27 May, 2020

Why is Corfu called Corfu?

It is one of the great paradoxes that occurs with the translation of this country. It is not enough that Greece is called Greece and not Hellas, we also have an issue with the foreign name of Corfu.
Some have noticed, others have not. But the question is: Why is Corfu called Corfu?
One would expect the foreign name of an area to be the same or at least close to the corresponding domestic one.
In the case of Corfu, however, this is not the case. This is because the name that prevailed abroad is completely different from that used in Greece.
In fact, it is a completely different word.
The word Corfu comes from the Doric Korkyra which was also the first name of the island. Other names that the Ionian island had from time to time were Drepanis and Makris due to its elongated shape.
The word Corfu in turn comes from the Greek word Koryfo, which was the name of the island during the Byzantine era.
According to one version, the name is due to the fact that the first thing one sees when approaching the island are two peaks, that of Mount Pantokrator and Stravoskiadi, both at an altitude of just under 1000 meters.
However, according to another version, Koryfo or Koryfi, where the name Corfu came from, with which the island is known outside Greece, has its roots in the Middle Ages.
In particular, it is believed that the strange name probably came from the two fortified peaks of the medieval city, where the old fortress is located.

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Costas Palikyras

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