ABOUT CORFU ISLAND
Corfu is an island which enchanted poets and kings
It's the port which linked the East to the West .
This place offered shelter to Ulysses , the divisive hero of Homer , it was chosen by Poseidon to indulge into his love for Amphitriti, and still it continues to welcome and inspire its visitors to this day: With its pretty , romantic , natural , historic and above all spontaneous nature , visitors find Corfu to be a really charming place. Visitors tend to ask hotel reception desks the same question: “Can I stay here a little more?”
Europeans no longer consider it to be an exotic destination, however it continues to be one of the most fascinating places in Europe. It offers an impressively varied flora, desert beaches, crystal water, narrow paths through thick, perennial olive trees , Byzantine churches , medieval villages, traditional Greek taverna's (small restaurants) as well as modern accommodation and amusement facilities. Corfu is a place which refreshes the mind and reactivates the human senses.
Corfu is the most northernmost and second largest after Cephalonia of the Ionian islands. Its area
covers 592 square kilometers and the length of the island is 217 kilometers. It is mountainous with
the highest mountain being Mt. Pantokrator (914 meters) but there are several flat areas ,the
largest being the Ropa valley. There are two lakes , Korission and Antinioti, and four small rivers
often dry in Summer at Potamos, Sidari, Messogghi and Lefkimi. The climate is mild without
being bitterly cold in Winter and the Summers are humid. The heavy rainfall and the high
humidity encourage the profuse growth of vegetation. Therefore the island has a lot of greenery,
even in Summer. It is the most densely populated area in Greece after thew great urban centers of
Athens and Thessalonika. According to the latest census figures, the population of the island is
105.000 with 35.000 people living in the town. The economy of Corfu depends mainly on the
tourist industry but there are also related industries and services that depend on tourism.
Agricultural production is not large. The chief products are olive oil, wine, vegetables and the
unique type of Kumquat fruit.
An Outline History of Corfu
The island takes its name from the nymph Corkira, daughter of the river Assopos with whom
Poseidon fell in love and kidnapped, taking her to Corfu. Their union produced Faikas , the first
King of the island. He was succeeded by his brother Nausithos who was the father of Alkinos ,
who played his part in the Odessey. The foreign name Corfu came from the new town that was
created in the old fortress on the twin peaks, meaning the town on the peaks. The symbol of Corfu
is the abancient warship, the well-known trireme in which to prove their nautical skills the sea
men were so exceptional, that they could travel in their ships without a rudder.
At the time of Venetian Rule,there was an intellectual Community that kept the seven islands in
touch with development in Western Europe. It helped to educate many people in writing and in art.
Many Corfiots, having taken their first lessons on the island, continued their education at the main
universities of Italy because of its proximity and the influence of Venice. Like all the Greeks who
were abroad,Cofriots took an interest in the cultivation of classical studies and took definite steps
to help preserve the Greek language. They published in Venice, where aGreek community had
formed,writings about the Greek language and its grammatical structure. Ancient Greek classics
were translated as well. In the 18th century, literature started to flourish in Corfu with the
emergence of the brilliant writers,
The Ionian has been inhabited since prehistoric times and its situation on the trade and invasion
routes to and from the Balkans, Italy and the Levant, has insured a rich and varied historical
tradition. The first wave of Ancient occupiers of contemporary interest were the Myceneans who
have left significant traces particularly in Thesprotia and Kefalonia. When the Emperor Constantine divided the
Roman Empire in the 4th century AD the Ionian became part of the Eastern (Byzantine) Empire.
Despite this, various parts fell under the control of a number of 6 powerful Frankish and Italian
baronial families including the Norman in the llth century and the Angevins in the l3th century.
Eventually however, by the late l5th century, two forces had emerged to dominate the region; The
Ottoman Turks and the Republic of Venice. Despite brief periods of occupation by the Turks and
with the exception of most of Epirus the islands fell under the control of Venice until the latter's
defeat by Napoleon in 1797.
Then followed a brief period of French occupation of the Ionian islands until, in 1798, a joint
Russian Turkish protectorate was established. The Septinsular Republic, as it was called, lasted
until the islands were ceded to the French in 1807 by the treaty of Tilsit.
The British occupied the islands in 1809 and, following the Congress of Vienna in 1815, set up the
Union of the Ionian Islands under their protection. (Septinsular, Eptanissa were the terms used for
the seven Ionian islands which included Kythera off the South Western Peloponnese). Following
the outbreak of the Greek war of Independence in 1821 which received strong support from the
Greeks of the islands, the Turks were gradually driven northward. Britain returned the Ionian
Islands to the new Greek State in 1864 but it was not until the end of the first Balkan War in 1913
that Epirus was returned to Greece.