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W New York Union Square Hotel
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Tabapitanga Pousada, Porto de Galinhas
Pousada Tabapitanga is right on the Praia do Cupe beach, near Porto de Galinhas in the Pernambuco district of Brazil. A lovely traditional pousada Porto de Galinhas hotel offering comfort and hospitality in natural surroundings. ...
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Amine Hotel is a 3 star hotel in Marrakesh, Morocco. Attractions within easy reach include Marrakesh city centre, Koutoubia mosque, Place Jamaa el Fna, Qubba and Djemaa el Fna Square one of the most exuberant marketplace in the world. ...
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You are in:  Top  →  Europe  →  GREECE  →  Ionian Islands  →  CORFU


This is an island with magical colours, flaming sunsets, romantic moonlight, luxurious vegetation, (lush green even in the height of summer) a riot of radiant flowers and colourful blooms.

View and book hotels in CORFU. Click here.

Centuries old silver olive groves, glowing oranges, scented lemons, rich pergolas, sleepy lagoons, forgotten coves, bubbling springs, exciting caves, virgin beaches, golden sands, and pellucid turquoise emerald seas.

The prefecture of Corfu (Kerkyra) is located in the Ionian Sea, including the island of Corfu, the islands of Paxos, Antipaxos and the smaller islets Discalia, Panayia and Exolithro. All of them are found on the south of Corfu whilst the outlying islands, Othoni, Ericousa and Mathraki are situated to the northwest. The west coast of Othoni is also the westernmost point in the State of Greece. The prefecture covers an area of 634 sq. km. and has a population of 107592 (1981).

Corfu is the seventh largest Greek Island and the second largest after Cephallonia of the Ionian Islands. Located in the north of the Ionian Sea, opposite the coastline of both Greece and Albania and separated by the Corfu Channel. Corfu itself has an area of 592 sq. km. and a coastline of 217 sq. km.

The terrain varies. In the north Mount Pantocrator rises to 906 m in the centre smaller hills rise to 576 m while the south a series of hills, not rising to more than 250 m stretch down the island ending at the headland of Asprokavos (south) and Lefkimis (southeast).In no particular arrangement, large valleys dot the landscape, characteristically like the one around lake Korission situated close to the southwest coast.

The island enjoys a Mediterranean climate with mild winters and refreshing summers. However humidity is high owing to warm southwesterly winds (especially in the winter when winds can reach 8 Beaufort) and northwesterly winds (like the "maistro" of summer reaching force 4 Beaufort) causing heavy rainfall from time to time apart from mid-summer months.

The relaxing but rich countryside, the glorious beaches and many other wonderful sights have made Corfu one of the most beautiful islands in the Mediterranean and one of the most often visited places in Greece.

Olive cultivation stems from the time of the Venetian occupation and olive groves cover one third of the area of the island. The rich flora of the island combined with the cultivation of trees have helped develop the bee keeping industry, producing top quality honey thereby improving the position of the farmer.

Tradition identifies Corfu as the Homeric Island of Scheria or the island where the Phaeacians hospitably received Odysseus on his return from Troy. It is also reputed to be the island where the Argonauts found refuge from the avenging Cholchic fleet after they had acquired the Golden Fleece. Both myths seem to stress the hospitality of the Phaeacians as well as the capability of their skills. The "rudderless boat", which was established as the characteristic symbol of the island, is still used today.

The historical period began for Corfu with the Corinthian of 734 - 229 BC. The town was built in the Kanoni area as far as the Lake of Chalkiopoulou (Paliopoli).
Their great naval and economic strength led them to a break with their ruling city-state, Corinth. Thus we have the first naval battle with the Corinthians in 664 BC which is followed by the second in 432 BC. With the outbreak of the Peloponnesian War in 432 BC, Corfu more strongly allied to Athens and in 374 BC it joined the Athenian Alliance.

Towards the end of the 14th century the Byzantine Empire and the Sovereignty of Epirus found themselves in a sharp decline and even though the rule of the Anjou in Corfu was weak they were in no position to interfere. However another force, the Venetians, with their strong pro-Greek spirit, tried using peaceful, diplomatic means, to annex Corfu.
They offered to buy off the island from the then ruler, Philip, in 1314 and again in 1350. In 1355, an attack was planned on Corfu, a venture that was postponed at the last minute, to be followed by new offers for the island in 1374 and 1382.
Supported by a large number of Corfiot friends, the Venetians plotted conspiracies that were unsuccessful. Following intense negotiations that took place on the island, the pro-Venetian view was upheld with promises from the Venetian admiral Ioannis Miani that Corfu would be treated as an ally and not a vassal.
This is followed by a successful attack on the fortification and the hoisting of the Venetian flag on 20 March 1386 at Corfu's fort.

