
(2008), p. 409 n. 125–27; verses 4.982–992
^ Cees H. Goekoop (15 September 2010). Where on Earth Is Ithaca?: A
Quest for the Homeland of Odysseus. Eburon Uitgeverij B.V. p. 85.
ISBN 978-90-5972-344-3. Retrieved 11 November 2012.
^ Thucydides. "The Revolution in Corcyra." c. 400 BCE. Reprinted in
Rogers, Perry. Aspects of Western Civilization. pp. 76–78. Pearson:
Upper Saddle River. 2011.
^ The Oxford Classical Dictionary, Oxford University Press, Oxford:
^ Runciman, Steven (1958). The Sicilian Vespers. Cambridge: Cambridge
University Press. p. 43. ISBN 978-1-107-60474-2.
^ Bright Balkan morning: Romani lives & the power of music in
Greek Macedonia, Charles Keil et al., 2002, p.108
^ The Gypsies, Angus M. Fraser, 1995, pp. 50–51
^ a b The Scots Magazine and Edinburgh Literary Miscellany. 71.
Archibald Constable. 1809. p. 916. Retrieved 6 July 2013. Under
the Venetians, in the middle ages, and down even to the seventeenth
Corfu was esteemed the advanced bastion and bulwark of the
Christian states, against the Ottoman power, when the Solymans and the
Sclims menaced ...
^ John Julius Norwich (4 December 2007). The Middle Sea: A History of
the Mediterranean. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group. p. 385.
ISBN 978-0-307-38772-1. Retrieved 6 July 2013. For
Venice only a
single bulwark remained: Corfu. The army that, early in 1716, the
Grand Vizir flung against the citadel of
Corfu consisted of 30,000
infantry and some 3,000 horse.
^ Elizabeth Mary Leveson-Gower Grosvenor Westminster (2d marchioness
of) (1842). Narrative of a Yacht Voyage in the Mediterranean: During
1840–41. J. Murray. p. 250. Retrieved 6 July 2013.
became a strong bulwark against the Turks, whose frequent attacks were
successfully repulsed. In 1716 it was besieged for forty-two days by a
formidable Ottoman army and fleet, and several daring attempts were
made to storm ...
^ Sir Richard Phillips (1822). New Voyages and Travels: Consisting of
Originals, Translations, and Abridgments; with Index and Historical
Preface. C. Wiley. p. 63. Retrieved 6 July 2013. The town of
Corfu, the bulwark of
Italy and of the east, is Covered in all
directions, towards the sea and land,
^ John Knox (1767). A New Collection of Voyages, Discoveries and
Travels: Containing Whatever is Worthy of Notice, in Europe, Asia,
Africa and America. J. Knox. p. 203. Retrieved 6 July 2013. Some
pieces by Castiglione, deserved particular notice, together with the
last siege, and the new fortifications of Corfu, which is not only
painted on a picture, but curiously modelled in wood.
Corfu is not
only a bulwark to the Venetians, against ...
^ Kenneth Meyer Setton (1991). Venice, Austria, and the Turks in the
Seventeenth Century. American Philosophical Society. p. 253.
ISBN 978-0-87169-192-7. Retrieved 6 July 2013. Thus the important
Corfu was protected (according to a dispatch of Antonio
Priuli, proveditor generale da ... Morea would prove to be, for they
were bulwarks against the Turks' intrusion into the Adriatic.17 Corfu
was apparently ...
Henry Jervis-White-Jervis (1852). History of the island of Corfú
and of the republic of the Ionian Islands. Colburn and co.
p. 126. Retrieved 6 July 2013. ...sister of Sixtus-Quintus, to
the Book of Gold, the Holy Father having expressed his gratitude, the
Venetians represented to him that the protection of
Corfu and Candia,
which were the two bulwarks of Christianity, cost them more than
Gulf of Venice
Gulf of Venice runs for 800 mi (1,287 kilometres) between
Italy and Esclavonia, and at the end of it is the island of Corfu,
which the Venetians call their door, although
Venice is in fact
800 mi (1,287 kilometres) away." (
Pedro Tafur in 1436, Andanças
^ Will Durant. The Renaissance. page 684. MJF Books. New York, 1981
^ a b c d e f g h i j "History of Corfu". Corfuweb.gr. Archived from
the original on 11 April 2009. Retrieved 29 June 2009.
^ Nondas Stamatopoulos (1993). Old Corfu: history and culture. N.
Stamatopoulos. pp. 164–165. Retrieved 6 April 2013. Again,
during the first great siege of
Corfu by the Turks in 1537,
Angelocastro ... and After a siege lasting a year the invaders were
finally driven away by the defenders of the fortress who were helped
by the inhabitants of the neighbouring villages. In 1571, when they
once more invaded Corfu, the Turks again unsuccessfully attacked,
Angelocastro, where 4,000 people had taken refuge. During the second
great siege of the city by the Turks in 1716, Angelokastro once again
^ History of
Corfu from xenos website
^ The Cambridge Illustrated Atlas of Warfare: Renaissance to
Revolution, 1492–1792. Cambridge University Press. 1996. p. 25.
ISBN 978-0-521-47033-9. Retrieved 6 July 2013. The Ottomans were
a major and expanding presence in Europe, Asia, and Africa. ... The
knights, their fortifications strengthened by bastions, resisted
assaults and bombardment before accepting ... Ottoman naval pressure
on Europe increased in the Mediterranean, with sieges of
Corfu in 1537
(map 2) and Reggio in 1543.
^ ca:Història de Corfú
^ Serbs in
^ a b c d e f History of
Corfu City Hall website Archived 6
January 2008 at the Wayback Machine.
^ a b United States Holocaust Memorial Museum on the Holocaust in
Corfu. Also contains information about the Nazi collaborator mayor
^ From the interview of a survivor in the film "Shoah"
^ a b "Central Jewish Council of
Greece website". Kis.gr. Archived
from the original on 17 October 2007. Retrieved 29 June 2009.
^ United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Archived 8 December 2012 at
the Wayback Machine.: "[...]two hundred of the 2,000
sanctuary with Christian families[...]"
BBC WW2 People's War Quote: "By the time I got back to camp the
troop had returned from
Corfu full of stories about the wonderful
reception they’d had from the locals as the liberators of the
island." Bill Sanderson's Wartime Experiences -Part 4 – 40 Commando
by Bill Sanderson (junior) Bill Sanderson's Wartime Experiences -Part
4 – 40 Commando by Bill Sanderson (junior) Retrieved 31 July 2008
^ a b JSTOR The
Corfu Channel Case Quincy Wright The American Journal
of International Law, Vol. 43, No. 3 (July, 1949), pp.
491–494(article consists of 4 pages) Published by: American Society
of International Law Retrieved 31–07–08
Corfu Channel Incident
Corfu Channel Incident Records of the Admiralty, Naval Forces, Royal
Marines, Coastguard, and related bodies U.K. Retrieved 31 July 2008.
^ JSTOR The
Corfu Channel Case: Judgment on the Preliminary Objection
Harding F. Bancroft and Eric Stein Stanford Law Review, Vol. 1, No. 4
(June, 1949), pp. 646–657 (article consists of 12 pages) Published
by: Stanford Law Review Retrieved 31 July 2008
^ Europe since 1945 The
Corfu Channel Incident
Corfu Channel Incident By Bernard A Cook, Inc
NetLibrary by Google Books Retrieved 31 July 2008
^ a b Municipality of
Corfu from the Internet archive Quote: "In the
elections of 1954 Stamatios Desillas was elected Mayor for a second
term and remained in office until his death, Christmas Day 1955. Soon
after a bye-election took place in
Corfu in which the widow of the
deceased Maria Desilla – Kapodistria, was elected Mayor with 5,365
votes in a total of 10,207. Maria Desilla became Mayor of
Corfu on 15
April 1956 until 9 May 1959. She was the first female Mayor in
Corfu General Hospital
Corfu Radio Station History". Tvradio.ert.gr. Archived from the
original on 2 April 2009. Retrieved 29 June 2009.
