|Preview of Corfu
Corfu, the island of endless natural beauty, the island of
song and music, of unending inspiration, a combination of
the cosmopolitan and the traditional. The island will leave
the visitor with unforgettable memories, excite him with
unparalleled images and touch chords in his soul as he pays
homage to the culture of the seven islands. How can we put
in few words all the elements which make up this earthly
paradise, this place which has been so generously blessed
by God and which has been written about by so many
illustrious writers and poets.
Corfu is the most northernmost and second largest after
Cephalonia of the Ionian islands. Its area covers 592 square
kilometers and the length of the island is 217 kilometers. It
is mountainous with the highest mountain being Mt. Pantokrator
(914 meters) but there are several flat areas, the largest
being the Ropa valley.
two lakes, Korission and Antinioti, and four small rivers
often dry in Summer at Potamos, Sidari, Messogghi and Lefkimi.
The climate is mild without being bitterly cold in Winter and
the Summers are humid. The heavy rainfall and the high
humidity encourage the profuse growth of vegetation.
the island has a lot of greenery, even in Summer. It is the
most densely populated area in Greece after thew great urban
centers of Athens and Thessalonika. According to the latest
census figures, the population of the island is 105.000 with
35.000 people living in the town.
of Corfu depends mainly on the tourist industry but there are
also related industries and services that depend on tourism.
Agricultural production is not large. The chief products are
olive oil, wine, vegetables and the unique type of Kumquat
Other Details: The island
takes its name from the nymph Corkira, daughter of the river
Assopos with whom Poseidon fell in love and kidnapped, taking
her to Corfu.
produced Faikas, the first King of the island. He was
succeeded by his brother Nausithos who was the father of
Alkinos, who played his part in the Odessey.
name Corfu came from the new town that was created in the old
fortress on the twin peaks, meaning the town on the peaks.
of Corfu is the «ancient warship», the well-known trireme in
which to prove their nautical skills the sea men were so
exceptional, that they could travel in their ships without a
Civilization: At the time
of Venetian Rule, there was an intellectual Community that
kept the seven islands in touch with development in Western
Europe. It helped to educate many people in writing and in
art. Many Corfiots, having taken their first lessons on the
island, continued their education at the main universities of
Italy because of its proximity and the influence of Venice.
Like all the
Greeks who were abroad, Cofriots took an interest in the
cultivation of classical studies and took definite steps to
help preserve the Greek language. They published in Venice,
where a Greek community had formed, writings about the Greek
language and its grammatical structure.
Greek classics were translated as well. In the 18th century,
literature started to flourish in Corfu with the emergence of
the brilliant writers,Eugene Voulgaris (1716-1806) and
Nikiforos Theotokis (1731-1800) who were known as the leaders
of their generation due to the significance of their work.
Voulgaris wrote a mammoth work called "Logic" which
was published in Lipsia in 1766, and Theotokis offered much to
scientific enquiry of the time, writing about physics and
foundation of the Ionian Academy by Gilford, a great admirer
of Greece, education in Corfu underwent a dramatic increase as
great men came to the island and many gained reputations. At
the first Greek University, philosophers and logicians taught,
including such men as Petros Vrailas, Armenis, Andreas
Moustoxidis, Athanasios Politis, Andreas Idromenos, who left a
wealth of literature.
initiative of Petros Vrailas-Armenis, the first Intellectual
Foundation was established, the Education Center in 1836.
Solomos, our great national poet, came to Corfu from Zakinthos
in 1825 and stayed for the rest of his life,exerting great
influence through his personality and his leadership of the
intellectual life of the island.
At the same
time, the other great poet from Zakinthos, Andreas Kalvos
(1792-1863) the writer of "Odes", moved to the
island and taught at the Ionian University.
the example of Solomos,Gerassimos Markoras (1826-1911)
produced significant poetic works, his best one being the epic
lyric poem "Orkos".
Jacob Polilas (1826-1898), another follower of Solomos, left
his mark on the culture of the seven islands with major
literary criticism and theoretical works.
Later at the
end of the 19th century there was outstanding work by the
students of Jacob Polilas, Dinos Theotokis (1872-1923) and
Lorenzo Mavilis (1860-1912). Dinos Theotokis was the first
writer to socialistic books about ordinary people into Greek
literature. His works include "Honour and
Money","Slaves and their commitment", "The
Mavilis wrote sensual, romantic sonnets about his great love
for nature and his homeland. Running parallel to the
flourishing of literature was the development of science and
fine arts in Corfu.
exceptionally talented sculptor, Pavlos Prossalendis,founded
the first Fine Art School in Greece in 1811. He produced many
wonderful works,among them the Statue of Adam and the copper
bust of Maitland which are situated in the square in front of
the Palace of St. Michael and St. George.
flourishes when great painters such as Michael Damaskinos and
Panagiotis Doxaras come to the island, create and teach. Later
make their appearance great Corfiot painters, Angelos
Giallinas specialist in aquarelles who studied deeply the
Corfiot landscape, and George Samargis with his exquisite
tradition of Corfu harks back to ancient times. Homer refers
to the great musician Dimodokos, who entertained Ulysses
during his stay on the island of Faikes.
period of Venetian Rule, one of the first lyric theatres of
Europe was created, and musical appreciation was developed to
a high degree.
composer Nicholas Mangaros (Mantzaros) wrote the music for the
national anthem which was written by the esteemed poet
and friend of Mangaros (Mantzaros), Spiros Xindas, composed
for Solomos and Markoras and he created the first Greek
operettas which achieved great success in the St. Jaco- co
great internationally acclaimed Corfiot composer Spiros
Samaras,wrote the Olympic An- them. He is also known for hies
opera "Rea" with lyrics by Costas Palamas.
Philarmonic Orchestra was founded in 1840 and in 1890 the
"Mangaros Philarmonic Group" was formed. Today on
the island there are 15 philharmonic bands which perform
various tunes for thee litanies and processions which continue
the musical tradition of the island.
also choirs,cantada groups,dance dramas,classical music
groups,dance schools, folk music groups,musical and theatrical
presentations which reveal the cultural face of contemporary
and song is in the souls of the residents of the island,is
plain to see and even appears in the musical cadences of
people's speech. People with such a civilized identity as the
Corfiots can't possibly not have a plethora of customs that
have been built up and kept through the passing of the years.
important are followed during the carnival period and at
Easter in the town, and there are also the traditional
festivals with singing and dancing in the villages.