The main town of Corfu is one of the most interesting cities in Greece due to the heavy influence of the Venetians who for centuries controlled the island. Like the other Ionian islands Corfu was never occupied by the Turks, which gives it a character very different from the rest of Greece. But Corfu town has seen other influences as well including the British, the Normans, the French, and the Greeks and Romans whose ancient buildings are still in evidence in several archaeology sites and the excellent archaeological museum. The population of the town of Corfu is about 30.000 and is quite cosmopolitan compared to the other Greek islands. It is an interesting mixture of old taverns, new cafes, discos, clubs and shops of all types plus an amazing old city that sits in a protected area between the two fortresses. The Theater of San Giacomo constructed entirely of stone in the style of the Italian Renaisance had it's foundations first laid in1663 and is just one example of then many historical buildings that make walking the streets of this city a pleasure. The town really resembles an Italian city though their are other influences such as the Liston, the building which borders the main esplanade or Spianada, built by the French, which houses some of the finest cafes and restaurants in Corfu. On the esplanade itself the men compete in weekend cricket matches, the only place in Greece where the sport is played. If you can't have baseball then watching a visiting British team in a cricket match, drinking the local ginger beer or a gin and tonic is the next best thing. The French were the ones who turned the Spianada into a public square. Before the nineteenth century it was a large empty lot that was used for defensive purposes. The French planted trees and created one of the most attractive town squares in all of Greece. Bordering the south side of the Spaniada is the Ionion Academy the first University in Greece, founded by Ioanis Capodistrias in 1808. The academy had a library and a botanical garden and classes were taught in Italian. It was almost completely destroyed by German bombs in 1943. On the south side of the Spianada is the Palace of Saint Michael and George built by the British in 1824 and used as the official residence of the high commissioner, the seat of the Ionian Senate and the headquarters of the Order of Saint Michael and Saint George, created for the purpose of awarding medals to residents of Malta and the Ionian islands who had performed important service for the Great Britain. There are several interesting museums in town and two major fortresses as well as numerous small squares and fountains. The town itself was built so that it could be defended. The buildings in the old city remain intact and wandering through the narrow streets is like a lesson in history and architecture. Even though some buildings were destroyed in the German bombings of the second world war, the town of Corfu contains a large number of buildings which have survived the centuries and is on the list of Europe's most historic cities.
Places near Corfu Town
Gouvia, a small former fishing village has been developed throughout the last four decades into a modern holiday resort. Ideal for couples and families visiting the island of Corfu, it provides an up to date and secure place for vacation. The resort is located 7km north of Corfu town, on the east coast and has been popular since the 70s to people coming from most of the European countries. Gouvia is set on a bay and offers a pebble beach, a marina and large variety of hotels, bars, restaurants and shops. The calmness of the day and the lively atmosphere of the night, both combined with a feeling of coziness are offered to its visitors. The local people are nice, friendly and eager to show to the foreign vacationists the way of the Greek hospitality.
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