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Old Fortress of Corfu
I’m embarking on my assault of the old fortress of Corfu. No, I am not climbing all of that, and mercifully St George’s church, my main target, is fairly low down on the hill.
Speaking of assaults, this is the sculpture raised to Marshal Schulenburg, who defended Corfu for the Venetians against the Ottomans in 1716.
The street leading up to the new fortress is named for him, but is named for him in the typical distorted assimilation of 19th century Greek: Σχολεμβούργου (Skholemvourgou). They were trying to maintain the connection to “school” in the name.
TIL: At the onset of the dark ages, 6th century, the settlement of Corfu retreated into the well-defended fortress. What is now the town was settled, but used to be called the outer town (Xopoli). The very British park that I encountered on my way here, the Spianada, was a kind of moat between the two settlements— which is why the British found it not built over, and were able to make parkland out of it.
The moat of the Old Fortress has to be seen to be believed:
The Byzantine art collection in the old fortress of Corfu, housed in its guardhouse, is small but impressive.
I noted that the icons at St Spyridon were unmistakably Italian baroque. In the early 17th century though, icons were still being painted Byzantine style, as seen in this icon taken from the Church of Our Lady Opposite the Mountain (Antivouniotisa), which unsurprisingly is now the Byzantine Museum of Corfu (and which I ended up missing).
Above the guardhouse, I espied this inscription:
Yes, surprise surprise, this is not Venetian, it’s the old British army barracks.
I don’t get it. If the old British army barracks host the public library of Corfu, does that mean that people have to pay 6 euros admission to go to the library? What about the parishioners of the Church of St George? Does the church of St George even have any parishioners here?
The barracks of the new, British, boss, and then a reminder: the symbol of the old, Venetian boss: the Lion of St Mark’s.
And after that, the vote of unification with the even newer boss: Greek tourists trying to decipher the ancient Greek of the vote of the local parliament, welcoming the admission of the Ionian islands into the Kingdom of Greece in 1864.
The crest of the king of Greece is still on the front gate of the fortress: “my strength is the love of my people”.