Corfu (Kerkyra), Greece

Palio Frurio (

Palio Frurio (“The Old Castle”), the old Venetian fortress (1402 – 1797), Corfu, Greece

Corfu, on the Ionian Sea (just south of the Adriatic Sea), is perhaps the quintessential Greek isle — white sand beaches lapped by azure waters, gentle green hillsides draped in subtropical flora, gnarled olive trees hundreds of years old, still bearing their piquant fruit.

Front entrance to Palio Frurio (

Front entrance to Palio Frurio (“The Old Castle”), the old Venetian fortress (1402 – 1797), Corfu, Greece

“The island is bound with the history of Greece from the beginning of Greek mythology. Its Greek name, Kerkyra or Korkyra, is related to two powerful water symbols: Poseidon, god of the sea, and Asopos, an important Greek mainland river. According to myth, Poseidon fell in love with the beautiful nymph Korkyra, daughter of Asopus and river nymph Metope, and abducted her. Poseidon brought Korkyra to the hitherto unnamed island and, in marital bliss, offered her name to the place: Korkyra, which gradually evolved to Kerkyra (Doric). Together, they had a child they called Phaiax, after whom the inhabitants of the island were named: Phaiakes. This term was transliterated via Latin to Phaeacians. Corfu’s nickname is The island of the Phaeacians.”  — Wikipedia [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corfu]

Apartments along the Adriatic Sea coastline, Corfu, Greece

Apartments along the Adriatic Sea coastline, Corfu, Greece

In modern times, Corfu reflects four centuries of Venetian rule in its architecture (along with its classical Greek designs), along with Turkish, British and French influences as well.  Old Town Corfu (Town) was added to the World Heritage List in 2007.

Outdoor cafe and Neo Frourio (the New Fortress-Citadel) in the background, Corfu, Greece

Outdoor cafe and Neo Frourio (the New Fortress-Citadel) in the background, Corfu, Greece

Neo Frourio (the New Fortress-Citadel) was constructed under the Venetians (1576 – 1645) when the old fortress could no longer provide safety.  Designed to protect the harbor on the lover level, it did so against the Turkish invasion in 1716.  The New Fortress remains connected to the Old Fortress at the harbor entrance by tunnels.

Orthodox church interior, Corfu, Greece

Orthodox church interior, Corfu, Greece

The Palace of St. Michael & St. George was built in neoclassical style (1814 – 1824) as a residence for the British Lord High Commissioner of the Ionian Islands.  It now houses prominent Asian art collections, bequeathed to the museum by former Greek diplomats and ambassadors.

Palace of St. Michael & St. George and Museum of Asian Art, Corfu, Greece

Palace of St. Michael & St. George and Museum of Asian Art, Corfu, Greece

Traditional sweet pastry with honey and sesame seeds, Corfu, Greece

Traditional sweet pastry with honey and sesame seeds, Corfu, Greece

2 thoughts on “Corfu (Kerkyra), Greece

    • From my personal notes on Monday, June 29, 2015 [the first day of the bank closures in Greece, ahead of the announced July 5th referendum election]:
      “We arrived in Corfu Town (the main city on the pretty large island of Corfu) this morning with three large ships in the harbor, so the streets were overrun with tourists and things look pretty normal here for a major tourist city. As the day progressed and we toured, shopped, ate lunch, and walked and shopped some more, things looked really normal. Note that we are in the far northwest corner of the Greek Islands, at the south end of the Adriatic Sea, a long way from Athens.

      At several shops I enquired about the bank holiday and mostly heard that the bank closure wasn’t a big deal and that they were closed to protect the banks. Interestingly, closest to the tourist office, an ATM had about 4 or 5 people lined up (not a kilometer or two-long line that we heard was the case in Athens). We got Euros from an ATM several blocks away and there was no line at all; note the 60 Euro limit on Greek withdrawals did not apply as we had a debit card from a non-Greek bank. Going around town, we passed many more ATMs that were open and had no lines. Using credit cards was also no problem in town.

      The seemingly most economics knowledgeable local that we talked to (the owner of a leather, handbag and luggage store) reeled off quite a few statistics about the relative size of Greece’s debt to the EU Bank and IMF relative to Italy, Spain, France, etc. He shared the Greek concern that the country is being treated unfairly by the EU (et al). Asked about Sunday’s referendum, he’s a definitive “no” vote, as are most of his friends and associates. He said, “Wait and see; at least 75% of the vote will be ‘no’”. This general sentiment (get the Europeans off our back and let’s go off on our own with the new Drachma) was echoed in other conversations. Our bus driver into town was the exception – he likes the Euro (as we guess many in the tourist business would, as it has made life easy for foreign visitors not to have to convert currencies when arriving in Greece from the EU) and doesn’t want to return to the Drachma.”

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