The Old Historic Buildings of Benitses

Posted in: Benitses All Info 0

Last updated on February 17th, 2022 at 10:52 am

In Benitses there are some very old and beautiful buildings, some of them more than 5 centuries old.

We tried to collect as much information we could about the most important of them, it was really difficult as most old people who knew about are dead, and the living ones are so old that they can’t remember much or strangely don’t want to talk about.

Here is what we have learned about these houses with the promise to add as much information as we can in the future.

The tall building at the entrance of Benitses old port

This beautifully tall and slim neoclassical building was built right at the banks of the river that embarked at the old Benitses port when the main road that leads up to the old village was a river.

It must be older than 4 centuries old, but details from its early history are not known.

Vandoros old house and Kefalonitis restaurant-1960
Vandoros old house and Kefalonitis restaurant-1960

Owners during the early 20th century were the three Vandoros brothers, Memas, and Aggelos who were traders in Corfu’s Jewish sector, and Spiros who was a lawyer.

EDES, a rightwing partisan group leading by Napoleon Zervas, had its headquarters in Vandoros building from 1945 to 1949, just after the war.

Serafim was a priest living in Messonghi, who later became Archbishop, he was a member of this rightwing partisan group of EDES, he used to go around the area always riding on a horse.

An Italian family with 2 daughters was living on the first floor during the Italian occupation(1941-1943)

In the same building, on the ground floor, and after 1949, the traders Matios and Likouris open a general commercial shop, they sold potatoes, onions, etc. Οnce they have been ripped at the area of St. Jonh of pigeons by a gang of Greeks from southern Albania, their leader was the grandfather of today’s a hotelier in Corfu.

From 1953 to 1958 the ground floor was a barbershop run by Yiannis Kontos(Bourelas) and from 1958 to 1971 was one of the two kafeneions that existed in Benitses before the 80s.

This was the kafenion Skaloma named by the name of the area, indeed the area around the port and at the seaside is called Skaloma.

Benitses cafe Skaloma-1967
Benitses cafe Skaloma-1967

Today the building belongs to Bellos family as they buy it in 1971 from Spiros Vandoros.

The Grapevine Restaurant of Nikos Bellos, or else Klimataria, is operating today on the ground floor.

The other building of the photo – Finanza

The other building of the photo doesn’t exist today, it was called Finanza back at 1941 and used to be the headquarters of the Italian occupation army, many members of the resistance were severely tortured inside this building.

Later it became a restaurant owned by Stefanos Kefallonitis until it was demolished before 1974 when the square of Benitses and the new road constructed.

The building of Township

This house was built almost 3 centuries ago and owned by an Italian noble named Palaviccini.

Later it became the property of Varvitsiotis, a family of famous notaries, and after the death of the last family offspring, it was donated to the state for public use, It is known today as the Varvitsiotis Legacy.

In this building were always the offices of the local municipality, many years ago in a small office at the backside of the building while the rest was used as a customs office.

The first customs officer was someone named Harilaos Pateras, during his duty here he married Lina Kouris, a local girl from the wealthy Kouris family.

The custom office moved to Corfu in 1962.

From 1962 to 1965 a school for young women was working in the building, most of these girls were coming from other villages all over Corfu.

Yes, it sounds strange now, but in Greece of the 60s, there were schools teaching young girls how to become good housekeepers.

This school in 1965 moved a few yards further north in another building for few more years until it permanently closed down in 1972.

Girls were living inside the house and many of those met and got married to men from Benitses.

Today the first floor of the building belongs to the municipality and also houses the offices of Benitses Cultural association, while the groundfloor is hired for commercial purposes.

The building of Pagiatis family

Built by an Italian, later the owner was another Italian named Palermo.

Pagiatis house
Pagiatis house

Then the Pagiatis family stayed there for more than 4 decades and the house today belongs to them.

In this new photo, the house is completely renovated and different from the original building.

