Old Corfu Town - 'Enchanting & Captivating'

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UNESCO World Heritage listed Old Corfu Town is an interesting mixture of architecture and history. Governed by the Venetians, French, British and Greeks, parts of it date back as far as the 8th Century BC (Byzantine Period). It is dotted with beautiful, stately Neo Classical buildings and its cobbled streets are flanked with designer boutiques, cafes, tavernas, curio shops, jewelry stores and generally everything to keep the shopaholic happy. It is exciting by day and romantic by night.

                                                                                                                             

Photo courtesy of Pixabay


While in Old Corfu Town don't miss the Church of St Spiridon, Palace of St Michael and St George (housing the Museum of Asian Art), Casa Parlante and the esplanade of Liston circa 1807 where the wealthy used to amble in the evenings.

 

The Liston was designed by a French architect, Methieu de Lesseps, in the Napoleonic period and inspired by the Parisian ‘Rue de Rivoli’. The Liston with its character arcaded terraces is home to some of the best coffee shops in Corfu Town; a lovely place to sit and relax while people watching.

 

Photo by Adelia Cook

 

Housed in the beautiful, grandiose, limestone Palace of St Michael and St George is the Museum of Asian Art. The collection of over 10500 items of Chinese, Japanese, Indian, South East and Central Asian origin is both awe inspiring and vast, covering four floors of the Palace. Items include screens, armour, pottery, ceramics, clothing, embroideries, kilims/rugs, jewelry, coins and sculptures, the majority of which are in immaculate condition. This is quite amazing as some items date back from as early as 300 BC. The religious exhibits of stone, bronze, brass and wood figurines of Tibetan, Cambodian and Nepalese decent which illustrate the spread of Buddhist are most interesting.


Photo by Adelia Cook


The Palace is a fabulous piece of architecture and the pressed ceilings and intricate parquetry floors are in pristine condition. Exhibitions are also held in the Palace on the ground floor level. Most definitely worth a visit even if only to admire the lovely Corfiot scenery from the Palace windows.

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Visit Casa Parlante and take a walk back in time. This ‘living history museum’, a 19th Century Count’s house, is built in neo-classical style and utilizes robotic technology to illustrate life in Corfu during this period. The antique furniture is extremely beautiful as are the fittings and décor. Casa Parlante really gives one insight into the everyday life of Corfiot nobles during this bygone era.

 

The Church of St. Spyridon was built in 1590. Its bell tower is the apex in Corfu Town and dominates the skyline from all vantage points. It is said that Saint Spyridon (born in 270 AD) saved Corfu four times from danger; in 1533 from famine, in 1629 from the plague, in 1716 from the Ottoman invasion and in 1673 again from the plague. He is known as the “Keeper of the City” and his remains are house within a sarcophagus in this beautifully gilded church. The ceiling of this votive place of worship was originally painted by Panagiotis Doxaras in 1727 and depicts scenes from the life of the saint. Fifty three gold and silver incense burners hang from the ceiling and the light filtering through the magnificent stained glass windows is truly moving.

*Please note that the Church of Agios Spyridon is the holiest place on the island. Visitors should dress appropriately and show respect for worshippers.

    

Photo by Adelia Cook                                                      

 

Also noteworthy is that on four occasions each year the revered saint’s remains are taken along the Liston and through the cobbled streets of old Corfu Town. This occurs at Easter on Palm Sunday and Holy Saturday, on 11th August, St. Spiridon’s Name Day and on the 1st Sunday in November, on each occasion being accompanied by the procession of over 100 Marching Bands.

 

 

Photo courtesy of Pixabay

 

Old Corfu Town has a wonderful visual surprise on every cobbled street and around every quirky corner. You never know what hidden treasures you are going to stumble upon. Regardless of your quest it is sure to please.

 

Text by Adelia Cook for MyKerkyra.com 

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