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Corfu, Right Turn #1: Into the Spianada
After following the coastline north from Douglas Obelisk (and that took a false start or two itself), I finally caught sight, not of the Old City itself, but of the Old City Fortress. (As I found out later, that was the Old City in early Byzantine times.)
The ancient Greek looking bit on the fortress is the Anglican church of St George, built in 1840 for the British soldiers at the fortress in predictably ancient Grecian garb, and turned over to the Orthodox church when Corfu was turned over to Greece. I made a note that it was a must-see for me.
I then turned around into what I vaguely called “the park” at the time; subsequently I found out “the park” had a name, the Spianada. (Venetian for Standard Italian Spianata, “Esplanade”.) Behind the Esplanade, the Old Town was clearly visible, so this was a right turn, not a wrong turn.
At the start of the Esplanade used to be Douglas’ Obelisk. It has been replaced by a statue of John Capodistria, first head of state of independent Greece, born here. It only took him 3 years to be assassinated for trying to curb the power of warlords. It took a lot more decades than that for anyone of comfortable stature to rule Greece.
The Spianada is very grand, very British, and impossibly out of place in Greece. Greeks do occasionally do parks, but nothing on this scale.
The Rotunda commemorates, predictably enough in Ancient Greek, the arrival of Thos. Maitland in 1815, after Corfu was the last island to be wrested from the French, to assume rule as governor of the islands. The sequence went: Venice (1204) > Napoleonic France (1799) > autonomy under Russian–Ottoman condominium (1800–1807) > France > island-hopping conquest by Britain (1809–1814) > Greece (1864).