words Alexa Wang
Corfu is a breath-taking island in which to take a holiday, off the western coast of the Greek mainland. It is a popular resort destination, boasting white sands, luxurious accommodation and a rich nightlife. But there’s much more to Corfu than meets the eye. Indeed, there areas of great historical import, that are well-worth the pilgrimage. Here are four such locations, guaranteed to scratch the culture-itch for any visitor.
Old Town of Corfu
The Old Town of Corfu is the central district of the city of Corfu, and a hodge-podge of historical influences from the 8th century BC through the Byzantine era to the present day. It is nothing short of a wonder to experience on-foot, as Venetian-era blocks rub up against early Greek structures and Byzantine squares.
The Old Town is history incarnate, and understandably a UNESCO World Heritage site as a result. Navigating the Old Town can be difficult in the summer months, owing to the volume of tourists visiting the city for its climate and culture; it is also often the first stop on any Corfu trip, being the location of Corfu International Airport. As such, planning ahead for your trip is vital – even if you’re just passing through this iconic citadel.
Corfu Old Fortress
The Old Town of Corfu gives way to a peninsula on the eastern side, which itself plays host to an even more remarkable piece of history: the Corfu Old Fortress. The fortress is a Venetian installation, built upon existing Byzantine fortifications and improved with the construction of the contra fossa moat. The twin peaks of the fortress are what gave Corfu its present name!
The Achilleion Palace is a short trip southward from the city of Corfu, in the Achilleio municipality. The Palace was built in the late 1800s, designed by renowned architect Raffaele Caritto. It is passed through many hands since its initial construction for Elisabeth of Austria, including the last German Emperor Kaiser Wilhelm II; today, the palace is thankfully in more benevolent hands, and its statues, paintings and views are well-maintained for visitation.
The Museum of Asian Art of Corfu
The Museum of Asian Art of Corfu is housed in the Palace of St Michael and St George, an early-1800s construction at the behest of Sir Thomas Maitland. The Museum was founded shortly thereafter, in the 1920s – and today is an important cultural centre in Corfu. It contains well over fifteen thousand objects of Asian origin, including Japanese woodcuttings and sculptures from India, and documents the interrelationship of Asian and Greek culture over the years. A profoundly thought-provoking visit.