Saturday, 29 September 2012

The shiny brand new law courts building

   At last! After many years of under construction status, the new law courts building has opened its doors. Now the judges and the lawyers have a better place to work, an important upgrade to the old smaller building at Spilia square.

The building is huge. Because it was built on the top of a hill, its bulk can be easily noticed when approaching the town by Lefkimis national road. There are two entrances: the first one and the least impressive can be found across the prison complex, while the second one, the most imposing is in Kolokotroni street downhill where can be found some parking spaces.


   In the lobby area, a scale model gives us an idea of how impressive and modern the buiding is looking.

Sunday, 23 September 2012

Corfu then and now 12: The Old Fortress peninsula 1500 years ago

     The peninsula on which the Old Fortress has been built was uninhabited until 550 A.D. when occured the sack of Palaiopolis by the Goths of Totila. As a consequence, the city was gradually transferred to the naturally fortified and more secure nearby rock of the two peaks, the modern-day Old Fortress. This small rocky peninsula which extends eastwards into the sea would henceforth comprise the middle byzantine city called Koryphó. Much later, in the 16th century, the venetians constructed an artificial defensive canal, the so called "Contrafossa" which separated the peninsula from the island. 

   Below you can see an imaginative depiction of the peninsula made by Theofilos Tzikas before the byzantine Koryphó been built and  a modern photo of how it looks like today from the same angle.


Sunday, 16 September 2012

Corfu then and now 11: The Spilia square

  Most of you have probably passed by the two pretty large squares in the old port area, where the new city marina is under construction. Well, before the 2nd WW bombings by the germans, the area was a major commercial centre bustling with activity. Many buildings and residences had been scattered around on what later became known as Spilia square. Among them, the famous "Markas" building, the town's old market building. 
  In the early 1800s engraving below you can see the Markas area looking towards east. In the centre of the engraving stands out the Markas building, which original façade and cupola looked lush. On the right, the old cereal storage building complex which survive up to our days and is home to the Agricultural bank. On the other side there were some residences which no longer exist.
  Which of the two images you prefer? It's a pity that the Markas building no longer exists, it would have been great to have it too standing in the middle of the square serving as the main town's farmer's market.

The area in which Spilia square is located today in the early 1800s.

The same view today...

Saturday, 8 September 2012

"Carmina Burana" in the OId Fortress

   Yesterday there was a great concert inside the Old Fortress. The Greek State S.O. in collaboration with the  local municipal choir "San Giacomo" presented Carl Orff's masterpiece "Carmina Burana". Although I did not attend the concert, it should have been an amazing event. More than three thousand people attended, filling in the esplanade in front of Saint George neoclassical church.
  There are two videos of "O Fortuna" (the most famous part from "Carmina Burana") below. As you can see, the atmosphere was amazing. It was a really unique event for our island.

Thursday, 6 September 2012

Corfu then and now 10: Μantouki as seen from Kefalomantouko hill in 19th, 20th and 21st century

   Mantouki is a suburb of Corfu Town which since the late 19th century was home to several factories. Most of its residents came from Epirus. It was practically a small fishing village, an aspect which still can be noted in the area's architecture today.
   In the three images below we can see how Mantouki changed throughout the centuries. From a quiet fishing village back in early 19th century to the industrial suburb of the early 20th century and to the busy port of nowadays. Note that the seaside throughfare (Ethnikis Antistaseos) did not exist until the early 1960s when the new port was constructed and the shore was extended in order to make room for it.

Mantouki in 1837
Mantouki in early 20th century
Mantouki today