Friday, 8 June 2012

How it looked like the medieval town of Corfu?

   Little is known about how the medieval town of Corfu looked liked before the completition of the complex 16th century venetian fortifications. There are few sources such as the map schetched by Konrad von Grünenberg in 1487, few decades before the completion of the Contrafossa canal which seperates the Old Fortress peninsula with the rest of Corfu Town. 
  In the map it is easily noticed that Contrafossa hadn't yet been constructed and most of town's residents lived inside the walled Old Fortress peninsula. Outside that walled area, there was Borgo, the then unwalled suburb. Few decades later Borgo became the central part of the town as many people had been forced to leave the fortress which became the administrative and military centre of the island. The port of the medieval town was at Mandraki, which today is a small marina. There was a wooden bridge which provided access to the breakewater on which the ships moored. 
   The two hill tops from which Corfu took its name (Kορυφώ= mountain/hill top) dominated the town below them. It seems that there were two castles on the top of each hill. There was a church between the hills too.
   The Grünenberg map is rich in detail and probably is more realistic that somebody might think.
Konrad von Grünenberg 1487 map

A modern representation of medieval Corfu


angelap said...

Fascinating. Where did you find this map/illustration John?

Giannis, an average Corfiot said...

I found it in "Corfu Old Photos - 2" group in Facebook