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Corfu (, ) or Kerkyra ( el, Κέρκυρα, Kérkyra, ), ; ; la, Corcyra. is a
Greek island Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece, a country in Southern Europe: *Greeks, an ethnic group *Greek language, a branch of the Indo-European language family **Proto-Greek language, the assumed last common ancestor of ...
located in the
Ionian Sea The Ionian Sea ( el, Ιόνιο Πέλαγος, ''Iónio Pélagos'' ; it, Mar Ionio ; al, Deti Jon ("our sea")) is an elongated bay A bay is a recessed, coastal body of water that directly connects to a larger main body of water, such ...

Ionian Sea
, of the
Ionian Islands The Ionian Islands (Modern Greek Modern Greek (, , or , ''Kiní Neoellinikí Glóssa''), generally referred to by speakers simply as Greek (, ), refers collectively to the dialects of the Greek language spoken in the modern era, including th ...

Ionian Islands
, and, including its small satellite islands, forms the margin of the northwestern frontier of
Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, Elláda, ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe, Southeastern Europe. Its population is approximately 10.7 million as of 2021; Athens is its largest and capital city, followed ...

Greece
. The island is part of the
Corfu regional unit Corfu (, ) or Kerkyra ( el, Κέρκυρα, Kérkyra, ), ; ; la, Corcyra. is a Greek islands, Greek island in the Ionian Sea, of the Ionian Islands, and, including its small satellite islands, forms the margin of the northwestern frontier of Gr ...
, and is administered by three municipalities with the islands of
Othonoi Othonoi ( el, Οθωνοί, also rendered as Othoni, grc, Οθρονός, Othronos, it, Fanò) is a small Greek island in the Ionian Sea, located northwest of Corfu Corfu (, ) or Kerkyra ( el, Κέρκυρα, Kérkyra, ), ; ; la, Corcyra. ...
,
Ereikoussa Ereikoussa ( gr, Ερεικούσσα, it, Merlera) is an island and a former community of the Ionian Islands (region), Ionian Islands, Greece. It is one of the Diapontia Islands, an island complex to the northwest of Corfu. Since the 2011 local g ...
, and
Mathraki Mathraki ( el, Μαθράκι, grc, Μαθράκιον) is an island and a former community of the Ionian Islands The Ionian Islands (Modern Greek: , ; Ancient Greek, Katharevousa: , ) are a archipelago, group of islands in the Ionian Sea, west ...
.https://corfutvnews.gr/diaspasi-deite-tin-tropologia/ The principal city of the island (pop. 32,095) is also named
Corfu Corfu (, ) or Kerkyra ( el, Κέρκυρα, Kérkyra, ), ; ; la, Corcyra. is a Greek island Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece, a country in Southern Europe: *Greeks, an ethnic group *Greek language, a branch ...
. Corfu is home to the
Ionian University The Ionian University (Greek language, Greek: Iόνιο Πανεπιστήμιο) is a university located in the Ionian Islands (region), Greece. It is one of the newest institutions of Higher Education in Greece, created pursuant to presidential ...
. The island is bound up with the
history of Greece The history of Greece encompasses the history of the territory of the modern nation-state of Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, Elláda, ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeastern Europe Southeast Europe ...
from the beginnings of
Greek mythology Greek mythology is the body of myth Myth is a folklore genre Folklore is the expressive body of culture shared by a particular group of people; it encompasses the tradition A tradition is a belief A belief is an Attitude (psyc ...
, and is marked by numerous battles and conquests. Ancient Korkyra took part in the
Battle of Sybota The Battle of Sybota ( grc, Σύβοτα) took place in 433 BCE between Corcyra Corfu (, ) or Kerkyra ( el, Κέρκυρα, Kérkyra, ), ; ; la, Corcyra. is a Greek island in the Ionian Sea The Ionian Sea ( el, Ιόνιο Πέλαγος, ...
which was a catalyst for the
Peloponnesian War The Peloponnesian War (431–404 BC) was an ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language Greek ( el, label=Modern Greek Modern Greek (, , or , ''Kiní Neoellinikí Glóssa''), generally referred to ...

Peloponnesian War
, and, according to Thucydides, the largest naval battle between Greek city states until that time.
Thucydides Thucydides (; grc-gre, Θουκυδίδης ; BC) was an Athenian , image_skyline = File:Athens Montage L.png, center, 275px, alt=Athens montage. Clicking on an image in the picture causes the browser to load the app ...
also reports that Korkyra was one of the three great naval powers of fifth century BC Greece, along with
Athens , image_skyline = File:Athens Montage L.png, center, 275px, alt=Athens montage. Clicking on an image in the picture causes the browser to load the appropriate article. rect 15 15 985 460 Acropolis of Athens rect 15 475 48 ...
and
Corinth Corinth ( ; el, Κόρινθος, Kórinthos, ) is the successor to an ancient city, and is a former municipality A municipality is usually a single administrative division Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). ...

Corinth
. Ruins of ancient Greek temples and other archaeological sites of the ancient city of Korkyra are found in Palaiopolis. 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 city in 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 successfully repulsed the Ottomans during several sieges, was recognised as a bulwark of the European States against the
Ottoman Empire The Ottoman Empire (; ', ; or '; )info page on bookat Martin Luther University) // CITED: p. 36 (PDF p. 38/338). was an empire that controlled much of Southeastern Europe, Western Asia, and North Africa, Northern Africa between the 14th ...
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 The Adriatic Sea () is a body of water separating the Italian Peninsula from the Balkans. The Adriatic is the northernmost arm of the Mediterranean Sea, extending from the Strait of Otranto (where it connects to the Ionian Sea) to the northwest a ...

Adriatic
. Corfu eventually fell under British rule following the
Napoleonic Wars The Napoleonic Wars (1803–1815) were a series of major World war, global conflicts pitting the First French Empire, French Empire and its allies, led by Napoleon, Napoleon I, against a fluctuating array of Coalition forces of the Napoleonic W ...
, and was eventually ceded to Greece by the
British government ga, Rialtas na Ríochta Aontaithe sco, Govrenment o the Unitit Kinrick , image = HM Government logo.svg , image_size=220px, date_established = , state = United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, comm ...
along with the remaining islands of the
United States of the Ionian Islands The United States of the Ionian Islands ( el, Ἡνωμένον Κράτος τῶν Ἰονίων Νήσων, Inoménon Krátos ton Ioníon Níson, ; it, Stati Uniti delle Isole Ionie) was a Greeks, Greek state (polity), state and amical protect ...
. Unification with
modern Greece The history of modern Greece covers the history of Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approximately 10.7 million as of 2018; Athens is its larg ...
was concluded in 1864 under the Treaty of London. Corfu is the origin of the
Ionian Academy The Ionian Academy ( el, Ιόνιος Ακαδημία) was the first Greek academic institution established in modern times. It was located in Corfu. It was established by the French during their administration of the island as the '' départeme ...

Ionian Academy
, the first university of the modern Greek state, and the ''
Nobile Teatro di San Giacomo di Corfù Nobile Teatro di San Giacomo di Corfù, Italian Italian may refer to: * Anything of, from, or related to the country and nation of Italy ** Italians, an ethnic group or simply a citizen of the Italian Republic ** Italian language, a Romance langua ...
'', the first Greek theatre and
opera house An opera house is a theatre building used for performances of opera Opera is a form of theatre Theatre or theater is a collaborative form of performing art that uses live performers, usually actor, actors or actresses, to present ...

opera house
of modern Greece. The first governor of independent Greece after the revolution of 1821, founder of the modern Greek state, and distinguished European diplomat
Ioannis Kapodistrias Count Ioannis Antonios Kapodistrias (10 or 11 February 1776 – 9 October 1831), sometimes anglicized as John Capodistrias ( el, Κόμης Ιωάννης Αντώνιος Καποδίστριας, Komis Ioannis Antonios Kapodistrias; russian: ...
was born in Corfu. In 2007, the city's old town was added to the
UNESCO The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) (french: Organisation des Nations unies pour l'éducation, la science et la culture) is a specialised agency United Nations Specialized Agencies are autonomous orga ...

UNESCO
World Heritage List A World Heritage Site is a landmark or area with legal protection by an international convention administered by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). World Heritage Sites are designated by UNESCO for ha ...
, following a recommendation by
ICOMOS The International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS; french: links=no, Conseil international des monuments et des sites) is a professional association that works for the conservation and protection of cultural heritage places around the world. ...
.ICOMOS">UNESCO Advisory Body (International Council on Monuments and Sites, ICOMOS
) report on Corfu History retrieved 3 July 2007/ref> The 1994 European Union summit was held in Corfu. The island is a popular tourist destination.


Name

The Greek name, ''Kerkyra'' or '' Korkyra'', is related to two powerful water deities:
Poseidon Poseidon (; grc-gre, Ποσειδῶν, ) was one of the Twelve Olympians upright=1.8, Fragment of a relief Relief is a sculptural technique where the sculpted elements remain attached to a solid background of the same material. The ...

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 Metope from the Parthenon marbles depicting part of the battle between the Centaurs and the Lapiths; 442–438 BC; marble; height: 1.06 m; British Museum (London) In classical architecture, a metope (μετόπη) is a rectangular architectura ...
, 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'' (
DoricDoric may refer to: * Doric, of or relating to the Dorians of ancient Greece ** Doric Greek, the dialects of the Dorians * Doric order, a style of ancient Greek architecture * Doric mode, a synonym of Dorian mode * Doric dialect (Scotland) * Doric C ...
). They had a child they called ''Phaiax'', after whom the inhabitants of the island were named '' Phaiakes'', in
Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman Republic, it became ...

Latin
''Phaeaciani''. Corfu's nickname is ''the island of the
PhaeaciansScheria or Scherie (; grc, Σχερία or ), also known as Phaeacia (), was a region in Greek mythology Greek mythology is the body of myths originally told by the Ancient Greece, ancient Greeks, and a genre of Ancient Greek folklore. These st ...
''. The name Corfù, an Italian version of the
Byzantine The Byzantine Empire, also referred to as the Eastern Roman Empire, or Byzantium, was the continuation of the Roman Empire in its eastern provinces during Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, when its capital city was Constantinople. It survi ...