^ Alfa History Archived 23 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine.
Quote:1995 The first in
Corfu ISP by Alfa and Forthnet.
^ St. George Article[permanent dead link]
Corfu Life UK Archived 4 October 2008 at the Wayback Machine. Quote:
"The French were the ones who turned the Spianada into a public square
and park – one of the biggest in Europe"
^ Brohure of Kerkyra Archived 3 October 2008 at the Wayback Machine.
Quote: "SOCCER The tournament will start on Wednesday 04 of July An
Open Ceremony and a parade of all the teams will take place in the
biggest square in the Balkansand one of the most impressive ones in
the whole continent, to the square Spianada itself which is
constructed similarlyto the Royal Gardens of Europe."
^ Nondas Stamatopoulos (1993). Old Corfu: history and culture. N.
Stamatopoulos. p. 172. The Palace of St. Michael and St. George
(Plate III), which is generally considered the finest of the British
buildings in ... seat of the
Order of St. Michael and St. George
Order of St. Michael and St. George which
had been instituted in 1818 to honour distinguished British and local
^ A. F. Madden (1985). Select Documents on the Constitutional History
of the British Empire and Commonwealth: "The Empire of the
Bretaignes," 1175–1688. Greenwood Publishing Group. pp. 690–.
^ R. Winkes (editor), Kerkyra. Artifacts from the Palaiopolis,
^ a b John C. G. Röhl (1998). Young Wilhelm: The Kaiser's Early Life,
1859–1888. Cambridge University Press. p. 297.
ISBN 978-0-521-49752-7. Retrieved 4 May 2013. After the purchase
of the 'Achilleion', Kekule was invited by the
Kaiser to go to Corfu
to provide advice on the positioning of the ... 94 Without a doubt,
Wilhelm's lifelong obsession with the statue of the
Corfu stems from the ...
^ Sherry Marker; John S. Bowman; Peter Kerasiotis (1 March 2010).
Frommer's Greek Islands. John Wiley & Sons. p. 476.
ISBN 978-0-470-52664-4. Retrieved 4 May 2013.
Achilles that the
Kaiser had inscribed, to the Greatest Greek from the Greatest German,
a sentiment removed after World War II.
^ Frank Giles; Spiro Flamburiari; Fritz Von der Schulenburg (1
September 1994). Corfu: the garden isle. J. Murray in association with
the Hellenic Group of Companies Ltd. p. 109.
ISBN 978-1-55859-845-4. Retrieved 4 May 2013. Although
subsequently demolished in 1944 to allow the passage of a huge German
coastal gun beneath, the locality still bears the name "Kaiser's
Corfu map Archived 12 October 2007 at the Wayback Machine.: The
bridge was destroyed during a German attack in World War II. The
remains can still be seen today.
^ "Detailed census results 1991" (PDF). Archived from the original
(PDF) on 3 March 2016. (39 MB) (in Greek) (in French)
^ History of the University
^ Libraries and Museums from the City Hall website
^ Frommer's Review. "Archaeological Museum". The New York Times.