The second Venetian period lasted for more than four centuries (1386-1797). In these four centuries Corfu assimilated its population and they in return gave the Corfiots many useful elements from their traditions, culture and organisational experience.

All through the period of the Venetian occupation, the system of government was based along the lines of the aristocratic state of Venice itself. The administration of the area was in the hands of the social class of the aristocracy, the "Nobili" (those registered in the Libro D'Oro) in conjunction with the occupying authorities. It should be mentioned that Venice gave away the functioning of the entire state machine to the local element.
Frequently appointed generals who held a wide spectrum of responsibilities undertook the overall governing of the island.

Because of Venetian occupation, Corfu was the only part of Greece never to come under Turkish rule, with its harsh oppression. Absence of a Turkish influence can be seen in every possible way (architecture, town planning, literature, music, and lifestyle).
However there were frequent attempts by the Turks to take the island as in 1431 when Turkish troops under Ali Bey, landed on the island trying to occupy the castle but were repulsed. At this time there were also pirate-like attacks from the Genoese and Franks.

On the 29 August 1537, a 25,000 strong Turkish fleet landed and ravaged the island, taking 20,000 hostages into slavery. After twelve days of destructive, but unsuccessful attacks against the city castle, in which they failed to take the town, they left Corfu, affected by the lack of provisions and a deadly epidemic.
After a brave counterattack by the Venetian and Corfiot troops, the Turks were forced to board their ships and leave Corfu Town.

The departure of the Turks on the 11th August was a rout and was assigned to the miraculous intervention of the saint. Venice honoured Schulenburg, the Corfiots and Corfu for the defence of the island. At the same time, it legislated the establishment of the litany of St Spiridon on the 11th August as a commemoration of the event.

According to tradition, a Greek, recorded as having been both priest and wealthy citizen, George Kalocheiritis brought the relics of St Spiridon and St Theodora to Corfu Island from Constantinople.
Up to 1577 the relics of St Spiridon (Protector of the island) were placed in the privately owned church of the Boulgari (the present position of the Palace cinema).
Following the fortification of Corfu Town, the church was demolished. The relics were transported to a newer church, which was built inside the fortifications (its present position) and became the property of the Orthodox Church. Here he remains until today, universally loved and respected throughout the Ionian.

During the First World War, despite strong protest by the Greek government, the Allied Forces (English, French and Italian) settled in Corfu in 1915 and temporarily overthrew Greek sovereignty. At the same time, following Serbia's defeat towards the end of 1916, the Serbian army and parliament were transferred to Corfu. Both World Wars had serious consequences for Corfu, the worst damage being caused by Italian bombing and burning in 1940 during the Second World War. Whole blocks of historical and architectural monuments and intellectual foundations of inestimable value were reduced to piles of ruins, including about twenty eight percent of the historical and picturesque old town.
However the Cofiots managed to overcome the difficult times bring the island back to prosperity with the development of Corfu as the important tourist destination it is today.

The town of Corfu is one of the most beautiful towns in Greece. The 17th and 18th C. apartment buildings, the paved "kantounia" (narrow roads), the monuments and the historical buildings, the belfries that reach up to the sky, the two Fortresses and Spianada all blend together to compose a charming picture.
The old town, restricted between two Venetian castles and the walls has a quaint character and atmosphere that we rarely see in Greek towns.
Spianada is the heart of the town. The square extends from the first houses to the Old Fortress and reflects the history of Corfu. Spianada or Esplanade was formed during the Venetian period as one more fortification work aimed at giving the defenders of the Fortress an open field of action in order to defend the town. During the French occupation period Spianada was transformed into the park we see today.

Strolling through the square we can see at three facets of the island's historical periods: The Palace of Agion Michael and Georgiou (St Michael and St. George), a pure British Neo-classical building, the Old Fortress dating back to Venetian period and Liston's Volta - the small Paris of Corfu.

Spianada is divided into two by Dousmani Street - Pano and Kato Plateias (Upper and Lower Squares). A little train travels all along its length during the summer months, a perfect way in which to get that first look at the town. We also have here the traditional carriages ready to show visitors.
All around the square stand Venetian, French, British and Greek buildings -all blending together harmoniously- impressive and grand under the Corfiot light. On the south side of Spianada is a building of which only its facade remains. This was the old Grimani Barracks, which housed the Ionian Academy in 1840. Directly opposite the Statue of Ioannis Kapodistrias controls the traffic in his favourite town.

