Ionian Academy | Corfu | The Sparkle of Greek Education
Updated: Jun 14
The Ionian Academy was the first academic institution of modern Greece, established by Frederick North, 5th Earl of Guilford, in 1824.
The imposing three-storey building is located in the southwestern part of Spianada Square. It has a central entrance with a double stone staircase and overlooks the square and the Old Fortress. It was originally built to be used for the Grimani and Correr barracks.
The schools of the Academy taught the Law, Medics and Philology. One of the most important teachers in the Academy was Andreas Kalvos, who taught philosophy during the years 1826-1827, 1836-1837 and 1840-1841. In 1828 Dionysios Solomos settled permanently on the island until his death (1857), composing in this place the works of his mature period and crystallizing his theories about language.
In 1827, after the death of Frederick North, the financial resources of the Ionian Academy were severely curtailed and its decline began slowly. Until 1941, the building housed the Municipal Library and High School, while in 1943 it was burned by German bombing.
In 1864, with the unification of the Ionian Islands with the Kingdom of Greece, the Academy was closed to support the establishment of the University of Athens.
About half a century later, it was rebuilt for the needs of the Ionian University.