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Benitses of 1950, the Harbor, the Fishing Boats and the Celebrities

Last updated on January 9th, 2022 at 01:09 pm

Benitses of 1950

In the following photos we can see what Benitses like in 1950.

We can see the two characteristic creeks, the Port and Koutsomaroula bay, as they appear from the hill of Agios Stefanos.

We also see the beach, the boats with the lamps, and generally how early tourism coexisted along with other economic activities since we see hotels and water sports and on the other side residents continuing to fish professionally.

Fishing with purse seine – gri gri

In Benitses in the 50s, there were several fishing boats which we called gri gri.
Two of them were the larger, Saint Demetrios or “red” because of It’s red color and the Agia Triada (Holy Trinity) which also had the name “Binitsiotiko” or “grey” due to its grey color.

Every evening they left the harbor, towing behind them their large utility boat called “pisino” followed by the small boats with the lamps (pyrofania).
Fishing was as follows, the small boats were scattered in prominent locations to enable their lights to attract the fish when sufficient fish were in the area of light, the small boats called the mother ship, which arrived in the spot and surrounded the area with nets.

Depending on the size of the shoals of fish, there were some nights when the nets were being cast and pulled in several times.
In these two fishing boats, most of the people worked who were involved in fishing and also other fishermen from neighboring villages.
Of course, there were also many other boats too that were operated by their owners.

The grey gri gri Agia Triada had a stocky shape and was bought by the residents with resources from the Marshall plan for reconstruction after World War 2.
These fishing ships finally stopped their operation just before 1980, by which time most of the inhabitants worked in the tourist industry.
In the following photos, we see scenes of the departures of these ships, also there are scenes showing how other fishermen landed the catch on the shore.

Celebrities of the 50s in Benitses

At this time, famous actors and several wealthy foreign visitors had started to visit Benitses, the island of Corfu after all was always attractive to the international elite, long before any other part of Greece.

And who has not been here then, read about on the page for tourism development.

There are no pictures of most of them because only a few people had cameras at that time.
But the wealthy Manessis family had cameras and so thanks to them we have a few pictures of celebrities of the 50s, regular visitors to Benitses as the older residents remember.
See below some photos, mainly with Vivien Leigh and the English artist and set designer Roger Furse, pictures were taken in 1960.

Beekeeping in Benitses of the past

Among the economic activities, it was also beekeeping.
Many residents had hives scattered in various parts of Benitses.

On the farm of San Stefano, among other agricultural activities, there was a well-organized beekeeping unit with several hives.
Occasionally, the residents gathered to learn new methods and the secrets of the bees, that were almost seminars on beekeeping.
In the following photos, Stefanos Manesis explains to people new methods and also helps the youngsters to learn the job.

Mouse island at 1950

Mouse island in the 1950s, the islet guarding the entrance of Chalikiopoulos lagoon, where the port was in ancient times.

Thanks to these old photos we see why it has become the trademark of Corfu, a beautiful and magical virginal scene without hotels and buildings in the surrounding area, only the sky, the sea, and the endless green of the landscape.

All Benitses old photos
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