March 25 - 31, 2018: Issue 353


                                                                                        The coastline near the Monastery Panaya Theotokes.

By George Repin 

Corfu (Kerkyra in Greek) is the second largest of the Ionian Islands and, with its small satellite islands, forms the northwesternmost part of Greece. The principal city of the island is also called Corfu.

 Map of Corfu and its satellite islands.

The history of the island abounds in battles and conquests closely associated with the history of Greece and even Greek mythology.

Medieval castles in strategic locations across the island are a legacy of struggles in the Middle Ages against invaders.

From 1386 Corfu was controlled by the Republic of Venice which, in 1401, acquired formal sovereignty which it retained until occupation by the French in 1797.

From medieval times and into the 17th century the island was recognised as a bulwark of the European States against the Ottoman Empire and became one of the most fortified places in Europe.  Remaining in Venetian hands, from 1401 to 1797 it was several times attacked by naval and land forces of the Ottomans and subjected to sieges in 1537, 1571, 1573 and 1716. Each time the strength of the city defences comprising powerful Venetian fortifications and old Byzantine castles (in Angelokastro,  Kassiopi,  Gardiki and elsewhere) ensured that the invaders were driven off. 

Venetian castle engineering proved itself against considerable odds. Corfu was one of the few parts of Greece never conquered by the Ottomans.

Corfu fell to Napoleon in 1797. In 1815, after Napoleon’s downfall, the islands became a British Protectorate.  British rule was oppressive but did much for the infrastructure.  Bridges, schools and hospitals were built and agriculture and industry were developed.

The British also introduced the game of cricket.

Britain relinquished its control, and unification with Greece was concluded, in 1864 under the Treaty of London.

The city of Corfu stands on the broad part of a peninsula ending at the Venetian Citadel (Palaio Frourio, Old Fortress) with the Doric style St. George’s Church at its foot.

Palaio Frourio - the "Old Fort" with the Doric style St. George's Church, built by the British, on the right.

On the northeastern part of the city a huge complex of fortifications (Neo Frourio, New Fortress) guards the Old Town on the other side. 

Neo Frourio - the "New Fort" seen from the water.

The Old Town, having grown within the fortifications, is a labyrinth of narrow streets paved with cobblestones, sometimes tortuous but colourful and clean. In 2007 the city’s old quarter was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List. 

The Old Town  seen from the water.

A typical narrow street in the Old Town.

CRICKET was brought to Corfu by the British during their 49 years control of the island and has remained firmly entrenched ever since. The few teams around the island battle it out on sunny Sundays.  While the pitch in the local park may have seen better days and the distance from the crease to the local cafes may seem short the game is played with unusual verve and enthusiasm.  Nowhere else in Greece is cricket played.

Cricket being played on the only cricket ground in Greece - on the Spianade (esplanade). 

Corfu is a very popular tourist destination.  There are many places of interest.  

A sculptured keystone head on the town hall.

A sculptured keystone head on the town hall.    

The coastline near the Monastery Panaya Theotokes.

Guests at a multiple baptism in the monastery church.

The Achilleion is worth a visit.  A summer palace built in 1889 by Empress Elizabeth of Austria it is filled with paintings and statues of Achilles, both inside and in the gardens.  The centrepiece of the gardens, which look over green hills and valleys and the Ionian Sea, is a marble statue on a high pedestal of the mortally wounded Achilles.  He is depicted devoid of rank or status and is clad in a simple cloth and an ancient Greek hoplite helmet – his face full of pain, gazing skyward.  

Back of the statue of the dying Achilles in the gardens of The Achilleion.

Head and shoulders of the statue of Achilles.