Photos with old Benitses buildings

Angelokastro: The Castle Next to Paleokastritsa

Last updated on February 16th, 2022 at 11:12 pm

Angelokastro (Angel’s Castle) in Paleokastritsa

Corfu, Aggelokastro in Paleokastritsa
Corfu, Angelokastro in Paleokastritsa

Angelokastro was the westernmost outpost of the Byzantine Empire and the Despotate of Epirus to which Corfu belonged until 1267 AD, it is near the village of Krini north of Paleokastritsa next to a monastery.

Built in the early 12th century AD by the Despot of Epirus Duke Michael-Angelos Komnenos the second, therefore the name Angel’s Castle, and in its prime, in an emergency, it could protect the entire population of the region, about 4000 people.

Inside the castle, two large water tanks and the churches of the Holy Archangels and Agia Kiriaki are preserved.

The church of the Archangels was built in 1784 on the site of an older church.

Agia Kiriaki was built inside a small cave and has 18th-century paintings.

Angelokastro(Angel`s castle) saw many sieges but never fell except once to the Venetians after a six-month siege in 1386.

In 1537 only 8 soldiers of his guard with the help of the residents were needed in order to repel the attack of Barbarossa.

The Turks tried again and failed to conquer the Castle in 1571.

The villages around got their names from the soldiers who took pieces of land to settle on when they retired.

Examples are Makris-Makrades, Vistonas-Vistonas, Doukas-Doukades, Aspiotis-Aspiotades, Kabbadias-Kabbadades, etc.

Today the castle is still standing at the top of the rock and it is a strong tourist attraction, a well-preserved piece of history for this magnificent island.

 

Corfu Blue Bus Routes and Timetable 2022

Last updated on May 29th, 2022 at 08:41 pm

Blue buses in Corfu urban area

Blue bus starting point in Saroko Corfu
The blue bus starting point in Saroko Corfu

The Corfu Blue Bus company has very frequent routes with some villages around Corfu, on the island’s urban fabric.

It connects the city with 12 destinations.

  • Line 7 with Dassia and Ipsos
  • Line No. 2a with Kanoni and Pontikonisi
  • Line 6 with Benitses
  • Line No. 10 with Achilleion
  • Line No. 11 the city with Pelekas
  • Line 8 with Saint John (Aqualand)
  • Line 5 with the villages Kouramades and Kinopiastes
  • Line 14 with Kanalia and Kompitsi
  • Line 4 with Potamos and Evropouli
  • Line 2b with Kefalomandouko
  • And finally, line 15 makes two routes, one to and from the Airport and the other one going to and from the Port.

The starting points are located at two points on Saroko Square and at one point low on Methodiou Avenue.

Click on the pdf for All lines detailed timetable.

Blue Bus Timetable for 2022

Open the pdf files for timetables(Clickable)

Bilingual Corfu Greece Map with English Names

Posted in: Corfu Areas Maps 0

Last updated on January 12th, 2022 at 11:15 pm

This is a new Map of Corfu island in Greece, all names in Greek and English language.

All the dense Corfu’s road network with the main, smaller and rural road is on this map, plus all major villages and places and the smaller settlements around the island.

Corfu Greece map
Corfu Greece map

Corfu Nightlife: Is Corfu a Party Island?

Last updated on February 17th, 2022 at 12:21 am

Corfu nightlife - A Night in Corfu
A Night in Corfu

Is Corfu nightlife vivid?

Corfu offers, and always offered, a vivid nightlife, after all, it has always been one of the most cosmopolitan islands in Greece.

There are many lively bars scattered around the town and much more in the tourist areas of the island.

And if you need something really exciting, for instance, to reach the dawn dancing, meeting people, and enjoying yourself, visit one of the many large nightclubs of Corfu.

Corfu nightlife and clubs can be found in many places as Paleokastritsa, Sidari, Dasia, Ipsos, Acharavi, Moraitika, and of course in Kavos, a British-frequented spot at the southern end of Corfu, with the most notorious nightlife in the island.

