Old Fortress | Corfu | Defying the Resilience and Beauty of Ramparts and Bastions
Updated: Oct 12
George Papadellis | SG Head
with some good tips from AI
Nestled on a rocky promontory jutting out into the azure waters of the Ionian Sea, Old Fortress Corfu stands tall as a testament to the island's rich and complex history. This impressive structure has been a symbol of power, resilience, and beauty for over four centuries, and continues to captivate visitors from around the world with its imposing ramparts, magnificent bastions, and breathtaking views. In this article, we take a closer look at the fascinating history of Old Fortress Corfu, explore its many architectural wonders, and discover the many reasons why this iconic landmark remains a must-see destination for anyone visiting the island.
History of the Old Fortress
Old Fortress Corfu, also known as Palaio Frourio, was built in the 15th century by the Venetians, who ruled the island at the time. The fortress was designed to protect the city from invaders and pirates, and was strategically located at the entrance of the old port of Corfu. It was constructed through the separation of the promontory from the rest of the city of Corfu by creating the Contrafossa, a sea channel connecting the Gulf of Kerkyra to the North with the Bay of Garitsa to the South. This act converted the citadel into an artificial island. Over the centuries, Old Fortress Corfu has witnessed numerous battles and sieges, and has been occupied by various conquerors, including the French, the British, and the Greeks. It is remarkable to say that this extraordinary construction provided defense and victory against all three major Ottoman sieges: the siege of 1537, the siege of 1571 and the siege of 1716. Despite its turbulent past, the fortress has managed to survive and thrive, thanks to its robust construction, its strategic location, and its cultural and historical significance.
The Architectural Wonders
One of the most impressive features of Old Fortress Corfu is its massive walls, which are up to 40 feet thick in some places. The walls are made of local limestone and were constructed using a technique known as "opus quadratum," which involves interlocking large blocks of stone without the use of mortar. Another remarkable feature of the fortress is the elaborate system of bastions and towers that dot its perimeter. These structures were designed to provide additional protection and firepower, and are a testament to the Venetians' military expertise and engineering skills. Inside the fortress, visitors can admire the many historic buildings and monuments that have survived the centuries. These include the British-built Church of St. George, the Venetian Arsenal, and the Governor's Palace, which now houses the Museum of Byzantine and Post-Byzantine Art. Visitors can also explore the maze of tunnels and underground passages that crisscross the fortress, and discover the secrets and mysteries that lie hidden beneath its walls.
Castel a Terra | Photo by: iStock.com | sdbower
A Must-See Destination
There are many reasons why Old Fortress Corfu is a must-see destination for anyone visiting the island. For one, the fortress is an architectural masterpiece that showcases the ingenuity and skill of its builders. It is also a symbol of the island's rich and complex history, and offers visitors a glimpse into the many cultures and civilizations that have left their mark on Corfu. In addition, the fortress offers stunning views of the Ionian Sea and the city of Corfu, making it a perfect spot for photography and sightseeing. It is also a popular venue for cultural events, including concerts, festivals, and exhibitions, and is a vibrant hub of activity that attracts locals and tourists alike. Last but not least, the Fortress was the location of a scene from the James Bond firm "For Your Eyes Only" in which the car of the enemy of Bond gets pushed off a cliff.
Much More Than a Landmark
Old Fortress Corfu is much more than just a historic landmark or a tourist attraction. It is a living testament to the island's rich and complex history, and a symbol of the resilience and beauty that have characterized the people of Corfu for centuries. Whether you are a history buff, an architecture enthusiast, or just looking for a breathtaking view, Old Fortress Corfu is a must-see destination that will leave you spellbound and in awe of its many wonders.