Photographs by George Repin in 2006

Previous Reflections by George Repin 

The Nineteen Thirties  Remembering Rowe Street  The Sydney Push  Saturday Night at the Movies  Shooting Through Like A Bondi Tram  A Stop On The Road To Canberra  City Department Stores - Gone and Mostly Forgotten  An Australian Icon - thanks to Billy Hughes  Crossing The Pacific in the 1930s  Hill End  The Paragon at Katoomba  Seafood In Sydney  How Far From Sydney?  Cockatoo Island Over The Years  The Seagull at the Melbourne Festival in 1991  Busby's Bore  The Trocadero In Sydney  Cahill's restaurants  Medical Pioneers in Australian Wine Making  Pedal Power and the Royal Flying Doctor Service Pambula and the Charles Darwin Connection  Gloucester and the Barrington Tops  A Millenium Apart  Have You Stopped to Look?  Gulgong  Il Porcellino  Olympia  Durham Hall  Sargent's Tea Rooms Pie Shops and Street Photographers The Ballet Russes and Their Friends in Australia  Hotels at Bondi  Alma Ata Conference - 1978 Keukenhof - 1954 The Lands Department Building and Yellowblock Sandstone  The Goroka Show - 1958  A Gem On The Quay  Staffa  The Matson Line and Keepsake Menus Kokeshi Dolls  The Coal Mine At Balmain  The Hyde Park Barracks  The Changing Faces Of Sydney From Pounds and Pence to Dollars and Cents Nell Tritton and Alexander Kerensky  Making A Difference In Ethiopia William Balmain  J C Bendrodt and Princes Restaurant Azzalin Orlando Romano and Romano's Restaurant  Waldheim  Alcohol in Restaurants Before 1955  King Island Kelp  The Mercury Theatre   Around Angkor - 1963   Angkor Wat 1963  Costumes From the Ballets Russe Clifton at Kirribilli  Chairman Mao's Personal Physician  The Toby Tavern The MoKa at Kings Cross  The Oceaographic  Museum  in Monaco  The Island of Elba  Russian Fairy Tale Plates  Meteora  Souda Bay War Cemetery Barrow, Alaska Cloisonné  Tripitaka Koreana Minshuku The Third Man Photographs and Memories  Not A Chagall!  Did You Listen? Did You Ask?  Napier (Ahuriri, Maori) New Zealand  Borobudur  Ggantija Temples Plumes and Pearlshells  Murano  University of Padua  Ancient Puebloe Peoples - The Anasazi   Pula  The Gondolas of Venice Cinque Terre  Visiting the Iban David The Living Desert Bryce Canyon National Park   Aphrodisias   The Divine Comedy Caodaism  Sapa and local Hill People  A Few Children Cappadocia  Symi Jean-Marie Tjibaou Cultural Centre   Aboriginal Rock Art on Bigge Island    ANZAC Cove (Ari Burnu) 25 April, 1997  Hotere Garden Oputae  Children of the Trobriand Islands  Page Park Market - Rabaul  Rabual   Kotor, Montenegro   Galleries of Photographs I   Lascaux  Galleries of Photographs II   The Cathedral of St. James – Šibenik, Croatia  Ivan Meštrović  - Sculptor   Delphi   Gallery of Photographs III  The Handicrafts of Chiang Mai Raft Point  San Simeon - "Hearst Castle"  Floriade - The Netherlands - 1982  Russian New Year  Mycenae  "Flightseeing" Out Of Anchorage Alaska  The White Pass and Yukon Route  Totem Poles  Tivkin Cemetery  Krka National Park - Croatia   Tavistock Square and the BMA  Orthodox Easter  Wieliczka Salt Mine  A Walk on Santorini  Indonesian Snapshots Ephesus - The Library of Celsus  Ephesus - Some Places Of Interest  Waimea Canyon and the Kalalau Valley United Nations Headquarters 1958  A Miscellany of Flower Images Gardens Bath St. David's In Wales   Zion National Park Nicholas Himona - Artist  Kraków  Lilianfels  Collonges-La-Rouge  Gingerbread Houses   Cape Sounion   Delos  Wroclaw  Colonial Williamsburg  Gruyères   Strasbourg  Coventry Cathedral  The Roman Theatre at Aspendos  Turkish Carpets The Duomo of Orvieto  Rovinj  The City Walls of Dubrovnik Monaco - Snapshots   Bonifacio, Corsica  Autumn in New England USA  The Great Ocean Road  Pompeii Didyma  Lawrence Hargrave 1850-1915  The Corinth Canal  Malta  Snapshots of Amsterdam Café Central - Vienna  The Forbidden City - Beijing, China  A Ride on the Jungfrau Railway - 1954   Snapshots in the Highlands of Scotland 1954  Must See Sights in Paris - 1954 

Copyright George Repin 2018. All Rights Reserved.