There are, and used to be since the 60s, some good and huge nightclubs at the north of Corfu Town, just after the port, in the Ethikis Antistaseos Street(National resistance street), this part of town used to be called Emporiko(Commercial center).

If you prefer a more peaceful way out you can start your night out visiting one of the hundreds of traditional restaurants scattered in every corner of the island and especially in all tourist resorts.

There are small with special style restaurants in very idyllic parts of the old town of Corfu too if you prefer the romantic atmosphere of the Venetian style Town.

You should not miss the bars and cafes inside the heart of the old town, at Liston, next to the huge Esplanade square.

Holidays and nightlife

In Corfu island, there are places with nightlife for every taste. Fun for young people both locals and tourists, and nightlife for Greek tastes.

These places are in the north of the city and in all Corfu resorts around the island. Everywhere you will find bars for those who love good music, and also, all kinds of restaurants that offer culinary treats.

At Kaizer bridge, for example, there is a restaurant where you can eat your dinner on a platform built out over the sea.

Using a car is not essential, although it can be very useful if you want to visit as many Corfu places as possible.

Whatever your tastes are, Corfu can be your favorite Holiday destination. Corfu is an island of huge interest and endless natural resources. An island that offers high-quality holiday standards in a variety of resorts with natural beauty.

Corfu Town: The Charming Old City Guide

Last updated on July 2nd, 2022 at 05:58 am

The Old Town of Corfu

Corfu old town is a beautiful medieval-style city influenced by the 411 years of Venetian rule.

The old historic center of Corfu has the most sights and monuments, it is the heart of Kerkyra and is at the easternmost part of the town, between the new fortress in 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 into a large urban area that fills the center of the island’s east coast.

Corfu town is the only city and the capital of Corfu island, and it is called Kerkyra, the same as the Greek name of the island.

Corfu Town Video

How is old Corfu Town like?

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 architectural buildings scattered all over the place. Corfu town has old tall buildings, separated by slopes and narrow streets called Kantounia, so it looks like a small replica of Venice but without channels.

In addition, 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 still preserved with the most important being the old fortress fortified for the first time by the Byzantines.

Also, other marks were left by various other conquerors during the island’s turbulent history.

Corfu town’s wider urban area today is inhabited by some 45,000 inhabitants, while the Venetian-style old town part has about 20.000 residents. It is a densely populated city, therefore Corfu offers many job opportunities for those who want to stay in it permanently. You can help yourself and find a job in Corfu.

The Old Corfu town part

Esplanade square from Cavalieri hotel's roof
Esplanade square from Cavalieri hotel’s roof

A photo from the roof of the Cavalieri hotel shows a magnificent view of the Esplanade square and the old fortress of Corfu. The entire area is from the Cofineta district at the North up to the sea of north Garitsa bay. You can see the Palace of Saints Michael and George at the far North of the vast square, the kiosk in the middle, and the majestic Old fortress Eastwards.

They say the best way to discover a place is to get lost within it. This is perfectly true for Corfu’s old town. Mostly built around the 19th century, the old town still has some Venetian touches here and there, you just need to keep your eyes peeled to spot them.

Wander around the cobblestone streets, peer into some shops, enjoy a traditional treat at an artisanal shop or café and before you know it you may have wound up to the hill above Corfu bay, where you’ll get some stunning views of the town up above!

To really give you an idea of how amazing this place is, the entire old town area is actually listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The whole Old Town part is inside the walls of the two fortresses, the Old Fort on the East and the New fortress on the North and West. Thus it is called Kastropolis (A town within castles) and is the only one of its kind in Greece.

The most beautiful part of Corfu is the Old part of the city, with old tall buildings, standing here for centuries, and narrow alleys in between.

Buildings here are made of stone and wood and traditional roofs with tiles.

Old Corfu town is bounded on the east by the old fortress and on the North by the sea of the old port. On the West by the streets of Akadimias, Gerasimos Aspiotis, Spyros Desyllas, and Spyros Vlaikos, the road under the new fortress.

