Activities/Corfu
ABOUT CORFU
Corfu or Kerkyra is a Greek island in the Ionian Sea. It is the second largest of the Ionian Islands,and, including its small satellite islands, forms the northwestern most part of Greece. The city of Corfu stands on the broad part of a peninsula, whose termination in the Venetian citadel (Greek: Παλαιό Φρούριο) is cut off from it by an artificial fosse formed in a natural gully, with a seawater moat at the bottom, that now serves as a marina and is called the Contrafossa. The old town, having grown within fortifications, where every metre of ground was precious, is a labyrinth of narrow streets paved with cobblestones, sometimes tortuous but colourful and clean. These streets are known as kantounia (pronounced: kantoúnia), 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, together with an esplanade between the city and the citadel known as Spianada with the Liston arcade to its west side, where restaurants and bistros abound.
SIGHTSEEING
Visitors of Corfu have many interesting choices for sightseeing. Five of the most known spots of the island are:
The Old Town
The Old Town of Corfu city is an UNESCO World Heritage Site. The old city's architectural character is strongly influenced by the Venetian style, coming as it did under Venetian rule for a long period; its small and ancient side streets, and the old buildings' trademark arches are particularly reminiscent of Venice. Of the thirty-seven Greek churches, the most important are the city's cathedral, the church dedicated to Our Lady of the Cave, 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, reputedly the oldest in the island, and named after the two saints probably the first to preach Christianity to the Corfiots.
Italianate architecture
Corfu city is famous for its Italianate architecture, most notably the Liston, an arched colonnade lined with cafes on the edge of the Spianada (Esplanade), the vast main plaza and park which incorporates a cricket field and several pavilions. Also notable are the Venetian-Roman style City Hall, the Old and New castles, the recently restored Palace of Sts. Michael and George, formerly the residence of the British governor and the seat of the Ionian Senate, and the summer Palace of Mon Repos, formerly the property of the Greek royal family and birthplace of the Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.
ACTIVITIES
- Swimming in the beautiful beaches of Corfu
- Walking around “Kantounia”, the wonderful narrow streets of the city of Corfu
- Horse Riding
- Aqualand
- Water Sports (water-skiing, Canoeing, Sailing)
- The Corfu Tennis Club is just 200m away, 20min walk to the Corfu Golf Club
The Achilleion
In 1889, Empress Elizabeth of Austria built a summer palace in the region of Gastouri to the south of the city, naming it Achilleion (pronounced: Achílleion) after the Homeric hero Achilles. The structure is filled with paintings and statues of Achilles, both in the main hall and in the gardens, depicting scenes of the Trojan War. The palace, with the neoclassical Greek statues that surround it, is a monument to platonic romanticism as well as escapism. The centrepiece of the gardens is a marble statue on a high pedestal, of the mortally wounded Achilles without hubris and wearing only a simple cloth and an ancient Greek hoplite helmet. This statue was carved by German sculptor Ernst Gustav Herter.
Mon Repos
Mon Repos is a villa on the south of Corfu City in the forest of Palaiopolis. It was built as a summer residence for the British Lord High Commissioner of the United States of the Ionian Islands, Frederick Adam, and his second wife Diamantina 'Nina' Palatino, in 1828–1831, although they had to vacate the villa soon afterwards in 1832 when Adam was sent to serve in India. In 1833, it housed a school of fine arts, while in 1834, the park was opened to the public. The villa and its gardens are the property of the Corfu municipality, and are now being used as an archaeological museum.
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 2 m (6 ft 6.74 in). Pontikonisi is home of the monastery of Pantokrator. The white stone staircase of the monastery, viewed from afar, gives the impression of a (mouse) tail, which lent the island its name.