Corfu is the Italian version of the name of this island. The Greek version is Kerkyra. It is the second largest island in the Ionian group of islands. Compared to other Ionian ones, it is located to the north of everything. Corfu in the northeast borders with Albania, from which it is separated by the Kerkyra Strait. The northern part of the island is covered with chalk mountains less than a thousand meters high, it is more fertile and picturesque in contrast to the south of the island, covered with hills. The main city of the island also has a double name: official – Corfu, popularly – Kerkyra.
In the Greek epic, the island was glorified as a meeting place for Odysseus and Queen Nausikai – this happened in Paleokastritsa Bay. The Argonauts, who had already stolen the golden fleece, were hiding in Kerkyra from the chase of the colchis. One of the three nearest islands of Otoni served as the prison of Odysseus for seven whole years at the nymph Calypso. Kerkyra under the name Scheria was glorified in the works of Homer.
Economic independence, achieved due to the advantageous location of the island at the intersection of trade routes, allowed its inhabitants to have their own pride and confront Corinth, which belonged to Kerkyra as a metropolis to the colony. This led to naval battles in the 7th-6th centuries BC. Corinth managed to subjugate the islanders, but the uprisings continued. In the IV century BC the rebellious Kerkyra was able to attract Athens to the allies, which led to the Peloponnesian War, during which the Allies suffered a series of crushing defeats. In the following centuries, the island was attacked by Sparta and Macedonia, was captured by the Romans, and after the collapse of the Great Roman Empire, Byzantium retreated.
In the Middle Ages, the city was often attacked by the Genoese, Venetians, Neapolitans. The island was owned by Venice for the longest time (about four centuries), periodically reflecting the onslaught of the Ottoman fleet. The powerful fortifications built by the Venetians, and earlier Byzantine ones, helped the island not be captured by the Turks. At the end of the XVIII century, the island was captured by the French, expelled from Corfu in 1799 by the naval forces commanded by Admiral Fedor Ushakov. The island became the capital of the Republic of Seven Islands, which lasted less than ten years at the beginning of the XIX century. Then Kerkyra came under the British protectorate and became part of Greece only in 1864.
The location of the island in the northern part of the Ionian Sea makes the summer not so hot: in August, the average temperature is +26 degrees, the maximum +30. Winter lasts from October to May, with rains and a drop in temperature to +10. The water temperature in the sea on the northern coast of the island, even in high season, will be lower than the water temperature on the western and eastern coasts of Corfu.
On the island a few kilometers from its capital is located the international airport “Ioannis Kapodistrias” – even when landing you can observe beautiful views of Corfu itself and the nearest island of Pontikonisi. Domestic flights are carried out here with the help of hydroplanes. Ferry and hydrofoils depart for mainland Greece, the neighboring Ionian islands and the shores of Italy from Corfu.
Two national roads pass along the island, both starting in Kerkyra and leading to Lefkimi and Paleokastritsa. Bus routes within the island are divided into “blue” and “green”. The former ply the suburbs of Kerkyra, the latter to remote cities of the island and other cities of Greece. Bus stations for “blue” and “green” buses are located in different places of the capital: respectively, on Sarocco Square and on 9 Parodos Feotoki Street.
Corfu Island is stretched from north to south. The narrowest part of it is southern, northern slightly wider, the longest sides are west and east. In the north, the island is washed by the waters of the Adriatic, on the other sides – by the Ionian Sea.
Resorts and tourist infrastructure are available anywhere in the island. Features of the climate affect the prestige of the resort: the most fashionable and popular are in the east (Gouvia, Commeno). In the east and southeast there are also the best places for families with children – Benitses, Kavos. However, on the west coast closer to the north is one of the best resorts for outdoor activities – Paleokastritsa. And on the west and east coasts, you can find beaches with different coverings – pebble, sand.
Sights and excursions
In 2007, the old part of the island capital received the status of a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In the Middle Ages, the island served as the object of close attention of immigrants from Venice, Genoa and Naples, so the architectural influences of the Italian style are so obvious in the appearance of the Old Town of Kerkyra.
The historical part of the city was formed inside the walls of the fortress. An older defensive structure is Paleo Frurio, erected by the Byzantines on a bulk island. Currently, the fortress serves as a venue for light and sound shows. A later building is Neo Frurio, a smaller fortress of the Venetian period. It was built on two levels to protect the port and the city.