The Old Town of Corfu, Ionian Islands - The Best from Greece

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Posted on: 16/Feb/2010 - The amazing Corfu Town is located in a protected area between two fortresses.

Corfu, Kerkyra is an Island in the Ionian Sea. It is the second largest of the Ionian Islands after Kefalonia. Corfu is one of the most popular destinations in Greece and is considered by many as one of the most beautiful Greek islands with remarkable architecture, wonderful beaches, crystal clear waters, lots of sailing possibilities including sailing to Paxos and Antipaxos and a great variety of superb accommodation in the numerous villages by the sea and in other locations on the island.

The capital of Corfu is Corfu City. In 2007, the city's Old Town was designated for the UNESCO World Heritage List.

The influence of the Venetians who for centuries controlled the island is present in architecture and monuments. Corfu Town has seen other influences as well including the British, the Normans, the French, the Romans whose ancient buildings are still in evidence in several archaeology sites and the excellent archaeological museum.

The population of the town of Corfu is about 30,000. Corfu City is nowadays a cosmpopolitan Town. The Ionian University in Corfu, is one of the most famous in Greece especially known for The Department of Foreign Languages, Translation and Interpreting aiming at educating and training Greek-speaking translators and interpreters. The Theater of San Giacomo constructed entirely of stone in the style of the Italian Renaisance had it's foundations first laid in1663 and is just one example of then many historical buildings that make walking the streets of this city a pleasure.

The town really resembles an Italian city though their are other influences such as the Liston, the building which borders the main esplanade or Spianada, built by the French, which houses some of the finest cafes and restaurants in Corfu. On the esplanade itself the men compete in weekend cricket matches, the only place in Greece where the sport is played. If you can't have baseball then watching a visiting British team in a cricket match, drinking the local ginger beer or a gin and tonic is the next best thing. The French were the ones who turned the Spianada into a public square. Before the nineteenth century it was a large empty lot that was used for defensive purposes. The French planted trees and created one of the most attractive town squares in all of Greece.

There are several interesting museums in town and two major fortresses as well as numerous small squares and fountains. The town itself was built so that it could be defended. The buildings in the old city remain intact and wandering through the narrow streets is like a lesson in history and architecture. Even though some buildings were destroyed in the German bombings of the second world war, the town of Corfu contains a large number of buildings which have survived the centuries.

The old fortess is separated from the rest of the town by a moat and this area is one of the most quiet and beautiful spots in the city. There are fishing boats, tree-shaded grass and a 60 foot metal bridge which now stands where the old draw-bridge used to be. The Turks beseiged the island in 1537 and 1571 and it is during this period that most of the fortifications were built by the Venetians.
The fortess has been inhabited continuously for 1500 years and historically it is probably the most important monument on the island. But it is also one of the most beautiful places on the island with great views of the city and during the summer this is where the sound and light is performed. The New fortress was built between 1576 and 1588 in an effort to protect more of the houses of the people of Corfu. The Venetian fortifications are considered a masterpiece of military architecture. Of the four gates to the fortress only two survive, the Porto San Nicolo at the north end of the esplanade and the Porta Spillia, east of the fortress. Later the British and the French added fortifications of their own.

Corfu town is the transportation hub for the island and you can get anywhere by bus, taxi or by renting a car. There are many different catagories of hotels for those who want to stay in town to enjoy the pleasures of city-life and assortment of excellent restaurants and nightlife and venture to the beaches by day and amazing sailing ventures for those wishing to explore the charming Ionian Sea area.

The Best from Greece Travel Team.

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