Old Fortress of Corfu

Corfu, Greece

The Old Venetian Fortress of Corfu covers the promontory which initially contained the old town of Corfu that had emerged during Byzantine times.

Before the Venetian era the promontory, which lies between the Gulf of Kerkyra to the north and Garitsa Bay to the south, was defended by Byzantine fortifications which the Venetians largely replaced with fortifications of their own design. As part of their defensive plans the Venetians separated the promontory from the rest of the city of Corfu by creating the Contrafossa, a moat which is a sea channel connecting the Gulf of Kerkyra to the North with the Bay of Garitsa to the South, converting the citadel into an artificial island.

The fort successfully repulsed all three major Ottoman sieges: the great siege of 1537, the siege of 1571 and the second great siege of Corfu in 1716.

In 1718 lightning struck the powder magazine at Castel da Mare causing an explosion which created a chain reaction during which three secondary ammunition facilities also exploded, this in turn destroying most buildings inside the castle including the palace of the Captain General of the fortress, and many city buildings. Commander of the fortress and hundreds of others died in the explosion.

The fortress houses today the Public library of Corfu which is located in the old British barracks. The fortress grounds are also used for various types of art and culture exhibits. The Hellenic Music Research Lab of the Ionian University is also located at the Old Fortress.

References:

Comments

Your name



Address

Corfu, Greece
See all sites in Corfu

Details

Founded: 15th century
Category: Castles and fortifications in Greece

Rating

4.6/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Ramunas Kazlauskas (13 months ago)
Lovely views throughout the fortress, especially at the top.
Daniel Morales (14 months ago)
Worth visiting, even if a little expensive for what you get (not much to see in the museum, plus there is trash strewn about the place). If you care nothing about old fortresses, you can, for the same price, have a beer on the rooftop of Cavalieri.
Stelios D (14 months ago)
A rock full of history with a breathtaking view of the city and the area.
A. Dafanna (14 months ago)
Stunning view plus excellent service
Karl Eaves (14 months ago)
Fascinating mix of architecture chronicalling in stone the history of Corfu and its various imperial occupiers.
Powered by Google

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Roman Walls of Lugo

Roman Walls of Lugo are an exceptional architectural, archaeological and constructive legacy of Roman engineering, dating from the 3rd and 4th centuries AD. The Walls are built of internal and external stone facings of slate with some granite, with a core filling of a conglomerate of slate slabs and worked stone pieces from Roman buildings, interlocked with lime mortar.

Their total length of 2117 m in the shape of an oblong rectangle occupies an area of 1.68 ha. Their height varies between 8 and 10 m, with a width of 4.2 m, reaching 7 m in some specific points. The walls still contain 85 external towers, 10 gates (five of which are original and five that were opened in modern times), four staircases and two ramps providing access to the walkway along the top of the walls, one of which is internal and the other external. Each tower contained access stairs leading from the intervallum to the wall walk of town wall, of which a total of 21 have been discovered to date.

The defences of Lugo are the most complete and best preserved example of Roman military architecture in the Western Roman Empire.

Despite the renovation work carried out, the walls conserve their original layout and the construction features associated with their defensive purpose, with walls, battlements, towers, fortifications, both modern and original gates and stairways, and a moat.

Since they were built, the walls have defined the layout and growth of the city, which was declared a Historical-Artistic Ensemble in 1973, forming a part of it and becoming an emblematic structure that can be freely accessed to walk along. The local inhabitants and visitors alike have used them as an area for enjoyment and as a part of urban life for centuries.

The fortifications were added to UNESCO"s World Heritage List in late 2000 and are a popular tourist attraction.