Monday, 3 January 2011

Corfu then and now 1: A rare 1943 aerial view of the San Rocco area

  This 67-years-old photo was taken in September 1943 by the german fighters which so brutally bombarded Corfu Town. Various main points and features of this newer part of town could be recognised by looking at the photo with attention.
  First of all, the old Municipal theatre (1) can be seen and right behind it, in what is now the Prefecture building, an electricity factory was standing (12). Across the road, the running field (3) which exists today as well, was the place in which the young people had been practising sports. San Rocco square (2) was the focal point of the new town which was still growing by building apartment blocks. To the west, the square at the front of the old mental hospital (5) and to the southwest (7) Methodiou street hadn't been constructed yet! At the left bottom of the image, the San Salvatore hill wasn't hidden behind the Marasli street's (9) apartment blocks. Leoforos Alexandras (11) was a less densely populated boulevard with few apartments and more grand houses, some of which even exist today. Towards the southeast, the tennis courts (4) and the now gone old Bella Venezia buildings (8) are the most prominent features of this affluent part of town.

The 1943 aerial 
  Now this is another aerial covering the same area with the one above but about six decades newer. Now the whole area is more densely built up with 60s and 70s apartment blocks all over the place and lots of parked cars and traffic.

A recent aerial image from Google Earth which covers the very same area with the older one
  Compare yourselves the images, spot other differences between then and now and draw your own conclusions on which image you like more: A densely built up town or a spacious one with grand houses with gardens and tree lined avenues?


Simon Baddeley said...

Hullo John. You ask an important question for all cities as well as Corfu. I've long been a supporter of Carfree Cities. There is world wide interest in trying to make cities less auto-dependent.

I dream that one day a better public transport, and more people cycling and walking will free of us of the burden we have imposed upon ourselves through our love affair with cars.

Giannis, an average Corfiot said...

Mr. Baddeley,

I'm in favour of public transport which is not very sufficient in Corfu Town. Most people use their cars but the good thing is that since the construction of the bicycle lanes, more and more people are starting to use their bicycles.
All we need is the construction of car parks around town and the improvement of a more affordable public transport in order to encourage people use the bus as a quicker alternative.

Simon Baddeley said...

Delighted to hear from you and so good to hear that the new modern long awaited hospital at Kontokali is open. This is such v. good news for Corfu. I agree more are on bicycles and applaud the introduction of the new cycle lanes you mention. As I know from UK cities and many other cities across the world this can start a trend as more and more people see that this way of getting about that is efficient as well as pleasurable and good for health - even in winter. I use a folding bicycle which in bad weather and in the dark I can put on a bus when returning to Ano Korakiana. Here's me enjoying the Liston: