Corfu – A magical Greek island in Greece

Posted by on September 24, 2012 in Corfu | Comments Off

The Greek god of the sea, Poseidon, fell in love with the beautiful nymph, Korkyra. As gods often did, he simply kidnapped a bride, and whisked her off to an unnamed island where they enjoyed a time of marital bliss. Poseidon was so enamored of his lovely wife, he offered to name the island for her – Korkyra, which is now better known as Corfu Island Greece. And this is Corfu island – a romance between beauty and power, intimately tied to the water. The island’s position between the mainland of Greece and Western Europe has made it a perfect geographic stepping stone, as well as a target for the Persians, Sicilians, Romans, Venetians, Turks, French, and British. In 1864, Corfu Island was finally ceded to Greece, in accordance with the Corfiots most ardent wishes. The history of ongoing battles and conquests can still be deciphered today. It is seen in the two castles enclosing the main city of Corfu Greece, still called Kerkyra Greece by the Greeks.

The more commonly known name, Corfu, comes from the Italian corruption of the word koryphai, which means crests. Again, this refers to the site of the two fortresses. Corfu Greece is an Ionian Island, a 60 km long sickle shaped formation with its hollowed side looking toward Albania. The island is separated from Albania by straits varying from 3 to 23 km across. This protected side, on the inside of the curve, is home to the town and harbor of Corfu. The Ionian University in Greece is also located here. Two high, well defined mountain ranges divide this Greek island into three parts. In the north it is mountainous. The less-steep central portion rolls into the third area, the low lying southlands. The interior has traditionally been quiet with not much tourism. These are the agricultural lands, away from the rocky coasts, the salt water and the pirates. Corfu boats 217 km of coastline.

This island is steeped in history. Homer mentioned it, naming the fruits grown here – olive, oil olive, pear, pomegranate, apple, fig and vine (grapes). Although pears and apples are not grown here much any more, all the other fruits prized by Homer still thrive on Corfu island. Corfu Greece has long been an important port of call, the source for olive oil. The island’s port city terminates in a Venetian citadel, cut off from the rest of the city by a natural gully that functions much like a marina. The old city, with the fortifications, offers a labyrinth of narrow, cobbled streets, many too narrow for any kind of vehicular traffic. Modern residents keep these streets bright and sparkling. In World War II, Corfu Greece was bombed by German aircraft, destroying most of the buildings on the island of Corfu. Visitors can still find remains of a temple built to honor Poseidon, numerous monasteries, and a German palace. But Corfu island, protected by St. Spyridon survives. St. Spyridon expelled the plague in medieval times. St. Spyridon appeared to Turks besieging Corfu, causing a panic and saving the city. Corfu island survives and thrives, and every year August 11 they celebrate their patron Saint Spyridon’s feast

 

Source : Corfu Today.com