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On the crossroads of East and West, Corfu always attracts the interest of the Europeans and the successive western conquerors left their seal in her architectural style. The name Corfu emanates from an old myth about the nymph Corfu, daughter of the river Asopos, for whom Poseidon fell in love with and brought her in this island naming it after her. Phaeacas was the fruit of their love, the primogenitor of Phaeacians, thus why the island was known as the “island of the Phaeacians”. During the Byzantine times the name Coryfo derived from the “dikorfi (twin peaks)” Citadel, the Old Fortress, as it is known today, that was situated in front of where the modern city is today. From the name Coryfo derive the Latin Corfou and Corfu, with which Kerkyra is known abroad.

About Odysseus....

Scheria, is the beautiful island of the Phaeacians, where Alcinous reigned and where his daughter Nafsika found the castaway Odysseus at the seashore. According to Homer, when Odysseus escaped from Calypso, he was on his way to Ithaca. Alas, the God of the Sea, Poseidon, who was not in good terms with him, as one could see from the start of the epic, he transformed his boat into a rock. Odysseus came ashore to the coast of Scheria where the kingdom of the Phaeacians was, a kingdom of friendly people governed by king Alkinous. The King’s daughter, Nafsika, went with her female servants to wash the clothes in a beach. The girls sang and played ball and their voices woke Odysseus up. Without revealing who he was, he made friends with them and the girls took him back in the palace where he admired the buildings, the harbours and the beautiful city and where he was received with honors. Maybe he thought of marrying Nafsika but his desire to return to Ithaca was much stronger. Listening to a rhapsodist singing the heroic deeds of the Trojan War, he was forced to reveal who he was, and after he recounted his roaming he left to return to Ithaca.
According to the legend, Pontikonisi is the boat that Poseidon transformed into a rock.


An Ionian Sea Island situated between Southern Italy and Greece. The second Ionian Island in size (592 m²), 60 km long, and from 4 to 30 km wide, is situated at the mouth of the Adriatic Sea. Its coastline presents a great variety in its configuration. The western side is more rocky while the eastern and the northern sides are more flat. Two big natural bays, the bay of Corfu and the cove of Lefkimmi, are formed on the eastern coastal side while there are other smaller ones on the western side of the island. The climate is mild, Mediterranean, with mild winters and cool summers. The level of humidity is high due to the hot south-western and north-western winds that cause rainfalls. The ground is to a great extent smooth and fertile, while the frequent and abundant rainfall encourages vegetation. First place, regarding vegetation, has got the olive tree amounting to 4.000.000. This is owed to the Venetians that first introduced and cultivated the olive trees in the island. The vines, the citrus fruits and other fruit-bearing trees are the main crops. The climate is mild, Mediterranean, with mild winters and an average temperature of 10C in January, and cool summers. The level of humidity is also high because the hot south-western and north-western winds cause rainfalls.


The people of Corfu are deeply religious with a special example being the litany of Saint Spyridonas who is considered the island’s protector. Four times per year litanies take place in the island escorted by philharmonic bands; the most important and most spectacular are the following:
Palm Sunday
Holy Saturday. This is the oldest litany established in the 16th century.
On the 11th of August in memory of the termination of the siege of the island from the Turks when according to the tradition, Saint Spyridonas, took the form of a monk and as the leader of a legion of angels chased the enemy holding a cross in one hand and a lit candle in the other hand.
First Sunday of November. This litany takes place in memory of the salvation of the island from a deadly cholera epidemic after the intervention of the Saint. It was established in the year 1673.



It is the fortified hill in the eastern part of the peninsula on which is built the city of Corfu. The entry to the Old Fortress is to be found opposite Liston. It is easy to understand why this place was considered ideal for the building of a fortified city. In the northern side of the citadel it was created an artificial harbour, while further north there is a natural bay that was also used as a port. The first fortification works were constructed by the Byzantines in the beginning of the 8th century and it appears that they consist from a wall to the land side and a moat. There were no important changes made up to the 16th century when the entire city was fortified due to the Turkish threat.


The tour of the city begins here; the big open space between the city and the Old Fortress. This space formed for the artillerists of the Fortress a free shooting field against the besiegers. Today, its southern part has been turned into a park, with an orchestra stand, statues and shady paths and the northern part into a cricket ground, where during summertime Festivals are organised with the participation of the English teams.


An arched gallery with cafes and restaurants built during the second short second period of French occupation (1807-1814), on the plans of the mechanic Leseps, following the model of the Parisian Rivoli street. The cafes of Liston are the centre of social life of Corfu and the endless movement goes on all year round.


To the north of the Spianada could be found the place of Saints Michael and George. A neoclassical building with a Dorian colonnade in its façade, built with porous stone brought from Malta. It was designed by the Colonel GEORGE WHITHMORE in 1819 to be used as the residence of the High Commissioner. The idea derives from the big Country houses of the English aristocracy. It is the only architectural monument of Georgian style in the whole of the Mediterranean. The last few years, it was renovated and now is housing the Museum of Asian Art, the Historical Records and the Classical Antiquities Office.


This church is the most well known religious monument of the city. Saint Spyridonas was the Bishop of Cyprus and took part in the 1st Ecumenical Session of Nice in 325, where the heresy of Areion was renounced. After his death, his relic was looked after in Constantinople and when the capital of Byzantium fell to the Turks some refugees took it with them. The relic reached Corfu in 1489. It is not known when precisely was so closely connected with the fortunes of the island, so as Saint Spyridonas to become the protector Saint of Corfu, but according to tradition he saved the island from the plague that is recorded before 1553.


The New Fortress was built in the decade of 1570 at the time of the universal refortification of Corfu. The chief architect was Francisco Vitelli, who in order to acquire building material he demolished roughly 2.000 houses and churches, as well as one of the more beautiful gates of the city, the Porta Reale. At the end of the 17th century the fortification of the New Fortress was complemented with the Avrami and Sarocco fortresses. But a large part of the New Fortess was destroyed at the request of the Great Powers before the Union of the Ionic islands with Greece, and also during the Second World War blitz..


By Air
Corfu is connected with Athens and Thessalonica. The airport is situated 3 km to the South of the city. During the peak season there are a lot of charter flights from various European cities to the island.
By hydroplanes for Corfu, Paxoi, Ioannina, Patras, Ithaki, Lefkada & Kaphalonia.
By Ferry
Corfu is connected with Patras, Igoumenitsa, Paxoi, Sagiada, and Italy.
By Bus (KTEL)
To Athens and Thessalonica with regular bus services


There are daily scheduled routes with urban and long distance buses to all the places in the island. There are car, moppet and bicycle rental offices. Many tourist offices organize excursions to all visitors’ sites in Corfu.


The Corfu Carnival is celebrated with particular zest and at the final Sunday of the carnival a procession of carnival chariots is taking place; groups from Italy often participate escorted by the local philharmonic orchestra. The burning of the carnival straw-man follows.


On the Good Friday’s evening, when the permanent resident and the numerous visitors gather to attend the Epitafios, Christ’s funeral procession, under the sound of the island’s philharmonic orchestras, the atmosphere in the small alleys of the city and especially around the Liston is deeply spiritual. On the morning of the Holy Saturday, at the first celebration of the Resurrection of Christ, a strange sound accompanies the bell toll. It emanates from the breakage of pitchers that the people of Corfu throw off their balconies. This custom is related to the joy experienced by the Virgin Mary and Mary Magdalene who according to the tradition they were the first to see the open tomb of the Resurrected Christ. On the eve of the Easter Day, the Archbishop of Corfu and the elected officials of the island gather at the central square of Sinada’s stand and at the stroke of midnight of the Holy Saturday close to Easter Sunday when the cry ‘Chris Resurrected’ is heard, he greets with words of joys and fireworks while innumerable lit candles are in the hands of the assembled crowd.


The Empress Sissy’s shelter.
Elisabeth was born in Bavaria in 1837. She was crowned Empress of Austria and Hungary, after her scandalous marriage to Francisco Josef the first of the Habsburgs in 1854, since his wife was intended to be her sister Helena. After her marriage and her conflict with the protocol of the court and her mother-in-law Sofia she began to travel. In 1857 in Hungary dies her daughter Sofia at the age of two. Her mother-in-law, who was right from the start against her travels, tried to gain custody of her other two children, Rudolf and Giselle. Following these developments, she pretended reasons of health to begin a great voyage aboard a ship to all the islands of the Mediterranean. Thus, in 1861 she found herself in Corfu staying at the Mon Repos as a guest of the English High Commissioner, sir Henry Storcks. Her first encounter with the nature of the island and the Ionian in general, it seems that touched Elisabeth deeply who in her many coming voyages she returned to Corfu. Although she played a positive role in the political developments of Europe, she had to face up to a hostile court and new misfortunes such as the suicide of her son Rudolf and the deaths of her father, Maximilian, her brother in law and her sister. After these events, Elisabeth decided to leave Austria and to reside some where else far away. Thus, in 1889 she bought the Vraila villa that was at the current Achillion site and began the work of demolition and restructuring of what was to become the current building. The magnificent garden created was adorned with important statues with the most important being the one of Achilles dying.