Byzantine
Κορυφώ (Koryphō), meaning "city of the peaks", derives from the
Byzantine Greek Medieval Greek (also known as Middle Greek or Byzantine Greek) is the stage of the Greek language Greek ( el, label=Modern Greek Modern Greek (, , or , ''Kiní Neoellinikí Glóssa''), generally referred to by speakers simply as Greek ...
Κορυφαί (Koryphai) (crests or peaks), denoting the two peaks of ''Palaio Frourio''.


Geography

The northeastern edge of Corfu lies off the
coast The coast, also known as the coastline or seashore, is defined as the area where land meets the ocean The ocean (also the or the world ocean) is the body of that covers approximately 70.8% of the surface of and contains 97% of . Anot ...

coast
of
Sarandë Sarandë (; sq-definite, Saranda; el, Άγιοι Σαράντα, Agioi Saranda; it, Santiquaranta) is a List of cities and towns in Albania, city in the Republic of Albania and seat of Sarandë Municipality. Geographically, the city is located ...

Sarandë
,
Albania Albania ( ; sq, Shqipëri or Shqipëria), officially the Republic of Albania ( sq, Republika e Shqipërisë), is a country in Southeastern Europe Southeast Europe or Southeastern Europe () is a geographical subregion A subregion is a par ...

Albania
, separated by straits varying in width from . The southeast side of the island lies off the coast of
Thesprotia Thesprotia (; el, Θεσπρωτία, ) is one of the regional units of Greece. It is part of the Epirus (region), Epirus region. Its capital and largest town is Igoumenitsa. Thesprotia is named after the Thesprotians, an ancient Greek tribe that ...
, Greece. Its shape resembles a
sickle A sickle, bagging hook, reaping-hook or grasshook is a single-handed agricultural Agriculture is the practice of cultivating plants and livestock. Agriculture was the key development in the rise of sedentary Image:Family watching televi ...

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 , it runs approximately long, with greatest breadth at around . 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. 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. Beaches are found in Agios Gordis, the Korission Lagoon, Agios Georgios, Marathia, Kassiopi, Sidari, Palaiokastritsa and many others. Corfu is located near the
Kefalonia Kefalonia or Cephalonia ( el, Κεφαλονιά), formerly also known as Kefallinia or Kephallenia (), is the largest of the Ionian Islands The Ionian Islands (Modern Greek: , ; Ancient Greek, Katharevousa: , ) are a archipelago, group of islan ...

Kefalonia
geological fault formation; earthquakes have occurred. Corfu's coastline spans including capes; its highest point is Mount Pantokrator (); and the second Stravoskiadi, at . The full extent of capes and promontories take in Agia Aikaterini, Drastis to the north, Lefkimmi and Asprokavos to the southeast, and Megachoro to the south. Two islands are also to be found at a middle point of Gouvia and Corfu Bay, which extends across much of the eastern shore of the island; are known as Lazareto and Ptychia (or Vido).


Diapontia Islands

The
Diapontia Islands The Diapontia Islands or Diapontian Islands ( el, Διαπόντια Νησιά, Diapontia Νisia), also known as Othonoi Islands ( el, Νήσοι Οθωνοί, Νisoi Othonoi) are a Greek island group in the Ionian Sea. They are located the nort ...
(Greek: Διαπόντια νησιά) are located in the northwest of Corfu, (6 km away) and about 40 km from the Italian coast. The main islands are
Othonoi Othonoi ( el, Οθωνοί, also rendered as Othoni, grc, Οθρονός, Othronos, it, Fanò) is a small Greek island in the Ionian Sea, located northwest of Corfu Corfu (, ) or Kerkyra ( el, Κέρκυρα, Kérkyra, ), ; ; la, Corcyra. ...
,
Ereikoussa Ereikoussa ( gr, Ερεικούσσα, it, Merlera) is an island and a former community of the Ionian Islands (region), Ionian Islands, Greece. It is one of the Diapontia Islands, an island complex to the northwest of Corfu. Since the 2011 local g ...
and
Mathraki Mathraki ( el, Μαθράκι, grc, Μαθράκιον) is an island and a former community of the Ionian Islands The Ionian Islands (Modern Greek: , ; Ancient Greek, Katharevousa: , ) are a archipelago, group of islands in the Ionian Sea, west ...
.


Lazaretto Island

, formerly known as St. Dimitrios, is located 1.1 km of the coast northeast of
Corfu Corfu (, ) or Kerkyra ( el, Κέρκυρα, Kérkyra, ), ; ; la, Corcyra. is a Greek island Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece, a country in Southern Europe: *Greeks, an ethnic group *Greek language, a branch ...
; the island has an area of 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 -Turkish fleet, who ran it as a military hospital. During the period of
British rule The British Raj (; from ''rāj'', literally, "rule" in Sanskrit Sanskrit (, attributively , ''saṃskṛta-'', nominalization, nominally , ''saṃskṛtam'') is a classical language of South Asia belonging to the Indo-Aryan languages, ...
, in 1814, the leprosarium was once again opened after renovations, and following
Enosis ''Enosis'' ( el, Ένωσις, , "union") is the movement of various Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country ...
in 1864 the leprosarium again saw occasional use. During
World War II World War II or the Second World War, often abbreviated as WWII or WW2, was a global war A world war is "a war War is an intense armed conflict between states State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literatur ...
, the
Axis Occupation of Greece The occupation of Greece by the Axis Powers ( el, Η Κατοχή, ''I Katochi'', 'the occupation') began in April 1941 after Nazi Germany Battle of Greece, invaded Greece to assist its ally, Fascist Italy (1922–1943), Fascist Italy, which had ...
established a
Nazi concentration camp From 1933 to 1945, Nazi Germany operated more than a thousand concentration camps, (officially) or (more commonly). The Nazi concentration camps are distinguished from other types of Nazi camps such as forced-labor camps, as well as concent ...
there for the prisoners of the Greek Resistance movement, while remaining today are the two-storeyed building that served as the Headquarters of the Italian army, a small church, and the wall against which those condemned to death were shot.


Flora

Homer Homer (; grc, Ὅμηρος , ''Hómēros'') was an ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language Greek ( el, label=Modern Greek Modern Greek (, , or , ''Kiní Neoellinikí Glóssa''), generally re ...

Homer
identifies six plants that adorn the garden of
Alcinous In Greek mythology Greek mythology is the body of s originally told by the , and a of . These stories concern the and , the lives and activities of , , and , and the origins and significance of the ancient Greeks' own and practices. Mo ...
: wild olive, pear,
pomegranate The pomegranate (''Punica granatum'') is a fruit In botany Botany, also called , plant biology or phytology, is the science of plant life and a branch of biology. A botanist, plant scientist or phytologist is a scientist who speci ...

pomegranate
, apple,
fig The fig is the edible fruit of ''Ficus carica'', a species of small tree in the flowering plant family Moraceae. Native plant, Native to the Mediterranean and western Asia, it has been cultivated since ancient times and is now widely grown throug ...

fig
and
grape vine ''Vitis'' (grapevines) is a genus of 79 accepted species of vining plants in the flowering plant family Vitaceae. The genus is made up of species predominantly from the Northern hemisphere. It is economically important as the source of grapes, ...

grape vine
. Of these the apple and the pear are very inferior in Corfu; the others thrive, together with all the fruit trees known in southern Europe, with addition of the
kumquat Kumquats (or cumquats in Australian English Australian English (AusE,AusEng, AuE, AuEng, en-AU) is the set of variety (linguistics), varieties of the English language native to Australia. Australian English is the country's national and '' ...

kumquat
,
loquat The loquat (''Eriobotrya japonica'') is a large evergreen In botany Botany, also called , plant biology or phytology, is the science of plant life and a branch of biology. A botanist, plant scientist or phytologist is a scientist who sp ...

loquat
and 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 to a lesser extent, pine forests. In total more than 1800 plant species have been recorded.


Fauna

Corfu is a continental island; its fauna is similar to that of the opposite mainland.


Birds

Avifauna is extensive, with around 300 bird species recorded since the 19th century. Species vary in size from the
greater flamingo The greater flamingo (''Phoenicopterus roseus'') is the most widespread and largest species of the flamingo family. It is found in Africa, the Indian subcontinent, the Middle East, and in southern Europe. Taxonomy The greater flamingo was desc ...

greater flamingo
to the
goldcrest The goldcrest (''Regulus regulus'') is a very small passerine bird in the kinglet family. Its colourful golden Crest (feathers), crest feathers, as well as being called the "king of the birds" in European folklore, gives rise to its English ...

goldcrest
. Some species have become extinct, such as the
rock partridge Image:Alectoris graeca.jpg, Rock partridge The rock partridge (''Alectoris graeca'') is a gamebird in the pheasant family, Phasianidae, of the order Galliformes (gallinaceous birds). It is native to southern Europe, and is closely related and very ...
and the
grey partridge The grey partridge (''Perdix perdix''), also known as the English partridge, Hungarian partridge, or hun, is a gamebird in the pheasant family Phasianidae of the order Galliformes, gallinaceous birds. The scientific name is the Latin for "partri ...
, or no longer breed on the island, like the
eastern imperial eagle The eastern imperial eagle (''Aquila heliaca'') is a large bird of prey that breeds in southeastern Europe and extensively through West and Central Asia. Most populations are migratory and winter in northeastern Africa, the Middle East and South A ...

eastern imperial eagle
, the
white-tailed eagle The white-tailed eagle (''Haliaeetus albicilla'') is a very large species of sea eagle widely distributed across temperate Eurasia Eurasia () is the largest continental area on Earth, comprising all of Europe and Asia. Primarily in the Nor ...

white-tailed eagle
, the
Bonelli's eagle#REDIRECT Bonelli's eagle {{Redirect category shell, 1= {{R from move {{R from other capitalisation ...

Bonelli's eagle
, the
griffon vulture The griffon vulture (''Gyps fulvus'') is a large Old World vulture Old World vultures are vultures that are found in the Old World, i.e. the continents of Europe, Asia and Africa, and which belong to the family Accipitridae, which also incl ...

griffon vulture
and the
Egyptian vulture The Egyptian vulture (''Neophron percnopterus''), also called the white scavenger vulture or pharaoh's chicken, is a small Old World vulture and the only member of the genus Genus (plural genera) is a taxonomic rank Taxonomy (general) is ...

Egyptian vulture
.


Mammals

Around 40 species of mammals live on the island and in the sea around it.
Fin whale The fin whale (''Balaenoptera physalus''), also known as finback whale or common rorqual and formerly known as herring whale or razorback whale, is a cetacea Cetaceans (from la, cetus Cetus () is a constellation, sometimes called 'the ...

Fin whale
s,
sperm whale #REDIRECT Sperm whale #REDIRECT Sperm whale#REDIRECT Sperm whale The sperm whale or cachalot (''Physeter macrocephalus'') is the largest of the toothed whales and the largest toothed predator Predation is a biological interaction where ...

sperm whale
s,
Cuvier's beaked whale The Cuvier's beaked whale or goose-beaked whale (''Ziphius cavirostris'') is the most widely distributed of all beaked whales in the family Beaked whale, Ziphiidae. It is smaller than most baleen whales yet large among beaked whales. Cuvier's bea ...
s,
common bottlenose dolphin The common bottlenose dolphin or Atlantic bottlenose dolphin (''Tursiops truncatus'') is the most well-known species of the family Delphinidae. The common bottlenose dolphin is the most familiar dolphin species due to the wide exposure it receiv ...
s,
short-beaked common dolphin The short-beaked common dolphin (''Delphinus delphis'') is a species of common dolphin. It has a larger range than the long-beaked common dolphin (''D. capensis''), occurring throughout warm-temperate and tropical oceans, including the Indian Ocea ...
s,
striped dolphin The striped dolphin (''Stenella coeruleoalba'') is an extensively studied dolphin found in temperate In geography, the temperate climates of Earth Earth is the third planet from the Sun and the only astronomical object known to ...
s and
Risso's dolphin Risso's dolphin (''Grampus griseus'') is the only species In biology, a species is the basic unit of biological classification, classification and a taxonomic rank of an organism, as well as a unit of biodiversity. A species is often defined ...

Risso's dolphin
s are the regularly present cetaceans.
Monk seals Monk seals are earless seals of the tribe Monachini. They are the only earless seals found in tropical climates. The two genera of monk seals, ''Monachus'' and ''Neomonachus'', comprise three species: the Mediterranean monk seal, ''Monachus mona ...
appear from time to time without breeding here any more.
Eurasian otter The Eurasian otter (''Lutra lutra''), also known as the European otter, Eurasian river otter, common otter, and Old World otter, is a semiaquatic mammal native to Eurasia Eurasia () is the largest continent A continent is any of ...

Eurasian otter
s still survive in the lagoons and streams of Corfu. The
golden jackal The golden jackal (''Canis aureus'') is a wolf-like canid that is native to Southeast Europe Southeast Europe or Southeastern Europe () is a geographical subregion A subregion is a part of a larger region In geography, regions are areas ...
was very common till the 1960s but after persecution it became extinct, with the last individuals observed in the first half of the 1990s.
Wild boar The wild boar (''Sus scrofa''), also known as the wild swine, common wild pig, Eurasian wild pig, or simply wild pig, is a suid native to much of Eurasia Eurasia () is the largest continental area on Earth, comprising all of Europe and ...

Wild boar
were exterminated after 2000 after farmers complained about crop damage.
Red fox The red fox (''Vulpes vulpes'') is the largest of the true foxes and one of the most widely distributed members of the order Order or ORDER or Orders may refer to: * Orderliness Orderliness is associated with other qualities such as cleanli ...

Red fox
es,
beech marten The beech marten (''Martes foina''), also known as the stone marten, house marten or white breasted marten, is a species of marten The martens constitute the genus Genus (plural genera) is a taxonomic rank Taxonomy (general) is the pract ...
s,
least weasel The least weasel (''Mustela nivalis''), little weasel, common weasel, or simply weasel is the smallest member of the genus ''Mustela,'' Family (biology), family Mustelidae and Order (biology), order Carnivora. It is native to Eurasia, North Amer ...
s,
European hare The European hare (''Lepus europaeus''), also known as the brown hare, is a species of hare native to Europe and parts of Asia. It is among the largest hare species and is adapted to temperate, open country. Hares are herbivorous and feed mainly ...

European hare
s, northern white-breasted hedgehogs are quite easy to see as some of the smaller mammals as well as the bats.
Coypu The nutria (''Myocastor coypus''), also known as the coypu, is a large, herbivore, herbivorous, list of semiaquatic tetrapods, semiaquatic rodent. Classified for a long time as the only member of the family Myocastoridae, ''Myocastor'' is now in ...
s,
fallow deer ''Dama'' is a genus Genus /ˈdʒiː.nəs/ (plural genera /ˈdʒen.ər.ə/) is a taxonomic rank In biological classification In biology, taxonomy () is the scientific study of naming, defining (Circumscription (taxonomy), circumscrib ...

fallow deer
, s,
Siberian chipmunk The Siberian chipmunk (''Eutamias sibiricus''), also called common chipmunk is native to northern Asia Asia () is 's largest and most populous , located primarily in the and . It shares the continental of with the continent of and ...

Siberian chipmunk
s have been observed recently but they are escapees and only the coypu has viable population.


Amphibians and reptiles

Eight 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 common toad, European toad, or in Anglophone parts of Europe, simply the toad (''Bufo bufo'', from Latin ''bufo'' "toad"), is an amphibian found throughout most of Europe (with the exception of Ireland, Iceland, and some List of islands in th ...

common toad
, the
European green toad Image:Bufo-viridis-mating-call.ogg, Mating call of the European green toad The European green toad (''Bufotes viridis'') is a species of toad found in steppes, mountainous areas, semi-deserts, urban areas and other habitats in mainland Europe, ran ...
, the , the
agile frog The agile frog (''Rana dalmatina'') is a European frog in the genus ''Rana'' of the true frog The true frogs, family In human society, family (from la, familia) is a group of people related either by consanguinity (by recognized birth) ...
, the Epirus water frog and the Greek marsh frog are the representatives of the Amphibia Class.
Loggerhead sea turtle The loggerhead sea turtle (''Caretta caretta''), is a species In biology, a species is the basic unit of biological classification, classification and a taxonomic rank of an organism, as well as a unit of biodiversity. A species is often d ...

Loggerhead sea turtle
s nest on the sandy beaches. On land, the
Hermann's tortoise Hermann's tortoise (''Testudo hermanni'') is a species In biology, a species is the basic unit of biological classification, classification and a taxonomic rank of an organism, as well as a unit of biodiversity. A species is often defined a ...
is widespread while the marginated tortoise's status is unclear. In freshwater wetlands and Balkan terrapins are common but the last few years face the competition of the introduced
pond slider The pond slider (''Trachemys scripta'') is a species of common, medium-sized, semiaquatic turtle. Three subspecies are described, the most recognizable of which is the red-eared slider (''T. s. elegans''), which is popular in the pet trade and h ...
. Lizard species include typical lizards and geckos like the starred agama, the , the , the Dalmatian algyroides, the Podarcis muralis, common wall lizard, the Podarcis tauricus, Balkan wall lizard, the Balkan green lizard, the European green lizard and the Ablepharus kitaibelii, snake-eyed skink as also the legless Greek slow worm and the Sheltopusik, European glass lizard. Of the snakes of Corfu only the Vipera ammodytes, nose-horned viper is potentially dangerous. The harmless snake list includes the Typhlops vermicularis, European worm snake, the Eryx jaculus, javelin sand boa, the Platyceps najadum, Dahl's whip snake, the Balkan whip snake, the Caspian whipsnake, Caspian whip snake, the four-lined snake, the Aesculapian snake, the European ratsnake, leopard snake, the grass snake, the dice snake, the European cat snake, the eastern Malpolon monspessulanus, Montpellier snake.


Climate

Corfu has a hot-summer Mediterranean climate (''Csa'' in the Köppen climate classification).


History


Early history

The earliest reference to Corfu is the Mycenaean Greece, Mycenaean Greek word ''ko-ro-ku-ra-i-jo (''"man from Kerkyra") written in Linear B syllabic script, c. 1300 BC. According to Strabo, Korkyra (polis), Corcyra (Κόρκυρα) was the
Homer Homer (; grc, Ὅμηρος , ''Hómēros'') was an ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language Greek ( el, label=Modern Greek Modern Greek (, , or , ''Kiní Neoellinikí Glóssa''), generally re ...

Homer
ic island of Scheria (Σχερία),''Strab. vi. p. 407'' and its earliest inhabitants were the
PhaeaciansScheria or Scherie (; grc, Σχερία or ), also known as Phaeacia (), was a region in Greek mythology Greek mythology is the body of myths originally told by the Ancient Greece, ancient Greeks, and a genre of Ancient Greek folklore. These st ...
(Φαίακες). The island has indeed been identified by some scholars with Scheria, the island of the Phaeacians described in
Homer Homer (; grc, Ὅμηρος , ''Hómēros'') was an ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language Greek ( el, label=Modern Greek Modern Greek (, , or , ''Kiní Neoellinikí Glóssa''), generally re ...

Homer
's ''Odyssey'', though conclusive and irrefutable evidence for this theory have not been found. Apollonius of Rhodes depicts the island in ''Argonautica'' as a place visited by the Argonauts. Jason and 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 (mythology), Uranus, from whose blood the Phaeacians were 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 from Euboea. Others have asserted that Corfu was ''Taphos'', the island of the Leleges, Lelegian Taphians. According to Strabo (VI, 269), the Liburnians were masters of the island ''Korkyra'' (Corfu), until 735 BC, when they left it, under pressure of
Corinth Corinth ( ; el, Κόρινθος, Kórinthos, ) is the successor to an ancient city, and is a former municipality A municipality is usually a single administrative division Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). ...

Corinth
ian 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, Italy, Syracuse, Corfu was peopled by settlers from Ancient Corinth, 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. 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 Thucydides (; grc-gre, Θουκυδίδης ; BC) was an Athenian , image_skyline = File:Athens Montage L.png, center, 275px, alt=Athens montage. Clicking on an image in the picture causes the browser to load the app ...
. 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, Illyria, Apollonia and Anactorium. The island soon regained its independence and thenceforth devoted itself to a purely mercantile policy. During the Achaemenid Empire, 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 Ancient Corinth, Corinth over the control of Epidamnus, and sought assistance from Athens (see
Battle of Sybota The Battle of Sybota ( grc, Σύβοτα) took place in 433 BCE between Corcyra Corfu (, ) or Kerkyra ( el, Κέρκυρα, Kérkyra, ), ; ; la, Corcyra. is a Greek island in the Ionian Sea The Ionian Sea ( el, Ιόνιο Πέλαγος, ...
). This new alliance was one of the chief immediate causes of the
Peloponnesian War The Peloponnesian War (431–404 BC) was an ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language Greek ( el, label=Modern Greek Modern Greek (, , or , ''Kiní Neoellinikí Glóssa''), generally referred to ...

Peloponnesian War
, in which Corcyra was of considerable use to the Athens, 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). During the Sicily, 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 (wife of Pyrrhus), Lanassa on her marriage to Pyrrhus of Epirus, Pyrrhus, King of Epirus. The island then became a member of the Epirotic alliance. It was then perhaps that the settlement of Kassiopi, 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 II of Epirus, 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 Republic, 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 (Roman province), Macedonia. In 31 BC, it served Augustus Caesar, Octavian (Augustus) as a base against Mark Antony.


Roman and medieval history

Christianity arrived in Corfu early; two disciples of Saint Paul, Jason of Tarsus and Sosipatrus of Patras, taught the Gospel, and according to tradition the city of Corfu and much of the island converted to Christianity. Their relics were housed in the old cathedral (at the site of the current Old Fortress, before a dedicated church was built for them . During Late Antiquity (late Roman/early Byzantine period), the island formed part of the province of Epirus Vetus in the praetorian prefecture of Illyricum. In 551, during the Gothic War (535–554), Gothic War, the Ostrogoths raided the island and destroyed the city of Corfu, then known as ''Chersoupolis'' (Χερσούπολις, "city on the promontory") because of its location between Garitsa Bay and Kanoni. Over the next centuries, the main settlement was moved north, to the location of the current Old Fortress, where the rocky hills offered natural protection against raids. From the twin peaks of the new site, the medieval city received its new name, ''Korypho'' (Κορυφώ, "city on the peak") or ''Korphoi'' (Κορφοί, "peaks"), whence the modern Western name of "Corfu". The previous site of the city, now known as ''Palaiopolis'' (Παλαιόπολις, "old city"), continued to be inhabited for several centuries, however. From at least the early 9th century, Corfu and the other Ionian Islands formed part of the theme (Byzantine district), theme of Cephallenia (theme), Cephallenia. This naval theme provided a defensive bulwark for Byzantium against western threats, but also played a major role in securing the sealanes to the Byzantine Catepanate of Italy, possessions in southern Italy. Indeed, traveller reports from throughout the middle Byzantine period (8th–12th centuries) make clear that Corfu was "an important staging post for travels between East and West". Indeed, the medieval name of Corfu first appears (Latinized ''Coryphus'') in Liutprand of Cremona's account of his 968 embassy to the Byzantine court. Corfu enjoyed relative peace and safety during the Macedonian dynasty (867–1054), which allowed the construction of a monumental church to Saints Iason and Sosipatrus outside the city wall of Palaiopolis. Nevertheless, in 933, the city, led by its archbishop, Arsenios, withstood a Saracen attack; Arsenios was canonized and became the city's patron saint. The peace and prosperity of the Macedonian era ended with another Saracen attack in 1033, but more importantly with the emergence of a new threat: following the Norman conquest of Southern Italy, the ambitious Norman monarchs set their sights on expansion in the East. Three times on the space of a century Corfu was the first target and served as a staging area for the Byzantine–Norman wars, Norman invasions of Byzantium. The first Norman occupation from 1081 to 1084 was ended only after the Byzantine emperor Alexios I Komnenos secured the aid of the Republic of Venice, in exchange to wide-ranging commercial concessions to Venetian merchants. The admiral George of Antioch captured Corfu again in 1147, and it took a ten-month siege for Manuel I Komnenos to recover the island in 1149. In the third invasion in 1185, the island was again captured by William II of Sicily, but was soon regained by Isaac II Angelos. During the break-up of the Byzantine Empire the island was occupied by Genoa, Genoese privateers (1197–1207), who in turn were expelled by the Venetians. In 1214 it passed to the Greek despotate of Epirus, 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 Capetian House of Anjou, house of Anjou. Under the latter, the island suffered considerably from the inroads of various adventurers. 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. From 1386, Corfu was controlled by the Republic of Venice, which in 1401 acquired formal sovereignty and retained it until the French Occupation of 1797. Corfu became central for the propagation of the activities of the Filiki Etaireia among the Greek Diaspora and philhellenic societies across Europe, through nobles like
Ioannis Kapodistrias Count Ioannis Antonios Kapodistrias (10 or 11 February 1776 – 9 October 1831), sometimes anglicized as John Capodistrias ( el, Κόμης Ιωάννης Αντώνιος Καποδίστριας, Komis Ioannis Antonios Kapodistrias; russian: ...
and Dionysios Romas.


Venetian rule

From medieval times and into the 17th century, the island was recognised as a bulwark of the European States against the
Ottoman Empire The Ottoman Empire (; ', ; or '; )info page on bookat Martin Luther University) // CITED: p. 36 (PDF p. 38/338). was an empire that controlled much of Southeastern Europe, Western Asia, and North Africa, Northern Africa between the 14th ...
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 The Adriatic Sea () is a body of water separating the Italian Peninsula from the Balkans. The Adriatic is the northernmost arm of the Mediterranean Sea, extending from the Strait of Otranto (where it connects to the Ionian Sea) to the northwest a ...

Adriatic
. Corfu repulsed several Ottoman Empire, Ottoman sieges, before passing under United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, British United States of the Ionian Islands, rule following the
Napoleonic Wars The Napoleonic Wars (1803–1815) were a series of major World war, global conflicts pitting the First French Empire, French Empire and its allies, led by Napoleon, Napoleon I, against a fluctuating array of Coalition forces of the Napoleonic W ...
. 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 Siege of Corfu (1537), 1537, 1571, 1573 and Siege of Corfu (1716), 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 in Angelokastro (Corfu), Angelokastro, Kassiopi Castle, Gardiki Castle, Corfu, Gardiki and elsewhere, were additional factors that enabled Corfu to remain free. Will Durant claimed that Corfu owed to the 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 Ottoman Empire, Ottomans to take the island began in 1431 when Ottoman troops under Ali Bey Evrenosoglu, Ali Bey landed on the island. The Ottomans tried to take the city castle and raided the surrounding area, but were repulsed. The 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 Slavery in the Ottoman Empire, 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 Parga and Mourtos from the Greek mainland side, they attacked the Paxi islands. 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. Another castle, Angelokastro (Corfu), Angelokastro, situated on the northwest coast near Palaiokastritsa (Greek: Παλαιοκαστρίτσα meaning ''Old Castle place'') and located on particularly steep and rocky terrain, also held out. The castle is a tourist attraction today. 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. The Siege of Corfu (1716), 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 Buthrotum opposite Corfu. On 8 July the Ottoman fleet, carrying 33,000 men, sailed to Corfu from Buthrotum and established a beachhead at Ipsos. The same day, the Venetian fleet encountered the Ottoman fleet off the Corfu Channel 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 Johann Matthias von der Schulenburg, von der Schulenburg who commanded the defence of the island, were victorious once more.History of Corfu from xenos website
/ref> 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 in Europe, Corfu being seen as a bastion of western culture, Western civilization against the Ottoman Empire, 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-storeyed buildings on narrow lanes. The Old Town of Corfu has clear Venetian influence and is amongst the List of World Heritage Sites in Greece, 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 Nobile Teatro di San Giacomo di Corfù, Italian Italian may refer to: * Anything of, from, or related to the country and nation of Italy ** Italians, an ethnic group or simply a citizen of the Italian Republic ** Italian language, a Romance langua ...
) in Greece. 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 ''Venetian language, 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 (1832–1909) is thought to have spent much of his childhood in Corfu. Also many 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 ( 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 Saint James and Saint Christopher, Cathedral of St. James and St. Christopher in Corfu City is the see of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Corfu, Zakynthos and Cephalonia. 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 Corfu cleric and scholar, 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; like other 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". File:Corfu Pinargenti 1573.jpg, Venetian Old Fortress, Map 1573 File:Venetian blazon in Corfu.jpg, Venetian blazon with the Lion of Saint Mark, as frequently found on the New Fortress walls File:Παλιό Φρούριο και Παλιά Πόλη από το Νέο Φρούριο.JPG, Panoramic view of Corfu (city) from the New Fortress File:Detail of the south wing of the entrance at Kassiopi Castle.JPG, Detail of the south wing of the entrance at Kassiopi Castle File:View of Kassiopi village from the castle.JPG, View of Kasiopi village from the castle


19th century

By the 1797 Treaty of Campo Formio, Corfu was ceded to the French Revolution, French, who occupied it for two years as the ''French departments of Greece, département'' of Corcyre, until they were Siege of Corfu (1798–1799), expelled by a joint Russian Empire, Russian-Ottoman squadron under Admiral Ushakov. For a short time it became the capital of a self-governing federation of the Septinsular Republic, Heptanesos ("Seven Islands"), under Ottoman suzerainty; in 1807 after the 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 Royal Navy, British Royal Navy fleet, which had captured all the other Ionian islands. Following the final defeat of Napoleon at the Battle of Waterloo, the Ionian Islands became a British protectorate, protectorate of the United Kingdom by the Treaty of Paris (1815), Treaty of Paris of 5 November 1815 as the
United States of the Ionian Islands The United States of the Ionian Islands ( el, Ἡνωμένον Κράτος τῶν Ἰονίων Νήσων, Inoménon Krátos ton Ioníon Níson, ; it, Stati Uniti delle Isole Ionie) was a Greeks, Greek state (polity), state and amical protect ...
. Corfu became the seat of the British Lord High Commissioner of the Ionian Islands. The period of British rule led to investment in new roads, an improved water supply system, and the expansian of
Ionian Academy The Ionian Academy ( el, Ιόνιος Ακαδημία) was the first Greek academic institution established in modern times. It was located in Corfu. It was established by the French during their administration of the island as the '' départeme ...

Ionian Academy
into a university. During this period the Greek language became official. 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

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).:ca:Història de Corfú * Sir James Campbell, 1st Baronet, Sir James Campbell 1814–1816 * Sir Thomas Maitland (1759–1824) 1815–1823 * Frederick Adam, Sir Frederick Adam (1781–1853) 1823–1832 * Alexander Woodford, Sir 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 (1778–1863) 1843–1849 * Henry George Ward, Sir Henry George Ward (1797–1860) 1849–1855 * John Young, 1st Baron Lisgar, Sir John Young (1807–1876) 1855–1859 * William Ewart Gladstone (1809–1898) 1859 * Henry Knight Storks, Sir Henry Knight Storks (1811–1874) 1859–1863 * Count Dimitrios Nikolaou Karousos, President of the United States of the Ionian Islands, Ionian Parliament (1799–1873) 1863–1864


First World War

During the First World War, the island served as a refuge for the Serbian army that retreated there on Allies of World War I, 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.Serbs in Corfu website
/ref>


Interwar period

In 1923, after a diplomatic dispute between Italy and Greece, Italian forces bombarded and occupied Corfu. The League of Nations settled this Corfu incident.


Second World War


Italian occupation and resistance

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 Italia irredenta, Irredentism and making Corfu part of the Kingdom of Italy. During the Second World War the 10th Mechanized Infantry Brigade (Greece), 10th infantry regiment of the Hellenic Army, Greek Army, composed mainly of Corfiot soldiers,History of Corfu from Corfu City Hall website
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 Greek Resistance, Resistance in occupied Greece and a rare phenomenon even by wartime European standards. Subsequently, a considerable number of Corfiots escaped to Epirus (region), Epirus in mainland Greece and enlisted as Partisan (military), partisans in Ethnikos Laikos Apeleftherotikos Stratos, ELAS and Ethnikos Dimokratikos Ellinikos Syndesmos, EDES, in order to join the resistance movement gathering in the mainland.


German bombing and occupation

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. The Nazi bombing raids destroyed most of the city's buildings, including churches, homes, and whole city blocks, especially in the Jewish quarter Evraiki. Other losses included the city's market (αγορά) and the hotel Bella Venezia. The worst losses were the historic buildings of the
Ionian Academy The Ionian Academy ( el, Ιόνιος Ακαδημία) was the first Greek academic institution established in modern times. It was located in Corfu. It was established by the French during their administration of the island as the '' départeme ...

Ionian Academy
(Ιόνιος Ακαδημία), the Municipal Theatre of Corfu, Municipal Theatre (which in 1901 had replaced the ''
Nobile Teatro di San Giacomo di Corfù Nobile Teatro di San Giacomo di Corfù, Italian Italian may refer to: * Anything of, from, or related to the country and nation of Italy ** Italians, an ethnic group or simply a citizen of the Italian Republic ** Italian language, a Romance langua ...
''), the Municipal Library, and the Ionian Parliament. Following the Nazi invasion, 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 Military occupation, occupation government of the island.United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
on the Holocaust in Corfu. Also contains information about the Nazi collaborator mayor Kollas.
In early June 1944, while the Allies bombed Corfu as a diversion from the Operation Overlord, 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.From the interview of a survivor in the film "Shoah (film), Shoah" 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.United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
: "[...]two hundred of the 2,000 Corfu Jews found sanctuary with Christian families[...]"
In ''Evraiki'' (Εβραική, meaning ''Jewish quarter''), there is currently a synagogue with about 65 members, who still speak their original Italkian language.


Liberation

Corfu was liberated by British Armed Forces, 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 newly communist Albania and gave rise to the Corfu Channel Incident. This incident led to the The Corfu Channel Case (United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland v. People's Republic of Albania), Corfu Channel Case, where the United Kingdom opened a case against the People's Republic of Albania at the International Court of Justice.


Post–World War and modern Corfu

After 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 Greece
Ioannis Kapodistrias Count Ioannis Antonios Kapodistrias (10 or 11 February 1776 – 9 October 1831), sometimes anglicized as John Capodistrias ( el, Κόμης Ιωάννης Αντώνιος Καποδίστριας, Komis Ioannis Antonios Kapodistrias; russian: ...
, was elected mayor of
Corfu Corfu (, ) or Kerkyra ( el, Κέρκυρα, Kérkyra, ), ; ; la, Corcyra. is a Greek island Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece, a country in Southern Europe: *Greeks, an ethnic group *Greek language, a branch ...
and became the first female mayor in Greece.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 Greece."
The Corfu General Hospital was also constructed;Corfu General Hospital
/ref> 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 The Ionian University (Greek language, Greek: Iόνιο Πανεπιστήμιο) is a university located in the Ionian Islands (region), Greece. It is one of the newest institutions of Higher Education in Greece, created pursuant to presidential ...
was established in 1984.


Architecture


Venetian influence

Corfu's urban architecture influence derives from Venice, reflecting the fact that from 1386 to 1797 the island was ruled by the Venetians. The architecture of the Old Town of Corfu along with its narrow streets, the , has clear Venetian influence and is amongst the List of World Heritage Sites in Greece, World Heritage Sites in Greece. Other notable Venetian-era buildings include the
Nobile Teatro di San Giacomo di Corfù Nobile Teatro di San Giacomo di Corfù, Italian Italian may refer to: * Anything of, from, or related to the country and nation of Italy ** Italians, an ethnic group or simply a citizen of the Italian Republic ** Italian language, a Romance langua ...
, the first Greek opera house, and ''Liston'', a multi-level commercial and residential building, with an arched colonnade at ground level, lined with cafes and restaurants on its east side, and restaurants and other stores on its west side. Liston's main thoroughfare is often the site of parades and other mass gatherings. Liston is on the edge of the ''Spianada'' (Esplanade), the vast main plaza and park which incorporates a cricket field, a pavilion, and Maitland's monument. Also notable are the Old and New forts, the recently restored Palace of Sts. Michael and George, formerly the residence of the British colonial governor and the seat of the Ionian Senate, and the summer Palace of ''Mon Repos, Corfu, 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 built on part of the Palaiopolis of Kerkyra, where excavations were conducted by the Greek Archaeological Service in collaboration with academics and universities internationally. Examples of the finds can be found in the Museum of the Palace of Mon Repos and at the Archaeological Museum of Corfu.R. Winkes (editor), Kerkyra. Artifacts from the Palaiopolis, Providence 2004.


The Achilleion

In 1889, Elisabeth of Bavaria, Empress Elizabeth of Austria built a summer palace in the region of Gastouri (Γαστούρι) to the south of the city, naming it Achilleion (Corfu), Achílleion (Αχίλλειον) after the
Homer Homer (; grc, Ὅμηρος , ''Hómēros'') was an ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language Greek ( el, label=Modern Greek Modern Greek (, , or , ''Kiní Neoellinikí Glóssa''), generally re ...

Homer
ic 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 Neoclassicism, neoclassical Greek statues that surround it, is a monument to Platonism, platonic romanticism as well as escapism. It served as a refuge for the grieving Empress following the tragic death of her only son and Rudolf, Crown Prince of Austria, Crown Prince, Rudolf. 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 language, 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 (mythology), Paris's arrow from his heel. His classically depicted face is full of pain. He gazes skyward, as if to seek help from Twelve Olympians, Olympus. According to
Greek mythology Greek mythology is the body of myth Myth is a folklore genre Folklore is the expressive body of culture shared by a particular group of people; it encompasses the tradition A tradition is a belief A belief is an Attitude (psyc ...
, 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 Empire, German Kaiser William II, German Emperor, Wilhelm II. In contrast, at the great staircase in the main hall is a giant painting of the triumphant Achilles full of hubris, 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: 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.


Kaiser's Bridge

German Wilhelm II of Germany, Kaiser Wilhelm II was also fond of taking holidays in Corfu. Having purchased the Achilleion in 1907 after Sissi's death, he appointed 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.Corfu map
: The bridge was destroyed during a German attack in World War II. The remains can still be seen today.


Urban landscape


Old town

The Old Town of Corfu (city), Corfu city is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In several parts of the old city, buildings of the Venice, 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. The city of
Corfu Corfu (, ) or Kerkyra ( el, Κέρκυρα, Kérkyra, ), ; ; la, Corcyra. is a Greek island Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece, a country in Southern Europe: *Greeks, an ethnic group *Greek language, a branch ...
stands on the broad part of a peninsula, whose termination in the Venetian citadel ( el, Παλαιό Φρούριο) is cut off from it by an artificial moat, fosse formed in a natural gully, with a seawater moat at the bottom, that now serves as a marina and is called the ''Contrafossa''. In the old town there are many narrow streets paved with cobblestones. These streets are known as ( el, 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 arcade ( el, Λιστόν) to its west side, where restaurants and bistros abound.


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

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 List of Lord High Commissioners of the Ionian Islands, British Governors of the island. It was then called the Palace of Saints Michael and George. The 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 (Corfu), 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, 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).


Churches

In the city, there are thirty-seven Greek churches, the most important of which 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 Jason and 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.


Pontikonisi

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 . 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


Palaiopolis

In the city of Corfu, the ruins of the ancient city of Korkyra, also known as ''Palaiopolis'', include ancient temples which were excavated at the location of the palace of Mon Repos, which was built on the ruins of the Palaiopolis. The temples are: Kardaki Temple, Temple of Artemis, Corfu, Temple of Artemis, and the Temple of Hera, Mon Repos, Temple of Hera. Hera's temple is situated at the western limits of Mon Repos, close to Kardaki Temple and to the northwest. It is approximately 700 m. to the southeast of the Temple of Artemis, Corfu, Temple of Artemis in Corfu. Hera's Temple was built at the top of Analipsis Hill, and, because of its prominent location, it was highly visible to ships passing close to the waterfront of ancient Korkyra.


