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Private Tours & Transfers in Corfu Island

Corfu Town

Corfu, the capital of the Ionian Islands, is full of history. In the Ancient times, it was inhabited by the Phaeacians. The legend tells that Nausicaa, daughter of the king Alkinoos, found Ulysses, wrecked on the beach, chased by Poseidon.

During its history, the island was invaded many times. The most important domination was the Venetian domination. It lasted 400 years and has given the city its magnificent architecture. The city was also occupied by the French republicans in the 18th century and after by the British which restored the Ionian Islands to the Greek kingdom in 1864.

There are several historical buildings in the old town as well as famous squares.

The Spiniada (Esplanade)

Spianada Square Corfu Town

Between the city and the Old Fortress, there is a huge open area which, during Venetian rule, was not a square but was used as an open space to fire on besiegers, and to survey their movements. The French decided to plant trees all along the area to give it the shape of a park. The buildings are of various styles like Venetian, French, English and Greek.

The Liston

The most well-known place in Corfu is the Liston coffee and restaurant passage, situated on the west side of the Esplanade. The archway is the work of a French architect, Lesseps, who also built the almost identical arcades in Paris, at the Rivoli Street.

Town Hall Square

This beautiful square at Eugenios Voulgaris St was the administrative and social center of the city during the Venetian ruling period. The elegant Venetian building was built in 1663 and its construction lasted 30 years. It first was the Lodge of the Nobles Loggia dei Nobili. In 1720, it was converted into a theater under the name of “The San Giacomo Theater”, and played a great role in the reputation of Corfu for its lyrical art. The building functioned as a theater until 1902. Today, it houses the city hall.

The Palace of Saint Michael and Saint George                         

This palace covers almost the whole northern area of Spianada and was built following the plans of George Whitemore in 1819-1824 at the initiative of the British Commissioner, Thomas Maitland, for use as the residence of the British commissioners and as an administrative center. It also housed the Ionian Congress and was the headquarters of the Order of St Michael and St George. During the period 1864-1913, the building was also used as a summer residence by the Greek Royal family. It is a majestic building, the only one in Georgian style in the Mediterranean region and was constructed entirely from Maltese stone. Today, the Palace houses the Ionian Congress archives, the Archeological service, 60 000 volumes of the National library, the Museum of Asian art and the Byzantine Collection. The Palace is surrounded by beautiful gardens. In 1837, a bronze statue of Frederick Adam (the Commissioner between 1824 and 1832), was erected in front of the entrance.

Saint Spyridon Church      

Saint SpyridonSituated in the center of the old town, this church is dedicated to Saint Spyridon, the protector of Corfu. It is believed that he saved the city from famine, plague and from the Turkish invasion in the 18th century. Four times a year, there is a procession of his holy relics through and around the city walls, on Palm Sunday, on Holy Saturday, also the 11th of august and the first Sunday of November.

The Antivouniotissa Church

This church is one of the oldest in Corfu. It was built in the 15th century. Nowadays, it houses the Byzantine museum where are exposed icons, paintings from the 15th to the 18th centuries as well as works of Cretans artists.

The Old Fortress

The Old Fortress is a masterpiece of fortification architecture. It dominates the east part of the peninsula on which the city is built. The first fortifications were built by the Byzantines in the 8th century and the Venetians extended and strengthened it in the 16th century. The fortress was connected to the city by a bridge which used to be raised every night for security purposes. At the highest point of the fortress is the Stone Tower of the Lighthouse. In the southern part of the fortress is St George’s church, built in the neoclassic style by the British in 1841.

The New Fortress

Construction of the New Fortress by the Venetians began in 1576 after the great siege of 1571 by the Turks, to protect the city, and was completed in 1588. Later on, the British and the French restored the fortification and made some additions. This fortress was connected with the sea and land by four gates. Nowadays, only two gates survive.


The Archeological Museum

The Archeological museum was built between 1962 and 1965. It includes finds from Paleolithic times to the Roman era. The most important piece is the Gorgon pediment from the temple of Artemis (590-580 B.C) from Aghioi Theodoroi, in the Hall of the Gorgon, the most ancient stone pediment of pre-Classical Greek art to have survived. The pediment of Dionysus and a marble torso of Apollo are also exposed there.

Source: Corfu, the island of Nausicaa (Marmatakis Edition) and Corfou, histoire, monuments et musees (Ekdokite Athenon S.A)