Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Corfu then and now 9: The Annunziata area in 1836 and now

   Most of you have probably seen the wonderful Samuel Prout watercolour depicting Strada Reale and Annunziata in 1830s. Since then, lots had been changed. The neighbourhood had been bombarded by the Germans in September 1943 and lots of the buildings dissapeared. Among them, the Annunziata catholic monastery. After the 2nd World War, the area was redeveloped by building some tastless edifices on the site once the old palazzi of Strada Reale once stood. 

   The monastery could had been rebuilt from ashes but the authorities preferred to create a circular square on monastery's site to facilitate the increasing traffic. Only the campanile and some cells (where Cervantes spent a year being injured at the battle of Lepanto) survived the wrecking ball.

    On the right hand side of Prout's watercolour we can clearly see the medieval venetian campanile, the cells and the little escalade which leaded to the monastery's entrance. On the left hand side, only the buildings of the background still exist. On the site where the old spring which provided Corfiots with fresh running water and the venetian arcaded palazzi behind it once stood, the marble National Bank of Greece building and some other tasteless 60s edifices were built. The new structures look totally out of place and ruin the character of that ancient neighboorhood.
   I think it's about time to eliminate those invaders and built some new buildings in the old venetian style, restoring the original character of the area around Annunziata.

Annunziata in early 20th century

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