Kardaki Temple

Kardaki Temple is an Archaic Greece, Archaic Doric order, Doric Greek temple, temple in Corfu,
Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, Elláda, ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe, Southeastern Europe. Its population is approximately 10.7 million as of 2021; Athens is its largest and capital city, followed ...

Greece
, built around 500 BC in the ancient city of Korkyra (or Corcyra), in what is known today as the location Kardaki in the hill of Analipsi in Corfu. The temple features several architectural peculiarities that point to a Doric origin. The temple at Kardaki is unusual because it has no frieze, following perhaps architectural tendencies of Sicilian temples. It is considered to be the only Greek temple of Doric architecture that does not have a frieze. The spacing of the temple columns has been described as "abnormally wide". The temple also lacked both porch and adyton, and the lack of a triglyph and metope frieze may be indicative of Ionians, Ionian influence. The temple at Kardaki is considered an important and to a certain degree mysterious topic on the subject of early ancient Greek architecture. Its association with the worship of Apollo or
Poseidon Poseidon (; grc-gre, Ποσειδῶν, ) was one of the Twelve Olympians upright=1.8, Fragment of a relief Relief is a sculptural technique where the sculpted elements remain attached to a solid background of the same material. The ...

Poseidon
has not been established.


Temple of Artemis

The Temple of Artemis is an Archaic Greece, Archaic Greek temple in Corfu, built in around 580 BC in the ancient city of Korkyra (or Corcyra), in what is known today as the suburb of Garitsa. The temple was dedicated to Artemis. It is known as the first Doric order, Doric temple exclusively built with limestone, stone. It is also considered the first building to have incorporated all of the elements of the Doric order, Doric architectural style.: "The island of Corfu, to the northwest of present-day Greece, off the coast of Albania, was an early colony of the city of Corinth and was under Corinthian control when its Temple of Artemis was constructed. A milestone in Greek architecture, this was the first building that was truly Doric. Many if not all of its Doric characteristics had appeared in earlier structures but here they were used for the first time as an ensemble." Very few Greek temple reliefs from the Archaic period have survived, and the large fragments of the group from the pediment are the earliest significant survivals. The temple was a peripteral–styled building with a pseudodipteral configuration. Its perimeter was rectangular, with width of and length with an eastward orientation so that light could enter the interior of the temple at sunrise. It was one of the largest temples of its time.. The Metope (architecture), metope of the temple was probably decorated, since remnants of reliefs featuring Achilles and Memnon (mythology), Memnon were found in the ancient ruins.. The temple has been described as a milestone of Ancient Greek architecture and one of 150 masterpieces of Western world, Western architecture. The Corfu temple architecture may have influenced the design of an archaic sanctuary structure found at St. Omobono in Italy, near Tiber in Ancient Rome, at the time of the Etruscans, which incorporates similar design elements.. If still in use by the 4th-century, the temple would have been closed during the persecution of pagans in the late Roman Empire, when the Christian Emperors issued edicts prohibiting non-Christian worship. Kaiser Wilhelm II, while vacationing at his summer palace of Achilleion in Corfu and while Europe was preparing for war, was involved in excavations at the site of the ancient temple.


Temple of Hera

The Temple of Hera or Heraion is an Archaic Greece, archaic Greek temple, temple in Corfu, built around 610 BC in the ancient city of Korkyra (or Corcyra), in what is known today as ''Palaiopolis'', and lies within the ground of the Mon Repos, Corfu, Mon Repos estate. The sanctuary of Hera at Mon Repos is considered a major temple, and one of the earliest examples of Ancient Greek architecture, archaic Greek architecture. Large terracotta figures such as lions, gorgoneions, and Daidala maidens, created and painted in vivid colour by artisans, who were inspired by myth traditions across the Mediterranean, decorated the roof of the temple, making it one of the most intricately adorned temples of Archaic Greece and the most ambitious roof construction project of its time. Built at the top of Analipsis Hill, Hera's sanctuary was highly visible to ships approaching the waterfront of the ancient city of Korkyra. The ''Digital Archaic Heraion Project at Mon Repos'' is a project that has undertaken the task of digitising the architectural fragments found at the Corfu Heraion with the aim to reconstruct in 3D the Temple at Palaiopolis in virtual space.


Tomb of Menecrates

The Tomb of Menecrates or Monument of Menecrates is an Archaic Greece, Archaic cenotaph in Corfu, built around 600 BC in the ancient city of Korkyra (or Corcyra). The tomb and the funerary sculpture of a lion were discovered in 1843 during demolition works by the British Army who were demolishing a Venetian fortress in the location of Garitsa hill in Corfu. The tomb is dated to the 6th century BC. The lion is dated at the end of the 7th century BC and it is one of the earliest funerary lions ever found. The tomb and the lion were found in an area which was part of the necropolis of ancient Korkyra, which was discovered by the British army at the time. According to an Ancient Greek inscription found on the grave, the tomb was a monument built by the ancient Korkyreans in honour of their proxenos (ambassador) Menecrates, son of Tlasios, from Oeiantheia. Menecrates was the ambassador of ancient Korkyra to Oeiantheia, modern day Galaxidi or Ozolian Locris, and he was lost at sea. In the inscription it is also mentioned that the brother of Menecrates, Praximenes, had arrived from Oeiantheia to assist the people of Korkyra in building the monument to his brother.


Other archaeological sites

In Kassiopi, Cassiope, the only other city of ancient importance, its name is still preserved by the village of Kassiopi, and there are some rude remains of building on the site; but the temple of Zeus Cassius for which it was celebrated has totally disappeared.


Castles

The castles of Corfu, located at strategic points on the island helped defend the island from many invaders and they were instrumental in repulsing repeated Turkish invasions, making Corfu one of the few places in Greece never to be conquered by the Ottomans.


Palaio Frourio

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 #Early history, cross at its apex; at the foot of the observatory lies St. George's church, in a classical style punctuated by six Doric Order, Doric columns,St. George Article
/ref> as opposed to the Hagia Sophia, Byzantine architectural style of the greater part of Greek Orthodox churches.


Neo Frourio

The ''new citadel'' or ''Neo Frourio'' (Νέο Φρούριο, "New Fortress") is a huge complex of fortifications built by the British during their United States of the Ionian Islands, rule of the island (1815–63) 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.


Angelokastro

Angelokastro ( gr, Αγγελόκαστρο (Castle of Angelos or Castle of the Angel); ) is a Byzantine castle on the island of Corfu,
Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, Elláda, ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe, Southeastern Europe. Its population is approximately 10.7 million as of 2021; Athens is its largest and capital city, followed ...

Greece
. It is located at the top of the highest peak of the island's shoreline in the northwest coast near Palaiokastritsa and built on particularly precipitous and rocky terrain. It stands on a steep cliff above the sea and surveys the Corfu (city), City of Corfu and the mountains of mainland Greece to the southeast and a wide area of Corfu toward the northeast and northwest. Angelokastro is one of the most important fortified complexes of Corfu. It was an acropolis which surveyed the region all the way to the southern
Adriatic The Adriatic Sea () is a body of water separating the Italian Peninsula from the Balkans. The Adriatic is the northernmost arm of the Mediterranean Sea, extending from the Strait of Otranto (where it connects to the Ionian Sea) to the northwest a ...

Adriatic
and presented a formidable strategic vantage point to the occupant of the castle. Angelokastro formed a defensive triangle with the castles of Gardiki Castle, Corfu, Gardiki and Kassiopi Castle, Kassiopi, which covered Corfu's defences to the south, northwest and northeast. The castle never fell, despite frequent sieges and attempts at conquering it through the centuries, and played a decisive role in defending the island against pirate incursions and during three sieges of Corfu by the Ottomans, significantly contributing to their defeat. During invasions it helped shelter the local peasant population. The villagers also fought against the invaders playing an active role in the defence of the castle. Angelokastro, 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 island.


Gardiki Castle

Gardiki Castle ( gr, Κάστρο Γαρδικίου) is a 13th-century Byzantine castle on the southwestern coast of Corfu and the only surviving medieval fortress on the southern part of the island. It was built by a ruler of the Despotate of Epirus, and was one of three castles which defended the island before the Republic of Venice, Venetian era (1401–1797). The location of Gardiki at the narrow southwest flank of Corfu provided protection to the fields and the southern lowlands of Corfu and in combination with Kassiopi Castle on the northeastern coast of the island and Byzantine Angelokastro (Corfu), Angelokastro protecting the northwestern shore of Corfu, formed a triangular line of defence which protected Corfu during the pre-Venetian era.


Kassiopi Castle

Kassiopi Castle ( gr, Κάστρο Κασσιώπης) is a castle on the northeastern coast of Corfu overseeing the fishing village of Kassiopi. It was one of three Byzantine-period castles that defended the island before the Republic of Venice, Venetian era (1386–1797). The castles formed a defensive triangle, with Gardiki Castle, Corfu, Gardiki guarding the island's south, Kassiopi the northeast and Angelokastro (Corfu), Angelokastro the northwest. Its position at the northeastern coast of Corfu overseeing the Corfu Channel that separates the island from the mainland gave the castle an important vantage point and an elevated strategic significance. Kassiopi Castle is considered one of the most imposing architectural remains in the Ionian Islands, along with Angelokastro, Gardiki Castle, Corfu, Gardiki Castle and the two Venetian Fortresses of Corfu City, the Old Fortress, Corfu, Citadel and the New Fortress, New Fort. Since the castle was abandoned for a long time, its structure is in a state of ruin. The eastern side of the fort has disappeared and only a few traces of it remain. There are indications that castle stones have been used as building material for houses in the area. Access to the fortress is mainly from the southeast through a narrow walkway which includes passage from homes and backyards, since the castle is at the centre of the densely built area of the small village of Kassiopi.


