The city of
in consequence of its historical links with a variety of foreign rulers,
contains numerous buildings of special interest. These may be broadly divided
into those of the Venetian and British periods, though there are traces also
of French influence.
The most elegant of the Venetian buildings is the historic
in baroque style, between Evgeniou Voulgareos Street and a modern
square. It was first built between 1663 and 1691 as an open arcade, a
loggia, a sheltered meeting-place for the nobility. It is built of hard
limestone and is decorated on its two main frontages with stone masks and
medallions bearing various historical inscriptions and symbols. In 1720, it
was converted into a theatre ‘San Giacomo’.
On the central
Evgeniou Voulgareos Street
still stands the crenellated belfry of the
Church of the Annunciation,
a venerable building from the end of the fourteenth century. In it were many
funerary monuments with inscriptions. Practically the whole building was
destroyed in World War II bombing, and the only remains are the belfry, two
inscriptions and a bas-relief representing war trophy.
Known as the
the arcaded buildings on the north side of the Lower Esplanade were
planned during the Imperial French Occupation. Begun in 1807, they are
reminiscent of the larger and longer ‘Arcades’ of the Rue de Rivoli in Paris,
which were built at about the same time.
The Palace of St. Michael and St. George,
which is generally considered the finest of the British buildings in Corfu,
stands along the northern side of the Esplanade on the site formerly
occupied by a Venetian military hospital. The
design and supervision being constructed by Sir George Whitmore who drew it in
the Georgian style, and is thus responsible for the first neo-classical
building in Greece. Work started in 1819, and the Palace was inaugurated on
St. George’s Day, 1823. It was the official residence of the Lord High
Commissioner up to the end of Protectorate and was at the same time the seat
of Order of St. Michael and St. George which had been instituted in 1818 to
honor distinguished British and local officials serving under the British
Crown in Malta and the Ionian Isles. Since April 1981 the robes, medals and
other insignia of the Order are displayed in special showcases in the throne
room of the Palace.
the west front of the Palace stands the elegant arcaded building which now
Reading Society of Corfu,
the oldest Cultural Institution in modern Greece, founded in 1836. It
contains a unique library dealing with the history and culture of Corfu and
the other Ionian Islands; as well as a collection of manuscripts, pamphlets,
newspapers, broadsheets, periodicals, engravings, paintings and maps.
At the northern
is an outstanding example of neo-classical architecture. It was built in 1853
for a brother of John Capodistrias. The building, with its marble façade and
Corinthian pilasters of pink stone from local quarries, is considered one of
the most beautiful in Greece.
In the little
paved square off Nikiphorou Theotoki Street stands the handsome
building of the
which built in 1846 displays a well-proportioned façade with finely detailed
Ionian pilasters and pediment. A complete collection of Greek and Ionian paper
money from 1839 up to the present day is on display in the first floor of the
At the extreme
end of Moustoxydi Street stands the historic
building in neo-classical style, with a Doric portico.
STAMATOPOULOS, N.: Old
K. Mihalas s.a., Athens, 1993
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