Must-see Attractions of Corfu
Mouse island (Pontikonisi)
Everybody knows the picturesque Mouse island at the entrance of Gulf of Halikiopoulos – it is the trademark of Corfu.On this tiny islet is the Byzantine Church of Pantokrator surrounded by dense vegetation.It is easy to visit as from the beach below Kanoni several small boats sail there regularly.
The name probably came from the size and especially the shape of the island, as to some it looked like the known rodent, although in our opinion the island does not look at all like a mouse, even with a large dose of imagination is nowhere near the mouse form but rather resembles like a boat, so the following mythological approach suits better.
Homer tells in Odyssey, that this was the boat of Phaecian Corfiots carrying Odysseus (Ulysses) home to Ithaca, the gods became displeased by this and transformed the ship into stone when it entered the port and before the sailors could embark.The boat was then changed into an island, so according to Greek mythology, Mouse Island is a petrified boat.
The Kaizer`s Bridge
The Kaizer’s bridge was built at the beginning of the 20th century and was used by Kaiser Wilhelm the second to moor his yacht, and also to go from the Achilleion Palace to the sea and enjoy swimming away from prying eyes.
It lies 2 km north of Benitses, and was blown up during World War 2 as the German troops needed to get their tanks through the low arch.So the Germans destroyed something made by another German.
Spianada(Esplanade) square and Liston
The Esplanade is the central square of Corfu and a meeting place for residents and visitors, surrounded by the streets of Iroon Politecniou at the east and north, Eleftherias and Kapodistriou to the West and Akadimias Street in the South, and crossed in the middle by Dousmanis street.Built in the style of the Royal Gardens of Europe it is the largest square in the Balkans and one of the largest in Europe.
In the square`s bandstand there are often concerts and other events, especially during the summer.Cricket matches are also frequently played there.Cricket is purely British sport which has been enthusiastically adopted by the Corfiots since the period of English domination of the island.
There are 12 cricket clubs and two other pitches on the island.Corfu Cricket team is the only cricket team in Greece and so is the Greek National Cricket team also.To one side of the square is the popular pedestrian area of The Liston with its French architectural buildings (modeled on the Rue de Rivoli in Paris) and numerous cafes.
The construction of The Liston began in 1807 by Napoleon, the sole purpose of the buildings construction was to house the French army.It was completed in 1814.The buildings were designed by French architect Lesseps and implemented with the assistance of the Greek engineer Ioannis Parmezan.Corfu Liston is a complex of buildings facing the Esplanade, with arched ground-floor galleries which the locals call “Volta”
The name was given by the word “list” which arrives from the Greek word “lista” that was used for the lista of the Nobles (Libro d `Oro) as at the old days only the nobility were able to walk in this part in the city.Today, the arcades of Liston are the busiest part of Corfu, it is filled with cafes, restaurants and craft shops in general, and one that is busy all year round .The walk in front of the Liston`s arches is something that every Corfiot does and taking coffee in one of The Liston`s cafes is a daily habit for many Corfiots.
The Church of Saint Spiridon and the Cathedral
The most famous religious monument of the city, its construction clearly influenced by Italian art, is on the street of Kalochairetou in front of the Heroes square known as ‘plakado toy Agiou”.
In this church lies the remains of the patron saint and protector of Corfu, Agios Spiridon, which was moved to Corfu from Constantinople soon after the Turkish conquest in 1453.Saint Spiridon.According to tradition saved the inhabitants from famine, pestilence, and twice from the incursions of the Turks in 1673 and 1716.
The roof of the church is impressive depicting scenes from the lives of saints and evangelists.The relics of Saint Spiridon are stored in a 19th century silver casket.It is a sacred relic of the church and the reverence shown to it is a mark of the religious faith of Corfu.Among the many Corfu churches, the Cathedral with the relics of Agia Theodora, in the old port, is also very interesting.
Mon Repos palace is a neoclassical building at the east of Paleopolis, the Corfu ancient city.Built at 1830 by the British Commissioner Sir Frederick Adam in the beggining of the peninsula of Kanoni opposite the ruins of Paleopolis, it is a nice building but not as big and magnificent as the Achilleion palace.
It has well laid out gardens surrounded by old Greek monuments of ancient Corfu and spectacular sea views of all the eastern coast of Corfu island.After the union with Greece in 1864 was granted to the former royal family and was used as their summer residence.
Today it belongs to the Greek state and is used by the Municipality of Corfu, mainly for authoritative or festive meetings.Mon Repos has been transformed into a museum and a historic place with a large park full of archaeological treasures which can be visited by all.
Is an ideal place for pleasant walks under the shade of very large and old trees.One of the most interesting exhibitions is the collection of old Corfu photographs most interesting and informative.The museum is open to the public on weekdays from 8 am to 7 pm for a small fee of 4€ while there is usually no charge on weekends.
Also you can buy a combined ticket which include visits to Mon Repos, to Asian museum of art in Corfu town, to Achilleion palace and some other places.There are buses connecting Paleopolis with Corfu town every 40 minutes but the distance is small and can be made on foot in just 15 minutes.Except a front plaque at the entrance there is nothing else in the building that relate it to the birth of Duke of Edinburgh at 1921.