Tuesday, 30 November 2010

The catholic monastery of Saint Francis of Assisi

  On Nikiforou Theotoki street, near the orthodox church of Agios Antonis, stands the catholic monastery of Saint Francis of Assisi. It is an important monument not directly seen from street level, as there is an entrance with some stairs behind it leading to the monastery's property.

The chapel of St. Anne, refurbished by the british in 1850

  It is one of the oldest churches survived. Actually nobody can tell when it was consrtructed but all we know is that the property, probably then dedicated to Saint Aggelos, was given to a female monastery in the period of the Epirus despotate in the 12th century. The church itself is a living monument of the schism and the rivalry of the Orthodox and the Catholic church. In 1272 when the d'Anjoux took over Corfu they eliminated the orthodox Archibishop and took the orthodox best churches in order to convert then into catholic ones. Later on, in 1367, this church was given to the latin monks of Saint Francis of Assisi and it was the place when in 1386, the corfiots gave the town keys to the venetian admiral Giovanni Miani surrendering to the Serene Republic of Venice. In 1798 the first primary school was founded (it still stands today as the "5th primary school"). In 1943, following the german's bombings, the monastery temporary housed the catholic archiodecese until the reconstruction of the catholic Duomo.

The main entrance of the church
The 5th primary school

  The church follows the eptanisian basilica style with a wooden tiled roof. It's campanile is venetian influenced. There were some additional buildings (like the cloisters) which unfortunately are long gone now.

View of Saint Francis property from the opposite arcaded buildings

Sunday, 28 November 2010

Corfu in the past 4: A documentary photo of the Avrami fort

  Almost one year before I visited and photographed the negleted Avramiou Hill which stands above the hospital and behind the New Fortress. There is a rundown building on its top which used to house an elder house up to the 1980s.
  As you already may know, there was a fort on the top which was named after Avrami, a rich 16th century man who had his luxurious villa on the hill. Following the villa's destruction by the Turks in 1537, the venetian built a new peripheric fort when the turks attacked Corfu for a second time in 1716. The fort unfortunately was destroyed in 1864 by the british who left the island that year.
I thought there was hardly one image of it until today when I saw on "Corfu Old Photos" a 1860s rare dangerotype of Avrami fort before its destruction. As you can see in that documentary photo, the elder house was already there in the middle of the fortification and tall defensive walls run from its sides.

  The area now is very different. No clue of defensive walls. Only the abandoned elder house and a small building still stand, deteriorating until they collapse and become history themselves.

Sunday, 21 November 2010

The 17th century church of Saint Catherine is under the threat of collapse

 Last Friday evening, following the heavy rainfall of the last days, the roof of the historic Saint Catherine church right next to the Palace and few metres away from the Liston collapsed. The church has been left to its fate many years now and every day its horrible state of disrepair threaten the passerbys. There are some props around the building but this doesn't that they can stop the total collapse forever.
  I found some pictures from the "Kerkyra S.O.S." group, taken from a neighbouring building and reveal the size of the damage. You can see yourself the level of the damage and the bad state in which the church is in.

  Today I walked by the site to see myself the disaster. Nothing wrong could be seen from street level because the roof can't be seen from this side.

  Notice how weathered and abandoned the building looks. If there weren't those iron pillars, it would had already been collapsed. But what we know about St. Catherine church's history? Here are some lines:

  The church of St. Katherine is situated on the northern side of Esplanade right next to the St. Michael and St George palace. It was built in the 1690s by the cretan scholar Nikodimos Karofylaktos, who in 1704 converted it to a men's monastery which was housed in a nearby building. The monastery was closed at the end of 19th century. The church itself follows the "eptanisian basilica" style and features interesting paintings like that of the cretan painter Tsagarolas called "the martyr of St. Catherine". The church belongs to parish of St. Eleftherios but it is owned by the Municipality of Corfu (apart from the ground floor). There used to be a service on St. Catherine's day but they were ceased due to the building's bad state.

Marble plaque on which states the church's construction date

   It's high time something to be done. This historical monument needs imediate preservation and restoration. Otherwise, this will be another one fatality for Corfu's history and architecture. 

Sunday, 14 November 2010

Corfu Town in the late 1970s: Part Six - The environs III

  This is the sixth and the final part of this vintage tour in 70s Corfu. In this part we are going to see another ten documentary images taken from different parts of the island like Paleokastritsa, Kassiopi and Ai Gordis. All those images were scanned from a vintage tourist book of my collection.

Tourists having a tour of Paleokastritsa's caves
The little peninsula on which the Paleokastritsa'a monastery is situated
Monks chatting in Paleokastritsa's monastery
Kassiopi - Four views in one
A traditionally dressed corfiot woman

Having holidays in Acharavi
Glyfada beach and its grand hotel
French tourists in Dassia's Club Mediterranee
Swimmers in a now defunct pier of Ipsos
Ai Gordis beach before its mass tourism exploitation

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

A clarinet concert at Corfu Reading Society

  Few days before, I've been to an interesting concert in which two clarinetists performed accompanied by a pianist. The clarinetists performed were Guy Dangain, a famous french clarinetist with an important carrier in various music institutions in France and Angelos Politis, a corfiot clarinetist. The concert was dedicated to H.E. Klosé, a 19th century clarinetist who invented the Boehm system, the standard clarinet keywork used in most of the countries in the world (the other is the Müller system used only in the german speaking countries).

  Most people don't know that Hyacinthe Eléonore Klosé was born in Corfu in 1808. He was son of a french military official (Corfu in the beginning of the 19th century was under french occupation) who lived there for some years serving in the local french military force. We don´t know who was Klosé's mother but some say that it may have been a corfiot woman as most young french officials were unmarried. When he was a teenager, Κlosé went to the Paris to study music. In 1831 he was admitted in the National Conservatory of Paris in which he attended the classes of the great clarinetist Frederic Berr. Soon he became himself a virtuoso and in 1838 he became a professor replacing his teacher. He wrote the famous method, known as the Bible of the clarinet and he had many famous soloists (like Holms, Frederic Selmer and Turban) as students. He died in Paris in 1880.

  Below there are two videos from this interesting concert at the Corfu Reading Society.

- Guy Dangain performing " After you mr. Gershwin" by Βelá Kovács

- Guy Dangain and Angelos Politis performing Amilcare Ponchielli's "Il Convegno"

Friday, 5 November 2010

Today "John's Corfu World" becomes 3 years old!

  I've started this blog three years ago following the risen popularity of blogging and as a way to share my thoughts and views with other people. In the beginning, I started posting more diverse things like an indepedent trance release review, posts about my favourite metropolis, London and even some x-rated ones.

  As I became a more experienced and mature blogger, seeing that the posts about my homeland Corfu had more views than the more general ones, this blog started to become almost excusively dedicated to Corfu. Thus I renamed it. "Johntgr" became "John's Corfu World".  I've started (re)discovering my land, taking images of its unknown bits and trying to promote it abroad. In order to boost the blog, I've created a fan page in the increasingly popular Facebook. People started to interact with me leaving comments and ideas, showing that they still care about the island and its rich history.

  I would like to thank all the readers of this blog and especially the fans and the followers for their support. I promise this fourth year the forthcoming posts will be as interesting as always.

- 270 posts so far
- 948 fans in Facebook
- 27305 visits from 136 countries
- 15155 individual visitors

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Corfu Town in the late 1970s: Part Five - The environs II

  In this fifth part of this serie I'm going to present you ten 1970s pictures of our beloved island taken from locales like Palaiokastritsa, Benitses and Achileion.

Benitses Village
View of Benitses village from the north
Achilleion Palace
The famous gardens of Achileion fully blossomed
The view from Kanoni with the world famous Mouse Island
View of Paleokastritsa
Palaiokastritsa with its famous bays and crystal clear waters
It's summer in Paleokastritsa and tourists hit the beach 
Paleokastritsa as seen from the monastery
People at Paleokastritsa beach sunbathing