Having been the capital of the island for so long, it’s only natural for Corfu Town to be the one locality of utmost importance for the economic, cultural and political life of Corfu. Yet, Corfu Town is also treasured as a major tourist hub of the island, the main assets this town capitalizes in view of appealing to tourists pertaining to its historic heritage. Indeed, the architectural landmarks in Corfu range, as to their origins and notable influences, from Venetian times to French and British rules, but somehow the town has managed to preserve its Greek dash, holding true, at the same time, that Corfu Town is rather atypical as compared to its Greek counterparts precisely due to the historic circumstances which have left their traces on the city. As a result, the town in general and the Old Town in particular offer exquisite landscapes worth exploring and enjoying.
Corfu Old Town lies on the northern side of the capital and it is bordered by two extremely valuable landmarks, namely, the Old Fortress (Palaio Frourio) and the New Fortress (Neo Frourio). At present, the Old Fortress hosts the Sound and lights Shows taking place in Corfu until late September. In addition, it also hosts a Conference Center and the Municipal Library, whereas the New Fortress offers stunning views both to Mount Pantokrator and to the mainland Greece and Albania, towering, at the same time, the entire Corfu Town. The New Fortress also hosts the Museum of Ceramic Art and occasional performances. These two landmarks pertain to the Venetian heritage, being named this way due to the fact they have been built some 30 years apart from each other. Yet, however precise might the borders of the Old Town be, its core is more than puzzling, at least as far as newcomers are concerned. The general maze-like lay out of its streets can only be successfully covered if tourists establish exact reference marks, and a good starting point for exploring the Old Town is represented by the Esplanade (or Spinada), the highlights of which refer to the Maitland Rotunda, a notable landmark.
The Espalande takes pride in being the largest square in the Balkans, and the nearby Liston promenade lures tourists with its Venetian style architecture which shelters countless coffee shops enabling wonderful opportunities of spending leisure time. All in all, getting lost is highly unlikely to happen, and even in this event, one should always enjoy the discoveries they might make. Another landmark likely to be unveiled by the occasional straying refers to the Corfu Town Hall, an exquisite work of art built in 1663 in a ravishing Venetian style, whereas the northern part of the town is towered, from a tourist point of view, by three major museums: the Byzantine Museum (located in the Andivouniotissa Church), the Solomos Museum and the Museum of Asian Art. The Palace of St. Michael and St. George (also referred to as the Royal or the Old Palace) is the one to host the Museum of Asian Art. Several religious establishments are also located in the Old Town, of which the most significant are the St. Spyridon Church (Agios Spiridhonas) and the Greek Orthodox Cathedral. Southwards from the St. Spyridon there is the Ionian Bank Museum of Banknotes, otherwise known as the Paper Money Museum, also interesting to tick off. Obviously, the Old Town of Corfu is nothing but endowed, which is a strong incentive for any visitor who wants to get to know the town and the island as to what is more significant to its historical, architectural and cultural heritage.
Yet, Corfu Town does not come down to what its old part has to offer in terms of tourist highlights. On the contrary, the Archeological Museum is of utmost value for the cultural heritage of the island, its most impressive exhibit being represented by the Gorgon Medusa statue, a reputed piece of art symbolic of the entire Greece mythology. The Grave Monument of Menekrates is a noteworthy archeological item, dating back to the 6th century, though it is no as popular with tourists as expected. All in all, it is worth visiting. Another archeological pride of Corfu Town refers to the Ancient Site of Palaiopolis, close to Mon Repos, which hosts the ruins of a former religious establishment, namely, Agia Kerkyra, several times built on the ancient remains of a pagan temple (dating back to the 5th century BC), but repeatedly destroyed.
The Roman Baths are, however, the most important remains belonging to this ancient site, but the Temple of Kardaki (apparently erected in view of worshiping Apollo around the 6th century BC) and the ruins of a temple allegedly dedicated to Hera, the largest of the entire island of Corfu, dating back to the 4th century BC should not be disregarded. The Temple of Artemis is closely located to this Archeological Site, and despite the fact it displays a rather incoherent set of findings, it is valuable as to the archeological heritage of the island – the Gorgon Medusa statue in the Archeological Museum having been extracted from this temple, for that matter. Other attractions in Corfu Town may indicate two religious establishments, namely, the Church of St. Jason and St. Sosipater, the only genuine and complete Byzantine church in Corfu, and to the Monastery of Platytera where the famous Ioannis Kapodistrias (after which the Corfu International Airport has been named in honoring the deeds of this notable figure) is buried. The bottom line is Corfu Town in its entirety has plenty of offering to its tourists, a feature substantiated by the numerous objectives it is replete with.