The physical environment of the city of Corfu consists mainly of the houses of the middle and working class which are as a rule multi-storey in the form of a block of flats. The older of them consist of three or four storeys although there are others dating from the English period that sometimes reach 6 to 7 storeys. They are built in very small plots, and rarely have a courtyard or garden.
The houses of the Venetian period of occupation are usually uniform. Characteristic elements of their appearance is the organisation of the arches, the orderly placed windows, the zones that separate the floors, the doors, the stone balconies, the engraved consoles of the balconies and the framework.
The walks (the arcs), that is the galleries of the ground floors are one of the most impressive characteristics of Corfu architecture. They ease the traffic in busy streets without losing beneficial space above the ground floors of the buildings, on both sides of the road. Furthermore, these galleries offer protection from the weather to the pedestrians. Characteristic are also the chimneys that appear above the roofs, as well as the window and stairwell railings. But also the colours, red (common in Venice), the ochre in the walls, and the green frames create a unique style in the entire island.
The mansions of Corfu are in their majority built in the period of the Venetian occupation and they are also adapted to the limited space with 2-3 storeys and simple appearance. Their main characteristic is the sticking out portico that creates a verandah on the floor making it imposing. These mansions are found scattered in the city thus never creating a neighbourhood. The nobles were compelled to maintain a residence in the city, but their main residence was in their land in the countryside.
Generally speaking the buildings of that era follow the Italian architecture with Renaissance and baroque elements styled and adapted to the local needs.


Renown are the dishes ‘Sofrito’ (small slices of beef fried in garlic), ‘Pastitsada’ (thick macaroni with spicy meat in red sauce), ‘Bourdeto’ (special fish, preferably scorpions, stonefish or cod cooked in a sauce of onions with lots of red pepper).
It is also worth to try Corfu’s nougats, liqueur from aromatic strawberries and the tiny oranges called kumquat, and the exceptional quality wines of Corfu.


• According to Stabo, the name was given to Paxoi from the Phoenician word ‘paks’ meaning a geometrical table, that is an V shaped (trapezoid) island as seen from the sea.
• Another version supports that a number of residents from the Sicilian Paxountos, both because of necessity or a factional raid, left their country and moved to Paxoi, giving it their homeland’s name.
• Athinagoras, the Archbishop of Paramythias, attributes the name to the slabs that Paxoi exported. The etymology of the work ‘Pax’ is slab and island which in Greek means the island of the slabs.
• Moustoxidis thinks that the name derives from the adjective ‘paktos’ (Dorian type of ‘pyktos’).
• Another version is that the name derives from the ancient verb ‘pignio’ and especially from its future tense ‘pixo’.
• It is also possible that the name derives from the phrase ‘paxosas thiras [doors] (closed) because the port of Gai is a closed one.



• The castle of Saint Nicolas on the islet bearing the same name, after obtaining permission from the Municipal Authority. Tel. 26620 32100
• The monastery of Panayia on the islet.
• The church of Saint Apostles, it is located behind the bus stop
• The Early Christian church of Saint Marina, in Porto Ozia, at the end of the coastal road, before the turn for the Moggonisi.
• The museum of Paxoi and the Municipal Gallery.Tel.26620 32566
• The cistern of Eleoussa, above the church in Vlachopoulatika.
• The cistern of Saint Apostles, to the right of the church bearing the same name
• The Mill of Lesianiti in Tranakatika.
• The Precipice of Moysmoylioy, from Tranakatika.
• The Ostries for the view of Avlaki and the sunset. Take the road right of Saint Paraskevi in Bogdanatika.
• The beaches: Kloni Gouli, Kamini, Kaki Lagkada. Take the road past the New Harbour and turn right at the crossroad for Platano - Loggo


• The house of Ntrichoutsi in Grammatikeika. Follow the road to the Lighthouse, bypass left.
• The Lighthouse, from the road the right bypass.
• The Planous, take the road to the Lighthouse.
• The Hypapante (1601)
• The Monodendri beach, take the road to Lakka, turning right opposite the church of Saint Spyridonas in Argyratika.


The factory of Anemoyiannis next to the Municipal school.
The beaches of Levrehio and Marmaria.


The beaches Vrika and Voutoumi, by speedboat or ketch.
The traditional vineyards.