Municipalities

The three present municipalities of Corfu and Diapontia Islands were formed in the 2019 local government reform from the former municipality Corfu. *Central Corfu and Diapontia Islands *North Corfu *South Corfu


Education


Ionian Academy

The
Ionian Academy The Ionian Academy ( el, Ιόνιος Ακαδημία) was the first Greek academic institution established in modern times. It was located in Corfu. It was established by the French during their administration of the island as the '' départeme ...

Ionian Academy
was an institution that maintained the tradition of Greek education while the rest of Greece was still under Ottoman rule. The academy was established by the French during their administration of the island as the ''French departments of Greece, département'' of Corcyre, and became a university during the British administration, through the actions of Frederick North, 5th Earl of Guilford in 1824. It is also considered the precursor of the Ionian University. It had Philological, Law, and Medical Schools.


Ionian University

The Ionian University was 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 university opened its doors to students in 1985 and today comprises three Schools and six Departments offering undergraduate and post-graduate degree programmes and summer schools.


Student activism

In the modern era, beginning with its massive student protests during World War II against fascist occupation, and continuing in the fight against the dictatorship of Georgios Papadopoulos (1967–1974), students in Corfu have played a vanguard role in protesting for Freedom (political), 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.


Culture

Corfu has a long musical, theatrical, and operatic tradition. The operas performed in Corfu were at par with their European counterparts. The phrase "applaudito in Corfu" (applauded in Corfu) was a measure of high accolade for an opera performed on the island. The
Nobile Teatro di San Giacomo di Corfù Nobile Teatro di San Giacomo di Corfù, Italian Italian may refer to: * Anything of, from, or related to the country and nation of Italy ** Italians, an ethnic group or simply a citizen of the Italian Republic ** Italian language, a Romance langua ...
was the first theatre and opera house of modern Greece and the place where the first Greek opera, Spyridon Xyndas' ''The Parliamentary Candidate'' (based on an exclusively Greek libretto) was performed.


Museums and libraries

The most notable of Corfu's museums and libraries are located in the city; these include:Libraries and Museums from the City Hall website
/ref> * Archaeological Museum of Corfu, The Archaeological Museum, inaugurated in 1967, was constructed to house the exhibit of the huge Gorgon pediment of the Temple of Artemis (Corfu), 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'' as the "finest example of Archaic Greece, 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. * The 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, including a Greco-Buddhist art collection that shows the influence of Alexander the Great on Buddhist culture as far as Pakistan (see Greco-Buddhism). * The Banknote Museum, located in Saint Spyridon, 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.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''
Donated by Maria Desylla Kapodistria, grand niece of Ioannis Kapodistrias, former mayor of Corfu and first female mayor of Greece. * The Music Museum of the 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 Palaio Frourio. * The Reading Society of Corfu has an extensive library of old Corfu manuscripts and rare books. * The Serbian Museum of Corfu (, ''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 Serbia. * Solomos Museum and the Corfiot Studies Society.


Patron Saint Spyridon

Saint Spyridon the Thaumaturgy, 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 Siege of Corfu (1716), second great siege of Corfu in 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 Johann Matthias von der Schulenburg, Schulenburg who commanded the stubborn defence of the island against Ottoman forces, but also to the miraculous intervention of St. Spyridon. 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.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 perform his first great oratorio, Juditha Triumphans devicta Holofernis barbaric . This work was an allegorical description of the victory of the Venetians (the Christians) over the Turks (the barbarians) in August 1716.''
Hence Spyridon is a popular first name for Greek males born on the island and/or to islanders.


Music


Musical history

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 Venetian protectorate and it benefited from a unique musical and theatrical heritage. Then in the 19th century, as a Protectorate, British Protectorate, 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 Ionian School (music), 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 Greek War of Independence, independence.


The three Philharmonics

Corfu's Philharmonic Societies provide free instruction in music, 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 seniority: * the 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 Nikolaos Mantzaros, Mantzaros Philharmonic Society use blue uniforms with blue and white helmet plumes. It is commonly called the ''Néa'' ("New"). Founded 25 October 1890. * the John Capodistria, 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 April 1980). 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 gazebo, "''pálko''", and have a prominent part in the yearly Holy Week ceremonies.


Ionian University music department

Since the early 1990s a music department has been established at the
Ionian University The Ionian University (Greek language, Greek: Iόνιο Πανεπιστήμιο) is a university located in the Ionian Islands (region), Greece. It is one of the newest institutions of Higher Education in Greece, created pursuant to presidential ...
. 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 instrument, brass, strings (music), strings, singing, jazz and musicology.


Theatres and operatic tradition


Teatro di San Giacomo

Under Republic of Venice, 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 Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, Elláda, ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe, Southeastern Europe. Its population is approximately 10.7 million as of 2021; Athens is its largest and capital city, followed ...

Greece
) musical development of the island during this era.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
The opera house of Corfu during the 18th and 19th centuries was the Nobile Teatro di San Giacomo di Corfù, 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 An opera house is a theatre building used for performances of opera Opera is a form of theatre Theatre or theater is a collaborative form of performing art that uses live performers, usually actor, actors or actresses, to present ...

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 Zante, 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 Axis occupation of Greece during World War II, German air raid in 1943. The first opera to be performed in the San Giacomo was in 1733 ("Hiero I, Gerone, tyrant, tiranno di Syracuse, Sicily, Siracusa"), and for almost two hundred years, between 1771 and 1943, nearly every major opera from the Italian culture, 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 history, a fixture in famous opera singers' itineraries.History of the theatre
from Corfu cityhall


Municipal Theatre of Corfu

The Municipal Theatre of Corfu ( el, Δημοτικό Θέατρο Κέρκυρας) was the main theatre and
opera house An opera house is a theatre building used for performances of opera Opera is a form of theatre Theatre or theater is a collaborative form of performing art that uses live performers, usually actor, actors or actresses, to present ...

opera house
in Corfu.History of the municipal theatre
from Corfu cityhall
Opened in 1902, the theatre was the successor of
Nobile Teatro di San Giacomo di Corfù Nobile Teatro di San Giacomo di Corfù, Italian Italian may refer to: * Anything of, from, or related to the country and nation of Italy ** Italians, an ethnic group or simply a citizen of the Italian Republic ** Italian language, a Romance langua ...
which became the Corfu city hall. It was destroyed during a Luftwaffe aerial bombardment in 1943. During its 41-year history, it was one of the premier theatres and opera houses in Greece, and as the first theatre in Southeastern Europe, it contributed to the arts and to the history of the Balkans and of Europe. The archives of the theatre, including the historical San Giacomo archives, all valuables and art were destroyed in the Luftwaffe bombing with the sole exception of the stage curtain, which was not in the premises the night of the bombing and thus escaped harm; among the losses are believed to have been numerous manuscripts of the work of Spyridon Xyndas, composer of the first opera in Greek.


Festivities


Easter

On Good Friday, from the early afternoon onward, the bands of the three Philharmonic Societies, separated into squads, accompany the Epitaphios (liturgical), Epitaph processions of the city churches. Late in the afternoon, the squads come together to form one band in order to accompany the Epitaphios (liturgical), 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 Giuseppe Verdi, Verdi's ''Marcia Funebre'' from Don Carlo, and the Capodistria play Frédéric Chopin, Chopin's ''Funeral March'' and Angelo Mariani (conductor), Mariani's ''Sventura''.Corfu city hall website on Easter festivities
/ref> On Holy Saturday morning, the three city bands again take part in the Epitaphios (liturgical), 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 Franco Faccio, Faccio's ''Amleto'', and the Capodistria playing the ''Funeral March'' from Ludwig van Beethoven, Beethoven's ''Symphony No. 3 (Beethoven), 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 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 2:9). Once the ''bótides'' commotion is over, the three bands parade the clay-strewn streets playing the famous "''Graikoí''" festive march.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
/ref> The march, which functions as the anthem of the island, was composed during the period of Venetian rule, and its lyrics include: "Greeks, never fear, we are all enslaved: you to the Turks, we to the Venetians, but one day we shall all be free".


Ta Karnavalia

Another venerable 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 Float (parade), floats.Corfu city hall website on Karnavalia
/ref> Corfiots, young and old, dress up in colourful costumes and follow the parade, spilling out into the area's narrow streets () and spreading the festivities across the city, dancing and socialising. At night, dance and costume parties are traditional.


Cultural depictions


Corfu in myth

* It is in Corfu that Heracles, just before embarking on his ten labours, slept with the naiad Melite (naiad), Melite; she bore him Hyllus, the leader of the Heraclids. * Corfu marks the Argonauts' refuge from the avenging Colchis, Colchic fleet, after their seizure of the Golden Fleece. * In the mythical sea adventure of
Homer Homer (; grc, Ὅμηρος , ''Hómēros'') was an ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language Greek ( el, label=Modern Greek Modern Greek (, , or , ''Kiní Neoellinikí Glóssa''), generally re ...

Homer
's Odyssey, Kerkyra is the island of the
PhaeaciansScheria or Scherie (; grc, Σχερία or ), also known as Phaeacia (), was a region in Greek mythology Greek mythology is the body of myths originally told by the Ancient Greece, ancient Greeks, and a genre of Ancient Greek folklore. These st ...
, (Phaiakes) wherein Odysseus (Ulysses) meets Nausicaa, Nausica, the daughter of King Alcinous, Alkinoos. The bay of Palaiokastritsa is considered to be the place where Odysseus disembarked.


