Corfu Old Town is a beautiful medieval-style city influenced by the 411 years of Venetian rule. It is the old historic center of Corfu with the most sightseeing and monuments.The heart of Kerkyra is the old city which is the easternmost part of the town, between the new fortress at the west and the old fortress in the East.The modern town is in continuity to the west and south and expands beyond the new fortress, in a large urban area that fils the center of the island’s east coast.
Corfu does not look like any other Greek city, its architecture and most other elements of its cultural identity are not so Greek but influenced by many conquerors who ruled the island through the centuries. The Venetian character remains unchanged due to the preservation of almost all the Italian architecture buildings scattered all over the place. Corfu town has old tall buildings, separated by slopes and narrow streets called Kantounia.
There are important signs and remnants left after the 50 years of British domination with the palace of St Michael and St George being the most important. Also monuments from the French occupation too, Liston to be one of them.Old monuments of Byzantine origin are preserved with the best known to be the old fortress fortified for the first time by the Byzantines.Also, various other conquerors during the island’s turbulent history left their marks.
During the short time that the French remained in Corfu, they left important signs of their presence with the most important of them the Liston. This series of buildings with arched galleries on the west of Esplanade square is with no doubt one of the most beautiful buildings in Corfu.Liston today is the most cosmopolitan spot of the city while these buildings were the barracks for the French army back then.
In 1888 Elisabeth of Bavaria, Empress of Austria, commissioned a summer residence at this elevated setting about 10 kilometres south of Corfu City.This Neoclassical palace was designed by the Italian architect Raffaele Caritto with the hero Achilles as its central theme.The illustrious German sculptor Ernst Herter produced statues inspired by Greek mythology for the grounds (the most famous shows Achilles in his death throes). You can tour the gardens, enriched with balustrades, a colonnade, fountains and Herter’s statues amid palms and trimmed cypress trees.The interior is a museum full of memorabilia relating to Elisabeth of Bavaria, Franz Joseph II, as well as the next occupant, Kaiser Wilhelm II. Upstairs there’s a massive painting of Achilles dragging the body of Hector from his chariot by the Austrian artist Franz Matsch, and the dining hall is decorated with stucco cherubs on blue walls.