Villages of great interest are hidden above the cosmopolitan resort of Paleokastritsa. These villages have been described as a “traditional settlement”, as they have a similar background. One of the most picturesque and beautiful villages of them all is Doukades.
Probably the most impressive residence of the Corfiot countryside is in Doukades. It is the old Theotoki family mansion, that of Georgios Theotokis, who was the country's prime minister from 1899-1909.
The house is extensive, about 1,000 square metres, comprising eleven bedrooms and a large dining room that previously entertained eminent people of the time. It was looted in 1946 and 1961, but the library, which is of paramount importance, has been saved and has recently been renovated, being restored to its former glory. In the village there are many more remarkable mansions that one can discover while wandering along its alleys.
Two exceptional buildings are firstly, the church of Panagia Mesochoritissa, which was named because it is located precisely in the centre of the village and, secondly, the extremely well maintained, primary school with its Venetian architecture that is at the entrance to the village.
In the beautiful stone square of the village, you will find tavernas and cafes, where you can enjoy traditional Corfiot cuisine or cool off with a refreshing tsitsimbyra, (Ginger Beer), the local soft drink of the island!
Hiking enthusiasts can enjoy the route along a cobbled path through the forest, which leads to the church of Agios Symeon, at an altitude of 350 meters. At the starting point, the view compensates every visitor. From this point you can see the coves of Paleokastritsa, the bay of Liapades, the area of Livadi of Ropa and even the city of Corfu. Nearby areas that need to be visited are Gardelades and Kritsilla.
The first written testimony about Doukades is found in a document of 1616 and the name of the village probably came from its first inhabitants, who had the surname “Doukas“. Great political and military men originated from Doukades, such as the poet and politician Iakovos Polylas, Ioannis Vaptistis Theotokis, a member of the Friendly Society, etc.
The battle of the Doukades
At the beginning of the 15th century, it is said that at the location of Kratsalo, the local militia, aided by the Venetians, confronted a force of Genoese. Legend has it that, Genoese invaders landed on the northwestern side of the island in order to besiege Angelokastro. They started looting the Paleokastritsa Monastery and continued to the hinterland.
Outside of Doukades, at the Kritsilla site, a force of local popular militiamen had prepared to deal with the attack. The ensuing battle was fierce and the attackers were unable to withstand the resistance of the defenders. Eventually the Genoese retreated, shouting the famous “This is another state!” in broken Greek, (Kratos + allo), and this is how the adjacent mountain range of Pantokrator also derived its name.
The fatalities of the battle were buried in the nearby location of Mnimata, while the event became known, in local tradition, as the battle of Doukades or the battle of Kritsilla. At Kritsilla, there is an inscription, where, according to tradition, the battle of the Doukades took place.
ΓΕΩΦΥΛΑΚΤΟ (2015). “Λάκωνες στην Κέρκυρα”, http://geofylakto.blogspot.com/2015/09/normal-0-false-false-false-el-x-none-x_25.html
ΣΚΑΛΙΤΗΣ, Θεόδωρος (2011). “Η μάχη των Δουκάδων“, Περί τση Κέρκυρας το ανάγνωσμα http://corfiatikoanagnosma.blogspot.com/2011/12/blog-post.html