New Fortress of Corfu

Corfu, Greece

The New Fortress of Corfu is a Venetian fortress built on the hill of St. Mark in Corfu. The current buildings which exist within the fortress were built by the British during their rule of the island (1815–63).

In the aftermath of the first great Ottoman siege of Corfu in 1537, the Venetians developed plans to expand the fortifications of the city. Venetians built the New Fortress at the hill of St. Mark to further strengthen the defences of the outer city of Corfu and to act as the focal point of the new fortifications. The exact dating of the structure is not established but accounts vary between 1576 or 1577-1588, and 1572-1645.

The sea defences of the New Fortress were destroyed by the British when the British protectorate came to an end and Corfu was united with Greece in 1864. Under the same agreement, the Avrami and Vido island forts were also destroyed. When the latter fort was demolished, the explosion was so strong that it broke house windows on the Corfu side of the sea channel.

At the top of the castle there is a stone building which was used for defence and a brick building which in modern times functions as the headquarters of the Naval Station of Corfu. The Venetian fortifications were later expanded by the British and the French to help defend against a possible Turkish attack. Its fortifications included 700 pieces of artillery with range estimated as far as the Albanian coast.



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Founded: 16th century
Category: Castles and fortifications in Greece

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User Reviews

Mirek Zabski (3 years ago)
Another one historical military object in Corfu old capital worth to see. Built-in XVI century C.E. Very large. Very massive and immense. In good condition despite time destruction and during WW II destruction. Well preserved Scarpon Fort as a part of New Venetian Fortress. An object to visit for military and historic buffs. I visited in September 2020.
Ajdin Mehic (3 years ago)
The entrance was free, and the place is opened every day expect from Tuesday (at least at the moment it says it that way, October 2020). Tje place is clean, quite well maintained, and one needs between half an hour and an hour to explore it walking slowly. You have a speactacular view on Corfu Town from the top.
Seb (3 years ago)
Frankly,a bit boring. The view is nice but there is no historic background information. Basically just a hike up and down again. But it's free so no complaints. Could be improved with some more explanatory boards.
Lukas Savko (3 years ago)
Short walk inside the fortress, no entrance fee at the time. Very nice views of Kerkyra. Worth the visit. Market with fresh local products nearby.
Boaz Rensenbrink (3 years ago)
There are multiple ways to reach the entrance and some of them are wheelchair friendly. The fortress is wheelchair viewable but some passages are very narrow but luckily you can go around. When entering fortress ground there’s a public bathroom but it’s out of order. Thanks to covid and low to none maintenance a few areas are prohibited to enter and are closed. The top of the fortress cannot be reached by the main public. There are plenty of nice locations to snap a few pictures of Corfu town and the close by island across the town. At various locations ( in & out the sun) there are benches to have some water and catch a breath. When walking at an average speed and picture breaks you can cover all the ground in 20/25 minutes. Outside the fortress area there’s plenty of parking, when you get closer to the entrance the parking is based on luck and you have to be creative. I give it a three star because in a way the attention is directed towards the view of the old town and the fortress is not being put on the spotlight. I think it would be great experience if they open during the evening and light out some walls and such.
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The Château de Foix dominates the town of Foix. An important tourist site, it is known as a centre of the Cathars. Built on an older 7th-century fortification, the castle is known from 987. In 1002, it was mentioned in the will of Roger I, Count of Carcassonne, who bequeathed the fortress to his youngest child, Bernard. In effect, the family ruling over the region were installed here which allowed them to control access to the upper Ariège valley and to keep surveillance from this strategic point over the lower land, protected behind impregnable walls.

In 1034, the castle became capital of the County of Foix and played a decisive role in medieval military history. During the two following centuries, the castle was home to Counts with shining personalities who became the soul of the Occitan resistance during the crusade against the Albigensians. The county became a privileged refuge for persecuted Cathars.

The castle, often besieged (notably by Simon de Montfort in 1211 and 1212), resisted assault and was only taken once, in 1486, thanks to treachery during the war between two branches of the Foix family.

From the 14th century, the Counts of Foix spent less and less time in the uncomfortable castle, preferring the Governors' Palace. From 1479, the Counts of Foix became Kings of Navarre and the last of them, made Henri IV of France, annexed his Pyrrenean lands to France.

As seat of the Governor of the Foix region from the 15th century, the castle continued to ensure the defence of the area, notably during the Wars of Religion. Alone of all the castles in the region, it was exempted from the destruction orders of Richelieu (1632-1638).

Until the Revolution, the fortress remained a garrison. Its life was brightened with grand receptions for its governors, including the Count of Tréville, captain of musketeers under Louis XIII and Marshal Philippe Henri de Ségur, one of Louis XVI's ministers. The Round Tower, built in the 15th century, is the most recent, the two square towers having been built before the 11th century. They served as a political and civil prison for four centuries until 1862.

Since 1930, the castle has housed the collections of the Ariège départemental museum. Sections on prehistory, Gallo-Roman and mediaeval archaeology tell the history of Ariège from ancient times. Currently, the museum is rearranging exhibits to concentrate on the history of the castle site so as to recreate the life of Foix at the time of the Counts.