Busts of various personalities of Corfu stand among the tall trees in the Pano Plateia (Upper Square), such as Dionysios Solomos, Nikolao Mantzaro and Nikoforo Theotoki. The commemorating the Union of the Eptanisian Islands (Ionian Islands) with the rest of Greece is also situated here. On its sides are carved the ancient emblems of the islands, including the Ā«apidalos nafsĀ» - emblem of the naval skills of the Corfiotes. In the Kato Plateia (Lower Square) we have Greece's only cricket pitch, together with the Corfiot custom of drinking ginger beer, which dates back to the British protection period.

The Old Fortress or Palaio Frourio, built on the twin peaks of the small peninsula, dominates the opposite side of Spianada. A 60 m steel bridge -which replaced the old movable bridge- joins the Fortress to the town, and under it flows the Contra Fossa, an artificial canal with boats and caiques anchored in it, giving off multi- coloured streaks on its serene blue waters.

The port of Corfu initially developed around the Fortress and continued to be "inside the walls" until the Frankish raids in the 12th and 13th Centuries. When the Venetians permanently occupied Corfu in the 14th C., the town began to expand outside the walls, establishing the suburb of outside the Fortress.

Therefore those that lived inside the Fortress were called "Kastrinoi" (Castellians) and those outside "Exokastrinoi". The history of the Old Fortress began with the Byzantines. They initially fortified one of the two peaks of the acropolis, which was later called Castel Veccio or Castel da Mar (Castle of the Sea). The Venetians later strengthened the Fortress' defence with strong bulwarks, intricate galleries and tunnels. They also fortified the second peak of the hill, known as Castel Nuovo or Castel da Terra (Castle of the Land). The Saborniano and Martinegro ramparts overlooked the Contra Fossa.

Visiting the Old Fortress will offer us many sights that are worth seeing, mainly the unforgettable panoramic view and one of the most beautiful views of the town.

In the Corfiot Sea the small Island of Vido stands out, fortified by the French. When the British occupied the town later, they destroyed the fortifications and its ramparts. The island today is an oasis for environmental equilibrium, during a period, which is difficult to find.

The Royal Palace of St. Michael and George is another historical monument on Corfu, a jewel on the road to Mouragia. The Palace was built between 1819-1824 in a Georgian style that is unique in the Mediterranean. It was designed by the engineer Sir G. Whitmore and built of Malta stone. It was used as a residence for the first British Lord High Commissioner, Sir T. Maitland, then as the seat of the Senate and later as Treasury of the Order of St. Michael and St. George, from which it got its name.

Opposite the Prefecture is a road that descends to picturesque Phaliraki. From the area of Mouragia through the suburb of Spilia you may reach the harbour. Throughout Arseniou Street the kantounia lead to Kampielo, the oldest suburb in Corfu. Narrow, intricate back streets, which intertwine with each other, end up at step arches, until unexpectedly a small square appears. The oldest building of the town, dating back to 1497, is at 18 Filellinon Str. This house has a "portoni" with a stone "portosia" with carved vines. The balcony is also worth noting, since it is said that it is the same as that of Juliet's in Verona.
Another interesting sight is the Gothic styled built-in double window on the first floor of a house at Number 3 Theodoras Street, near the Mitropolis (Cathedral).

Returning to Arseniou we come across the Solomos Museum and the Byzantine Museum of Antivouniotissa, while a little further down we come to the steps of the Mitropolis (Cathedral). The suburb of Spilia lies by the old harbour, taking its name from the barracks that today houses the Agricultural Bank. The Gate of Spilia is found here, one of the two gates of the old wall existing until today.
A little road behind the gate leads upwards to one of the entrances to the New Fortress and the Church of Panagia (Blessed Virgin) of Tenedou. The arcade leading to the central part of the old town begins from here.

Worth visiting is also the Ionian Parliament, built in 1852. This historical building is closely connected with the Union of the Eptanisian Islands with the remainder of Greece. It was utilised as the Chamber for the Deputies for the 11th, 12th and the final 13th Parliament of the Eptanisian State, which voted for Union with Greece on September 23rd 1863. After Union the Greek State -in exchange for the Church of Ag. Georgio in the Old Fortress gave the Parliament building to be used as a Protestant Church.
The Ionian Parliament has recently been restored and its rooms are now used for lectures. At the end of Ionios Voulis Street (Ionian Parliament Street) lies Dimarchio Square (Town Hall Square) with the impressive Dimarchio (Town Hall), the Catholic Cathedral (Mitropoli) and the building housing the Bank of Greece, all with a history going back many centuries.

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