Thursday, 14 October 2010

Corfu in the past 3: The "Tennis" area as it looked in the 1860s

  The "Tennis" area is now known as a heavy populated part of Corfu Town, full of flats which named after the existing tennis court. But one hundred and fifty years earlier the place was undeveloped and then out of the town limits. Corfu in early 1860s was still under the british rule, which lasted till May 1864. Since then, the Corfu town limits were defined by the venetian walls and the areas of Mantouki, Garitsa and Sarocco were being considered as suburbs. 
  The area between the Porta Remounda and Garitsa was being called by the British as "New town" as it was the first planned residential area of Corfu Town. But it was after the british rule, in the 1870s that the area had started to build up. Ioannis Chronis (1800-1879), a corfiot architect and engineer who envisioned the area having plenty of open space and a Π - shaped form in order to be healthy for its inhabitants. Indeed, new straights road opened, among them the wide boulevard of Alexandras avenue and as soon as the land was divided in blocks, fashionable residences had started to appear scattered around the area. Even though the original plan included arcaded buildings, a church on the site of the tennis court as well as the sophisticated Π- shaped blocks, all those were scrapped in 1873 by the government in order to rise the density of the whole built-up area.

  This couple of documentary pictures below show the forementioned area before its development. In the first picture, the bay road, now known as "paraliaki tis Garitsas" already existed. In the front, we can see some marble graves scattered around a field belonged to one of the three british cemeteries in the site of the Corfu Palace hotel. In the backround, the suburb of Garitsa could be seen and further back a patch of water from Chalikiopoulos sealake (near the present airport) and above it the Agioi Deka mountain making a strong presence.

  The second one was taken from a different angle but it's prespective covers the same area. At the left, a lonesome house standed and a diagonial road (which doesn't exist nowadays) probably led to the Sarocco area. In the background, the Anemomylos area and further right the undeveloped Alexandras Avenue made a good contrast with Garitsa's buildings further back.

-Photos taken from the Alinari Archives:

No comments: