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.



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


4.6/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Ramunas Kazlauskas (2 years ago)
Lovely views throughout the fortress, especially at the top.
Daniel Morales (2 years 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 (2 years ago)
A rock full of history with a breathtaking view of the city and the area.
A. Dafanna (2 years ago)
Stunning view plus excellent service
Karl Eaves (2 years ago)
Fascinating mix of architecture chronicalling in stone the history of Corfu and its various imperial occupiers.
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