Corfu
Island
 
   
 
Cultural
Activities
Old town

The old town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, having grown within fortifications, is a labyrinth of narrow streets paved with cobblestones, sometimes tortuous but colorful and clean. These streets are known as kantoúnia, and the older amongst them sometimes follow the gentle irregularities of the ground; while many are too narrow for vehicular traffic.

A promenade rises by the seashore towards the bay of Garitsa, together with an esplanade between the town and the citadel known as Spianada with the Liston arcade to its west side, where restaurants and bistros abound.

Old Fortress

The old citadel is an old Venetian fortress built on an artificial islet with fortifications surrounding its entire perimeter, although some sections, particularly on the east side, are slowly being eroded and falling into the sea. Nonetheless, the interior has been restored and is in use for cultural events, such as concerts and Sound and Light Productions.

These events take place amidst the ancient fortifications, with the Ionian Sea in the background. The central high point of the citadel rises like a giant natural obelisk complete with a military observation post at the top, with a giant cross at its apex; at the foot of the observatory lies St. George's church, in a classical style punctuated by six Doric columns as opposed to the Byzantine architectural style of the greater part of Greek Orthodox churches.

New Fortress

The new citadel is a huge complex of fortifications dominating the northeastern part of the city; the huge walls of the fortress dominate the landscape as one makes the trip from the new port to the town, taking the road that passes through the old fishmarket.

The new citadel was until recently a restricted area due to the presence of a naval garrison, but it is now open to the public, with tours possible through the maze of medieval corridors and fortifications. The winged Lion of St Mark, the symbol of Venice, can be seen at regular intervals adorning the fortifications. Old Palaces and gardens

The Old Palaces are a large complex of buildings of Roman architectural style used in the past to house the King of Greece, and prior to that the British Governors of the island. Today they are open to the public and form a complex of halls and buildings housing art exhibits, including a Museum of Asian Art, unique across Southern Europe in its scope and in the richness of its Chinese and Asian exhibits.

The gardens of the Palaces, complete with old Venetian stone aquariums, exotic trees and flowers, overlook the bay through old Venetian fortifications and turrets, and the local sea baths are at the foot of the fortifications surrounding the gardens. A café on the grounds includes its own art gallery, with exhibitions of both local and international artists, known locally as the Art Café.

From the same spot, the viewer can observe ships passing through the narrow channel of the historic Vido island to the north, on their way to Corfu harbour. A wrought-iron aerial staircase is also to be found, closed to garden visitors, descending to the sea from the gardens, and used by the Greek Royal family as a shortcut to the baths.

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