Monday, 30 May 2011

Some photos from my recent Athens trip

  Most of the images below were taken in coastal Athens areas, like Neo Faliro, Alimos and Glyfada. You see, during the hot athenian summer afternoons, having a walk at the coastal zone of the capital is much prefered than spending your time in the centre, 7 kilometres inland. 
"Karaiskaki" stadium at Neo Faliro
New Faliro Metro station - Line 1
"Eirinis kai Filias" stadium, as seem from the New Faliro station
"Eirinis kai Filias" stadium
View towards the Kastella hill from the footbridge over Poseidonos Ave.
Tall apartment blocks on the coastal Poseidonos Ave., as seem from the tram
Modern apartment blocks facing the sea
Glyfada's beach - sunset
Glyfada's marina
Glyfada beach
"Hard Rock Cafe" on Zisimopoulou str., one of the busiest in Glyfada
Multiplex cinema in Glyfada
Neo Faliro train station
Monastiraki Metro station during the morning rush hour

Sunday, 22 May 2011

The Monument of the Union of the Heptanese

  Yesterday, Corfu and the other islands of the Ionian, celebrated the 147th year since the union of the Heptanese with Greece. To honour this remarkable date, the state erected a monument in Spianada and decided to declare the 21st of May a local holiday. 
  The monument is made of marble and has a form of an individual circular square. In its center, there is a cocentric set of steps. At the top of them there is the main piece it, a simplistic column which bares the comemorative inscription "ENΩΣΙΣ 21 ΜΑΪΟΥ 1864". 

  The most interesting aspect of the monument are the seven satellite marble pieces. Each one represents one ionian island with its coat of arms made of bronze placed on its side facing the main monument in the center of the circle.


  It's quite a common phenomenon the monument to be vandalized with graffiti by groups of mindless youths who lack of aesthetics, respect and knowledge of local history. Hopefully, as you can see from the recently taken pictures, the monument had been cleaned.

Sunday, 15 May 2011

Corfu in detail 13: an early 18th century commemorative plaque

  On Nikiforou Theotoki street, just across the street from "Panagia ton ksenon" church, there is an old building which bares a small plaque which dates back to 1729. 

  Looking more closely, somebody can read ΤΗΣ ΚΥΡΙΑΣ ΦΑΝΕΡΩΜΕΝΗΣ 1729 which implies that the building is property of the Panagias Faneromenis church, the proper name of Panagias ton ksenon. 

  That church is known of having a vast number of properties, among them the Pantokrator monastery at Pontikonissi (Mouse island).

Thursday, 12 May 2011

The "Pinia" intersection and its fake "pine cones"

    The so called "Pinia" intersection is one of the busiest points of Corfu Town. It is the point where Nikiforou Theotoki (previously known as "Calle d'Erbe") meets Filarmonikis (ex- "Calle Justiniani") and Michail Theotoki streets.
  The name "Pinia" is of italic origin. "Pigna" in english means "pine cone". But why it had been named like this? There are no pine trees somewhere near the place. The origin of the toponym has to do with the original St. Spyridon church which prior to 1590 was located in San Rocco, a then small suburb which was dotted with pine trees. When in 1577 when the walls around Corfu Town had started to be built, the old St. Spyridon church was among the list of buildings which had to be destructed in order to make way for the fortification works. So in 1590, the new St. Spyridon church was built inside the walled town. The pine trees near the old San Rocco church was a kind of a symbol so as sign of historical continuation,  fake pine cones had been placed near the new church.
  Two of them can be easily spotted at the intersection of "Pinia. On the second floor's facade of the building which is situated in the corner of Nikiforou Theotoki and Michail Theotoki streets a reddish painted pine cone can be seen.

Also, across Nikoforou Theotoki street, the most prominent pine cone among all is hanged on a metalic beam above a traditional lamppost. 


  The "Pinia" intersection is also the place where the traditional carnivalistic show called "Petegoletsa" take place every year. 

Sunday, 8 May 2011

Corfu then and now 3: The view towards Corfu town from the New Fortress

  Can you imagine how different looks Corfu town's panorama two centuries before? Thanks God, it hasn't changed that much, thanks to the fact that the oldest part of town has been preserved, preventing from those awful mid 20th century apartment blocks dominating the view.
  In the image below, I did a collage of a 1820s gravure made by british general Mc Niven with a recent photo taken from the top of New Fortress. As you can see, few things has changed since early 19th century. The skyline dominates the twin peaks of Old Fortress and the tall St. Spyridon campanile next to it. The old port to the left looks diffent, as in late 19th century it took its current shape. In both pictures, at the front of the then more densely built up Old Fortress, the back side of the 1810s Liston complex can be noticed.

(click to enlarge)
  We, corfiots residents. should consider ourselves lucky that our historic core had been left intact making it possible for future generations to enjoy and appreciate it.

Thursday, 5 May 2011

The Platytera monastery

  Platytera monastery (Ιερά μονή της Υπεραγίας Θεοτόκου Πλατυτέρας) is one of the greatest religious monuments found in the island. It is located between San Rocco and Mandouki districts in the beginning of Paleokastritsas national road. When the monastery was founded, the whole area around it took its name.

It was founded by the Lefkadian monk Chrisanthos Syropoulos in 1743. The tall campanile above the monastery's main entrace stands out and in the courtyard a well can be found, from where the monks used to take water.

 In its early years, the monastery hosted both monks and nuns but when the number of monks surpassed the one of nuns, it was decided to accept only monks.

  The church is a single-naved basilica and host a great number of icons painted by zakynthian Nikolaos Koutouzis and by Nikolaos Kantounis.

 The monastery was destructed in 1798 when the Napoleon's french army took over Corfu and the Russian-Turks sieged the island for four months. The french troops, before setting fire to the monastery, saved everything valuable. The reconstruction had been started by Nikodimos Deladetsimas and continued by Nektarios Nakos. In 1866, the 28 metre tall campanile was finished and in 1900 the property was walled.

  Inside the narthex, several important people had been interred like Ioannis Kapodistrias, the first governor of Greece, his brother Augoustinos Kapodistrias, historian Andreas Moustoksidis, epiran Greek revolution heroe Fotis Tzavellas and some bishops.

  - Some other photos of the monastery: