Monday, 9 February 2009

FORGOTTEN CORFU 1: Dessila's Factory: A part of Corfu's Industrial past

Dessila's Old Factory relics has always been a controversial topic for Corfiots. What is the best way to exploit the vast expanses of the former factory site? Should we demolish the late 19th century industrial buildings and built appalling apartment buildings or turn it into a big parking site that is so desperately needed in Corfu? Or should we restore those old factory buildings and turn them into an entertainment/ cultural complex like Gkazi in Athens and Mylos in Salonica?

Actually, the site had been sold to some foreign developers who dreamed of making a shopping mall there. But they did not know that the whole site sits on the ancient Corfu cemetery, so they had to fully excavate the site first to see if there are any ancient relics which need to be preserved. Archeologists found some ancient tombs but nothing important actually. The real loss was the destruction of some of the old industrial buildings. Although listed as protected, the developers found an illegal way to destroy them! For the time being, work on the site has been halted - I heard that the developers mysteriously decided not to build anything on the site. A victim of credit crunch? An economic scandal? Who knows!

The thing is that this site needs to be preserved in a way that the old industrial buildings should be restored and used as a museum or as cultural venues. In addition, the vast site should be turned into a landscaped park.

To have a rough idea of the site, check some photos I managed to take of the site from an apartment complex's parking in Garitsa - You can see the potential of the site and some of its really interesting buildings:

Some old photos of the factory, when it was in full operation (pictures taken from an interesting article of the site's history (in Greek):

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