The ancient city of Corfu was built during the 8th century BC and it stood south of where today's city is placed, between Garitsa bay and the lake Chaliopoulou. The center of the ancient city stood where Palaiopoli is today, up to the cannon. The market must have been opposite the palace of Mon Repo and it is believed that in the place of Analipsis, stood the Acropolis. The most important monuments are the following:
monument of Menekratis
It is a round, stone building with a conic roof
and an inscripted slap which is read from the right
to the left side and states that Meneokratis was the
Consul of Corfu in Oianthia, a city near Galaxidi
The tower of Nerantziha
It is a tower that stands behind the cemetery
and it is part of the ancient wall of 20ft height
(4th century BC). It was preserved because the Byzantine
church of Panagia was placed there.
The temple of Artemis
Only a few ruins of the temple (6th century BC) have been
preserved near the monastery of Agion Theodoron. Near the sanctuary
many other architectural parts have been found. It can therefore
be concluded that there were more buildings around. In the estate
of Mon Repo, more ancient temples were found: one in doric order,
in Kardaki, possibly dedicated to Apollo and another, the biggest
one, possibly dedicated to Hera, by which some pieces from the
7th century BC were found.
Palace of Saint Michael and George.
As it has been mentioned
earlier, the English domination also had positive
effects, like the development of the economy, the
education and the arts. Around this time, an impressive
building of Georgian style was built. This was the
residence of the High Commissioner.
The palace on the outside is decorated with themes
of the Ionian Islands which are carved in relief,
while on the inside there is a central hall with two
rows of steles of Ionian order and painted themes
of Odyssey. A magnificent staircase leads to the first
floor, which is decorated with steles of Corinthian
order. The first floor also has three main rooms:
the ballroom, the throne-room and the symposium-room.
The palace was used, in the past, by the Ionian Senate and by
Saint Michael and George's Order. For a half a century, it was
the summer residence of the Greek Royal family. Since it has
been restored, it functions as a museum and it houses the Revenue
Department of Classical Antiquities. It has also accommodated
the leaders of the European Community for the summit meeting
The Ancient fortress.
During its turbulent history Corfu needed to entrench it
self against its conquerors. In the beginning of the 8th century
BC the Byzantines built the first walls and the first moat,
the "Contra Fosa", which separates the fortress from the city.
In the 16th century, the Venetians, fearing a Turkish attack,
extended the bulwark and the moat, creating a second and a third
line of defense. The bare rocks around the hills made the fortress
impenetrable, which is a masterpiece of architectural art. While
on the other hand, it offers the visitor an incredible view
to the city, the sea ford up across the land and the hills of
Epirus. Worth visiting inside the fortress is the chapel of
Saint George, which was built by the British in 1840.
The new fortress.
Over the old harbor stands the new fortress, which was built
in 1570 by the Venetians. It is characteristic that for its
construction they needed to tear down 2.000 houses and churches
as well as Porta Reale, one of the most magnificent gates of
the city. A great part of it was destroyed after an order given
by the Great Forces during World War II. Today it is used by
The Saint Spiridon
It is the most famous religious monument of the city with
obvious influences by the Italian art, which is met in all the
Ionian islands. It is dedicated to Saint Spiridon, who is the
Saint of Corfu, and according to the legends he saved the inhabitants
of Corfu, in the past, from epidemics and he appeared twice
as a monk, helping them against Turks in 1673 and in 1716. The
temple's roof is impressive. It is separated in 17 parts and
it portrays scenes taken by Saint Spiridon's life and the Evangelists.
His relics is kept in a silver casket of the 19th century.
The building that was being built for 30 years, from 1663
it had been the "loggia nobili". Later it became a theatre,
which got the name San Giacomo. In this theatre Operas had been
played and the director manager had been Mantzaros. The building
was turned into a townhall in the begining of the 20th century
and it is the only building with ashlar-work.
Less than 10 miles from the city you come across
the magnificent palace of the Queen of Austria Elizabeth,
Achillion. The loved Queen - whose life became a movie-
gave preference to Corfu over all the other islands
of the Ionian Sea, during her cruise in the Mediterranean
islands, when she wanted to overcome her personal
After loosing her family
members, she decided to buy the place, where today the palace
is built, and reside in Greece, which she so loved so much because
of its natural beauties, its greek history and mythology. Her
love for the mythology is obvious by the name she chose to give
to the impressiveneo-classical building, which was build between
1890 and 1891 by the Italian architect Rafailo Karito. She,
herself cared for the decoration in and outside of the building,
in the garden. She decorated the gardens with beautiful flowers
and statues of her choice. Unfortunately, she did not have the
time to enjoy this dreamy mansion because she was killed by
an an Italian anarchist who wanted to to revenge her for the
suppression of North Italy.
The entrance of the building is decorated with many statues
and balconies. In the balcony of the first floor there are two
vis-ΰ-vis centaurs whereas in the balcony of the second floor
there are four brass statues, which represent the mouses holding
fire in their hands and serve as lights. In the same floor there
is another brass statue from Hermes. Inside the building you
come across on the right, a room functioning as a chapel and
on left there is a dinning room and smokers room. In the center
there is the reception room with many paintings of well-known
painters like the "four seasons" by the Italian painter Galopi
and the "triumph of Achilles"by the Austrian Frank Matt.
In the first floor there are the rooms of Elisabeth and in the
second floor there are the rooms of Frank Jozef and of the archduchess
Maria Valeria. In the balcony of this floor there is a peristyle
of Ionian order which is decorated by the heads of philosophers
and the statues of the nine mouses. Wonderful statues decorate
the gardens of the palace, like the 'dying Achilles', the' Satyre
with Dionysus on his shoulder', the' Lord Byron', an impressive
statue of Achilles of 11,5m height and many more. Until a few
years ago, the palace was used as a casino. Now the palace is
used as a museum.