Corfu in literature

* British naturalist Gerald Durrell wrote three 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 Corcyra (Corfu)''. * Mary Stewart (novelist), Mary Stewart's novel ''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. * Letitia Landon twice wrote of Corfu as an island paradise, the first poem appeared in Fisher's Drawing Room Scrap Book, 1835 and the second in that for 1838. A third poem of hers was published in the scrap book for 1837. * Humbert Humbert's first love, Annabel Leigh, is said to have died of typhus in Corfu in a scene of Vladimir Nabokov's ''Lolita''. * Albert Cohen (novelist), Albert Cohen wrote three books which are partially or entirely set in Corfu. They are: ''Mangeclous'', ''Les Valeureux'', and ''Belle du Seigneur''. Cohen himself was born on the island. * Voltaire references two monks from Corfu in Chapter XXVIII of Candide


Corfu in film

* Corfu was one of the main locations featured in the 1970 film ''The Executioner (1970 film), The Executioner'' starring 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 (1978 film), Fedora'' is set in Corfu and filmed on location. * The 1981 James Bond movie ''For Your Eyes Only (film), 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 (Corfu), 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 Theotokis. * 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 and Kaiser Wilhelm II. Harrison concludes his 1992 film-poem by making a proposal that in the List of European Council meetings, 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'' ('' el, Η Κόμησσα Της Κέρκυρας''), a 1972 film starring Rena Vlahopoulou and Alekos Alexandrakis, was filmed in Corfu. * ITV (TV channel), ITV aired a TV series, named ''The Durrells, The Durrells in Corfu'', in April 2016 and ultimately lasting four seasons, concluding in May 2019. It was 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 (entertainer), Drake mentions Corfu in a song.


Tourism

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 Kavos also 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 stopover 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 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 'package holidays', 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 oligarchs.


Transport

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 island of Paxoi and as far as Patras and both traditional ferries and advanced retractable airfoil, hydrodynamic-flow, high-speed ferries called "Flying Dolphins" to Igoumenitsa and
Sarandë Sarandë (; sq-definite, Saranda; el, Άγιοι Σαράντα, Agioi Saranda; it, Santiquaranta) is a List of cities and towns in Albania, city in the Republic of Albania and seat of Sarandë Municipality. Geographically, the city is located ...

Sarandë
in neighbouring
Albania Albania ( ; sq, Shqipëri or Shqipëria), officially the Republic of Albania ( sq, Republika e Shqipërisë), is a country in Southeastern Europe Southeast Europe or Southeastern Europe () is a geographical subregion A subregion is a par ...

Albania
. The small port of Lefkimmi is also to be found at the southernmost tip of the island on Cape Kavos, offering a ferry boat, ferry service to the mainland. The Ioannis Kapodistrias International Airport, named after
Ioannis Kapodistrias Count Ioannis Antonios Kapodistrias (10 or 11 February 1776 – 9 October 1831), sometimes anglicized as John Capodistrias ( el, Κόμης Ιωάννης Αντώνιος Καποδίστριας, Komis Ioannis Antonios Kapodistrias; russian: ...
, a 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 aerial views of ''Pontikonisi'' and Vlaheraina Monastery, also taking in the hills of ''Kanoni'', as the runway employed for landing lies a few hundred metres from these 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, Kefalonia, Ioannina, Patras and 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 Acharavi, Lefkimmi, Lefkimmi and Piri. Other coaches drive up to twice a day to Athens and Thessaloniki. City buses run through the city to the Airport, Achilleion, Gouvia, Afra, Pelekas and some other places of interest. The
Diapontia Islands The Diapontia Islands or Diapontian Islands ( el, Διαπόντια Νησιά, Diapontia Νisia), also known as Othonoi Islands ( el, Νήσοι Οθωνοί, Νisoi Othonoi) are a Greek island group in the Ionian Sea. They are located the nort ...
are accessible by boat with regular services from Corfu port and Agios Stefanos Avliotes and by ferry from Corfu city port.


Economy

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 Sea, Aegean ''Moscháto'' (white Muscat (grape and wine), muscat), the Achaean ''Mavrodáphnē'' and others. Modern times have seen the introduction of specialist cultivation supported by the mild climate, like the
kumquat Kumquats (or cumquats in Australian English Australian English (AusE,AusEng, AuE, AuEng, en-AU) is the set of variety (linguistics), varieties of the English language native to Australia. Australian English is the country's national and '' ...

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 Gruyère (cheese), gruyere) and "''Corfu''" cheese (a variant of Grana (cheese), 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 Venice, Venetian origin), ''pastitsáda'' (bucatini pasta served with diced veal cooked in a tomato sauce), ''bourdétto'' (cod cooked in a Capsicum, peppery sauce), ''mándoles'' (caramelized almonds), ''pastéli'' (honey bars made with sesame, almonds or pistachios), ''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 breweries in Corfu and one bed layers factory. The island has again become an important Port#Port of call, port of call and has a considerable trade in olive oil. In earlier times there was a great export of Greek citron, citron, which was cultivated here, including for ritual use in the Jewish community during the Sukkot holiday.


International relations

* Meißen, Germany (1996) * Troisdorf, Germany (1996)


Notable people


Ancient

*Arsenius of Corfu, Arsenius (10th century), saint *Peithias, leader during the Peleponnesian War *Philiscus of Corcyra, Philiscus, tragic poet, born in Corfu *Ptolichus (5th century BC), sculptor *Saint Philomena (AD 291–304), virgin and martyr


Modern

* Her Royal Highness, H.R.H. Princess Alexia of Greece and Denmark, born in Corfu * Marie Aspioti, Member of the Order of the British Empire, M.B.E., distinguished Corfiote magazine publisher and cultural figure who influenced the literary and cultural life of post-war Corfu * Panos Aravantinos Decor Museum, 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 army * Albert Cohen (novelist), Albert Cohen, Swiss-French author, born in Corfu * Ian Hamilton (British Army officer), Ian Hamilton, Military Officer, Led the 1915 Gallipoli campaign, Gallipoli Landings, 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 * Eleni Doika, Greek Olympic gymnast, born in Corfu * Panagiotis Doxaras, painter, pioneer of the Heptanese School (painting), 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 ("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 Tolis Voskopoulos * Spyridon Gianniotis, Olympic silver medalist in swimming, raised in Corfu with father from Corfu * 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 Count Ioannis Antonios Kapodistrias (10 or 11 February 1776 – 9 October 1831), sometimes anglicized as John Capodistrias ( el, Κόμης Ιωάννης Αντώνιος Καποδίστριας, Komis Ioannis Antonios Kapodistrias; russian: ...
, first Governor of Greece, born in Corfu * Maria Desylla-Kapodistria, relative of
Ioannis Kapodistrias Count Ioannis Antonios Kapodistrias (10 or 11 February 1776 – 9 October 1831), sometimes anglicized as John Capodistrias ( el, Κόμης Ιωάννης Αντώνιος Καποδίστριας, Komis Ioannis Antonios Kapodistrias; russian: ...
, mayor of
Corfu Corfu (, ) or Kerkyra ( el, Κέρκυρα, Kérkyra, ), ; ; la, Corcyra. is a Greek island Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece, a country in Southern Europe: *Greeks, an ethnic group *Greek language, a branch ...
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 * Petros Lantzas, rebel, spy and privateer * 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 Mustoxydis, Andreas Moustoxydis, historian and philologist, born in Corfu * Vangelis Petsalis, classical musician and composer, born in Corfu * His Royal Highness, 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 * Petros Brailas Armenis, philosopher, politician, diplomat and former owner of the predecessor of the Achilleion (Corfu), Achilleion palace, born in Corfu *, first published of Dionysios Solomos, born in Corfu * Major-General (United Kingdom), Major-General Henry Ponsonby, Sir Henry Ponsonby (1825–1895), Private Secretary to the Sovereign, 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), Alexander Rossi, artist, born in Corfu * Sakis Rouvas, singer and athlete, born in Corfu * Marshal Johann Matthias von der Schulenburg, 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 Corfu * 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 * Gaetano Giuffrè, composer, Maestro, born in Corfu * Bulgari#History, Sotirios Voulgaris (1857–1932), cosmetologist, founder of the Bulgari jewellery store than later became the famous Bulgari company * * 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 people, Greek scholar, geographer and lawyer born in Corfu *Spiro Çomora, famous Albanian dramatist. *Michael Spiggos, international radio producer.


Gallery

File:Cape Fonias, Corfu 3.JPG, Cape Drastis at the northwest tip of Corfu island File:Corfu Chalikiopoulou Lagoon R01.jpg, Chalikiopoulou Lagoon (or Lake Chalikiopoulou), south of Corfu town File:Venetian Shipyard in Gouvia, Corfu.jpg, Venetian arsenal, Gouvia File:Corfu Annunziata R02.jpg, Old tower, Corfu town File:Corfu panorama bgiu.jpg, Panorama of the Old Town of Corfu File:Corfu venetian quarter overview bgiu.jpg, Venetian quarter, Corfu town File:Narrow street corfu.jpg, ''Odós Ipeirou'' in Corfu old town File:Corfu Evgeniou Voulgareos R01.jpg, Historic building in ''Evgeniou Voulgareos'' street File:St. George's Church.jpg, View of St. George's Temple at the Old Fortress, Corfu, Old Fortress File:Corfu Mon Repos R01.jpg, Mon Repos, Corfu, Mon Repos File:Corfu Achilleion R11.jpg, Gardens of Achilleion (Corfu), Achilleion File:Achilleion Terrace Corfu(1).jpg, Statues at the Achilleion (Corfu), Achilleion terrace File:Villa Rossa in Corfu.jpg, ''Villa Rossa'', landmark of Corfu city File:Corfu Pelekas R02.jpg, Pelekas village File:Kaiser's Bridge in Corfu ca. 1918.jpg, Kaiser's Bridge in Corfu c. 1918 File:Krf i Starata tvrdina.jpg, Workers on Corfu. The image shows the Old Fortress. First World War


See also

*Aspioti-ELKA *Cuisine of the Ionian islands *Heptanese School (painting) *Hercules (vehicles) *Music of the Heptanese *Temple of Hera, Mon Repos


Notes


References


Sources

* * * * * *


Further reading

* * * * * Siebert, Diana: Aller Herren Außenposten. Korfu von 1797 bis 1944. Köln, 2016


External links


Municipality of Corfu
(official site)

{{Authority control Corfu, Corfu (regional unit) Corinthian colonies Euboean colonies Islands of Greece Italian Jewish communities Locations in Greek mythology Mediterranean port cities and towns in Greece Provinces of Greece Septinsular Republic Territories of the Republic of Venice Populated places in Corfu (regional unit)