Archived from the original on 11 August 2011. Retrieved 26 September
^ Eleni Bistika
Kathimerini Article on
Ioannis Kapodistrias 22
February 2008 Quote: Η γενέτειρά του Κέρκυρα,
ψύχραιμη, απολαμβάνει το προνόμιο να
έχει το γοητευτικό Μουσείο
Καποδίστρια στη θέση Κουκουρίσα,
Translation: His birthplace, Corfu, cool, enjoys the privilege to have
the charming Museum Kapodistria in the location Koukourisa and
εξοχική κατοικία με τον μαγευτικό
κήπο της οικογενείας Καποδίστρια, που
η Μαρία Δεσύλλα – Καποδίστρια δώρισε
στις τρεις κερκυραϊκές εταιρείες
Translation: summer residence with the enchanting garden of the
Kapodistrias family, which Maria Dessyla Kapodistria donated to the
three Corfiote societies
^ Robert Holland (26 January 2012). Blue-Water Empire: The British in
the Mediterranean since 1800. Penguin Books Limited. p. 506.
^ John Freely (30 April 2008). The Ionian Islands: Corfu, Cephalonia
and Beyond. I.B.Tauris. p. 44. ISBN 978-0-85771-828-0.
^ Essential Corfu. AA Publishing. 1995. p. 11.
ISBN 978-0-7495-0921-7. A dreadful storm - coupled with the
rumour that St Spyridon was threatening the Turkish army with a
flaming torch - broke the Turks' ...
^ Michael Pratt, Lor (1978). Britain's Greek Empire: Reflections on
the History of the
Ionian Islands from the Fall of Byzantium. Rex
Collings. p. 47. ISBN 978-0-86036-025-4. refers to the 1716
siege, when Spyridon is meant to have frightened away the Turks;
^ Dana Facaros; Michael Pauls (2007). The Greek Islands. New Holland
Publishers. p. 450. ISBN 978-1-86011-325-3.
^ Baroque Music As far as his theatrical activities were concerned,
the end of 1716 was a high point for Vivaldi. In November, he managed
to have the
Ospedale della Pietà
Ospedale della Pietà perform his first great oratorio,
Juditha Triumphans devicta Holofernis barbaric [sic]. This work was
an allegorical description of the victory of the Venetians (the
Christians) over the Turks (the barbarians) in August 1716.
^ a b c d
Corfu city hall website on Easter festivities
^ As the Old Philharmonic concludes its marching in front of their
building with a hearty rendition of the Graikoí March, the New
Philharmonic appears and "salutes" their rivals with yet another
rendition of the same march
Corfu the Garden Isle, editor Frank Giles, John Murray 1994,
^ a b c d e f Birth of Greek opera Paper Kostas Kardamis "San Giacomo
and Greek ottocento"XI Convegno Annuale di Società Italiana di
Musicologia Lecce, 22–24 October 2004
^ History of the theatre from
^ a b History of the municipal theatre from
^ a b c
Corfu city hall website on Karnavalia
Hercules slept with a minor goddess named Melite and she bore him a
Hyllus (not to be confused with Hyllus, Hercules' son by
Deianeira)". Marvunapp.com. Retrieved 29 June 2009.
^ Mirror Newspaper Travel section
^ The Executioner from TCM
^ a b "007 Fact website". 007.info. 24 June 1981. Retrieved 29 June
^ "The Price of Lave" (in Greek). Tainiothiki.
^ BFI. "The Gaze of the Gorgon".
^ a b Merten, Karl (2004). Antike Mythen – Mythos Antike:
posthumanistische Antikerezeption in der englischsprachigen Lyrik der
Gegenwart. Wilhelm Fink Verlag. pp. 105–106.
ISBN 978-3-7705-3871-3. Retrieved 4 May 2013. der Räume und
Kunstwerke des Achilleions hat, von entsprechendem dokumentarischem
^ Pearson, Allison (4 October 1992). "Sunny side up but it's no yolk
at all". The Independent. Retrieved 9 May 2013.
^ Joe Kelleher (1996). Tony Harrison. Northcote House. p. 53.
ISBN 978-0-7463-0789-2. Retrieved 9 May 2013. The poem concludes
with the proposal that 'to keep new Europe open-eyed/ they let the
marble poet preside...'.
^ Foster, Nick (11 September 2009). "Overseas Buyers Fall for Corfu's
Historic Charm". The New York Times. Retrieved 30 April 2010.
