Picturesque alleys, traditional stone houses and the beautiful bridges of the semi-mountainous, traditional village of Sokraki give it its special appeal. It is a beautiful village with about 2,000 years of history, which has maintained its quaintness without being spoilt by tourism.
Located 23 km from the city of Corfu at an altitude of 450 meters, it can be reached via the area of Ipsos, by following the turning for the village of Ano Korakiana and then by proceeding up a 4 km narrow, winding road. The final destination is well worth it as the panoramic view is absolutely spectacular extending towards the north and the Diapontia islands, and towards the south with magic vistas of the whole city of Corfu and the islands of Vidos and Lazaretto.
The village takes its name from its location. Situated halfway between the villages of Ano Korakiana and Zygos, sheltered inside Mount Korakio, Sokraki is a contraction of the words “Esso” meaning “halfway” and “Korakio”.
The village has largely retained its traditional architectural character, with beautiful paved cantonments, olive mills, two beautiful squares, two traditional cafes, a coffee shop and impressive churches dating back to the 16th century.
Panagia Perivoliotissa, a parish of the village, holds a prominent position and celebrates in a unique traditional way on August 15. There are also the churches of Agia Varvara, Agios Nikolaos, Agios Vlasis and the private church of Agios Spyridon. The church of Agios Vlasis was completely destroyed after the Second World War, while the church of Agios Nikolaos, which has unique frescoes, has not been restored and has deteriorated with time.
In recent years, walking tourism has become more prevalent on Corfu and for this reason, the paths through dense olive groves, holly trees, oaks and cypresses have made Sokraki extremely popular.
A very beautiful and interesting path is the four kilometre, windy route from Ano Korakiana, to Sokraki, between elaborate stone walls made of carved stones (the locals call them kodeles) which were constructed during the 19th Century.
Another beautiful spot for hiking is the canyon in the area of Melissoudia, a gorge with 50,000 olive trees.
Roussela’s grave is located in a ravine between Sokrakiou – Zygos – Kyprianades and is another interesting point for exploration, for the very adventurous.
Tradition has it that before World War II, Roussela lived, as a hermit, in a cave with his son. Due to their poverty they smoked cigarettes using pages of the gospel to wrap their tobacco in. They called their cigarettes Matthew, Mark, Luke or John etc., depending on which page of the gospel they utilized. This has remained a standing joke in the village.
The unique location with panoramic views, traditional architectural design in harmony with the environment, family hospitality, tranquility, beauty and authenticity contribute to Socrates being the ideal haven for a relaxing and refreshing getaway as it has accommodation including traditional villas with swimming pools.
The poet, Lorentzos Mavilis, was also fascinated by the dreamy landscape of Socrates, dedicating a sonnet to it in 1905.
There is documentation dating to 1347 in which the modern name, Sokraki, is found. It was also the year in which the temple of Mount Pantokrator was built, but it is thought that the village can trace its roots back to early Christianity.
Even before the Venetian period the main occupations of Sokraki’s inhabitants were animal husbandry and viticulture. They also collected sawdust from the holly plant from which a red dye produced by insects or parasites was extracted. This was most sought after in the textile industry.
The agricultural area of the village, with olive groves, vineyards and fields, is quite extensive. Many of Sokraki’s agricultural estates are located far outside the village and the most remote and inaccessible ones have now been abandoned. Historian and explorer, Ioannis Bounias, wrote in his 1954 book that ancient artifacts had been found on the road from Sokraki to Zygos, near a stone bridge, in the so-called Devedaios gorge before the Second World War.
On the way to the village of Valaneio, there is a cliff, which is called “Tsi mulas the leap” because, according to tradition, a young woman named Agyro, daughter of the king of the area, returning from the village of Valaneio with her mule, saw the city burning. Desperate and distressed, she covered her eyes and the eyes of her mule and, going blindly down a narrow path, they fell off the cliff together and were killed.
ΔΗΜΟΥΛΑΣ, Γεράσιμος (2012)/Περί τση Κέρκυρας το ανάγνωσμα. “Σωκράκι“, http://corfiatikoanagnosma.blogspot.com/2012/08/blog-post.html
Terrabook. “Σωκράκι“, https://greece.terrabook.com/el/corfu/page/sokraki/
ΜΑΚΡΗ, Μαρίλια (2020). “Σωκράκι: ένα από τα πιο όμορφα και γραφικά χωριά της Κέρκυρας“, www.mykerkyra.com