In one of the most picturesque districts of Corfu, the uphill cobblestoned steps and the irregular cobbled streets, lined with tall amphitheatrically built houses, lead to the New Fortress of Corfu and the Monastery of Tenedos that dominates.
Ascending from the area of Spilia to the Old Port of Corfu and passing the small square at the foot of the Fortress we find ourselves in one of the most charming neighbourhoods of the island, namely Tenedos.
The monastery was built in the last decades of the 15th century by the Catholic monks of Tenedos, an island in the northeastern Aegean, who left their homeland for Corfu when it was occupied by the Turks. The icon of Our Lady of Carmine, to which they dedicated the new Monastery, was amongst other ecclesiastical relics they carried. “Carmine” or “Carmelo” is the geographical name from Mount Carmel in Palestine where the Carmelite Monastery was located.
When the French Democrats confiscated the monastery in 1799, the icon was transferred to the church of Taxiarchis in Campiello, which was destroyed during World War II during bombing raids. The monastery was renovated in 1723, according to an inscription located above the main entrance. Today’s Latin Church stands out for its architecture and its steeple-like bell tower and dome.
In recent years, the area has been an attraction for locals and tourists with aesthetically pleasing, scattered bars and tavernas with courtyards, in a unique environment that exudes an unusual Venetian air.
During the period of the Democratic French (1797 – 1799) and the Ionian State (1800 – 1807) the history of the Monastery of Tenedos was closely connected with the history of Corfu.
In 1798, the first printing house in Greece operated on the site of the monastery under the name "Public Typography" and under the direction of the French Zouven.
Simultaneously, another printing house was opened called “Typography of the Genus” under the direction of Dionysios Sarantopoulos, in which the “Thorios of Rigas Feraios” and other national texts were printed. In 1799, the first Public Library of Greece was housed there, the core of which was the library of Agia Ioustinis, which was transferred from Garitsa to this area. Later, the library was enriched with book donations, creating the basis for the library of the Ionian Academy.
The spiritual contribution of the Monastery continued with the operation of the first Greek Public School there, with Ioannis Kapodistrias as the responsible education inspector.
The church celebrates on July 16, the day of the Blessed Virgin of Carmine, but because there are also two iconostasis from the end of the 19th century, those of Saints Andreos and Nicholas, it used to celebrate the day of remembrance of the afore mentioned Saints, on 30 November and 6 December respectively.
ΣΟΥΡΤΖΙΝΟΣ, Γεώργιος Χ. (2006), “Κέρκυρα: Ταξίδι στο χρόνο”, Ιστορική – Λαογραφική Εταιρεία Κέρκυρας, Θεσσαλονίκη, γ’ έκδοση, σελ. 37
ΣΟΥΡΤΖΙΝΟΣ, Γεώργιος Χ. (2008), “Τοπωνύμια: γλωσσικές μαρτυρίες στην ιστορική διαδρομή της Κέρκυρας”, Ιστορική – Λαογραφική Εταιρεία Κέρκυρας, Θεσσαλονίκη, β’ έκδοση, σελ. 206 – 207