^ Paris Tsartas, Tourism Development in Greek Insular and Coastal
^ Nick Foster, Financial Times, Ionian rhapsody June 17, 2011
^ Daily Telegraph, November 3, 2008
^ "At the time of his writing, Lambert-Gocs found 1800 hectares of
vines dominated mainly by white Kakotrygis and red Petrokoritho (both
cultivars having both red and white versions). Also cultivated on the
island are the white Petrokoritho, Moschato Aspro, Robola and
Kozanitis and the red Kakotrygis and Mavrodafni". Greekwinemakers.com.
Archived from the original on 20 March 2012. Retrieved 29 June
^ "Avgoustinos Kapodistrias". Sansimera.gr. Archived from the original
on 2 April 2009. Retrieved 29 June 2009.
^ Bracewell, Wendy (2009). Orientations: an anthology of East European
travel writing, c. 1550–2000. Central European University Press.
pp. 49–50. ISBN 978-963-9776-10-4. A Venetian Greek in the
Ottoman Balkans Marco Antonio Cazzaiti, 1 742 Marco Antonio Cazzaiti
(Markos Antonios Katsaites, 1717–1787) was a nobleman from Venetian
Corfu, a lawyer and geographer...Greek in origin and
This article incorporates text from a publication now in
the public domain: Gardner, Ernest Arthur; Caspari, Maximillian
Otto Bismark (1911). "Corfu". In Chisholm, Hugh. Encyclopædia
Britannica. 7 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.
"Corfu", A Hand-book for Travellers in the Ionian Islands, Greece,
Turkey, Asia Minor, and Constantinople, London: J. Murray, 1840,
"Corfu", Handbook for Travellers in
Greece (7th ed.), London: John
Greece (4th ed.), Leipzig: Karl Baedeker, 1909
"Corfu", The Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.), New York:
Encyclopædia Britannica, 1910, OCLC 14782424
Siebert, Diana: Aller Herren Außenposten. Korfu von 1797 bis 1944.
Köln, 2016 ISBN 978-3-00-052502-5
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Subdivisions of the municipality of Corfu
Municipal unit of Achilleio
Municipal unit of Agios Georgios
Municipal unit of
Municipal unit of Ereikoussa
Municipal unit of Esperies
Municipal unit of Faiakes
Municipal unit of Kassopaia
Municipal unit of Korissia
Municipal unit of Lefkimmi
Municipal unit of Mathraki
Municipal unit of Meliteieis
Municipal unit of Othonoi
Municipal unit of Palaiokastritsa
Municipal unit of Parelioi
Municipal unit of Thinali
Landmarks of Corfu
Palaces and castles
Palace of St. Michael and St. George
Early Christian church basilica Palaiopolis
Cathedral of St James and St Christopher
Holy Monastery of Saint Theodore
Saint Spyridon Church
Archaeological Museum of Corfu
Byzantine Museum of Antivouniotissa
Serbian Museum of Corfu
Municipal Theatre of Corfu
Municipal Theatre of Corfu (destroyed)
Nobile Teatro di San Giacomo di Corfù
Old Town of Corfu
Temple of Artemis
Venetian arsenal, Gouvia
Administrative division of the
Ionian Islands Region
2,307 km2 (891 sq mi)
207,855 (as of 2011)
7 (since 2011)
Regional unit of Corfu
Regional unit of Cephalonia
Regional unit of Ithaca
Regional unit of Lefkada
Regional unit of Zakynthos
Theodoros Galiatsatos (since 2014)
Greece and the Ionian
Diapontia (Largest islands: Othonoi, Ereikoussa, Mathraki)
Echinades (Largest islands: Petalas, Oxeia, Drakonera)
Oinousses (Largest islands: Schiza, Sapientza)
Former provinces of Greece
Grouped by region and prefecture
East and West Attica
East Macedonia and Thrace
Note: not all prefectures were subdivided into provinces.