Districts of Corfu old Town Center

The old Corfu town part has 7 districts.

  1. Porta Remounta is the southern district near the sea of Garitsa.
  2. Pentofanaro is exactly in the Liston area.
  3. Kofineta, west of the Palace of St. Michael and George.
  4. Agioi Pateres is at the center of the town.
  5. The Jewish sector, is close to the new fortress.
  6. Spilia on the old port.
  7. Kampielo is in the Northern part of the city.

Most of the old city streets have now become only pedestrian streets and car traffic is peripheral to the city.
The only roads of the town center used by cars are Agoniston Polytechniou, Arseniou, Donzelot, and Zavitsianou streets.

Map with the Old part of Corfu town
Map with the Old part of Corfu town

The Modern City of Corfu

The new city expands to the west of the New Fortress and the old town. It looks completely different from the old part as it is dominated by cement buildings and the roads are larger.

Scaramanga building - The Italian school in Corfu
Scaramanga building – The Italian school in Corfu

But even here, Old neoclassic buildings and other monuments are not missing.

Examples are; The building of the 1st Gymnasium which used to be the Scaramanga building that once housed the Italian School.

The Marasleion Mansion on Alexandra Avenue houses the services of the City Hall.

The Villa Rosa, is a beautiful but abandoned and almost destroyed house beyond San Rocco square.

Some very old Churches of the many that exist in the town and many more.

Can you swim in Corfu Town?

Of course, you can swim.

Although Corfu Town is not the best place for swimming, there are a few smaller “city beaches” in the city, they are a bit cramped and not the most kid-friendly but good enough for you to swim while in Corfu town.

But let’s find out more helpful details about them.

1) Faliraki

Faliraki from the old Corfu fortress
Faliraki from the old Corfu fortress

First is Faliraki, a public beach below the Palace at Faliraki promontory, it’s also called Aleko’s baths.

A road leads down to it from Arseniou street.

There’s a small entrance fee but lower than that of Mon Repos.

The beach here is small and not as good for swimming, especially when a ship goes by and the waves come crashing in.

Yet, it can be a pleasant spot to sit under an umbrella and look at the spectacular views of the Palace, the Old Fortress, and Vido island at the sea. There is a restaurant that serves food and drinks here, too.

2) The facilities of NAOK (Nautical Sports Club of Corfu)

Garitsa bay - The town from the old fortress
Garitsa bay – The town from the old fortress

What is NAOK?

Well, it is the Nautical Athletic group Of Kerkyra, an athletic club that deals with water sports such as swimming, rowing, and sailing, and has offered a lot of great athletes in Greek sports.

NAOK facilities are close to the Southside of Old Fortress, the entrance is free and you can use the dock for a dive, it is not a beach though.

3) Mon Repos Beach

Another spot used by the locals for a quick dive is under the Mon Repos Palace, this one looks more like a beach but is not very attractive. Is it called Mon Repos beach and its entrance is at the south end of Garitsa bay, close to Anemomylos.

4) Anemomylos

Flying over Anemomylos Garitsa
Flying over Anemomylos Garitsa

Also, the jetty in Anemomylos is a place for swimming inside Corfu town, although you can’t call it exactly a beach, rather than a rocky area with some shingles. The area is a very picturesque place thought.

Things to do and see inside old Corfu town

Below there is a list of the most important buildings or monuments that characterize the city, and they should be visited by every visitor.

We present them starting from the oldest.

1) Old Fortress

Old fortress in Corfu from Faliraki
Old fortress in Corfu from Faliraki

Without a doubt, the most important monument and the first that you must visit is the Old Fortress. It is a rocky cape, a natural fortress on the eastern edge of the Town.

Ancient Corfu, on the Peninsula of Kanoni, was destroyed in 562 CE after an invasion by the Visigoths. The few surviving residents found shelter in this natural defending spot which was later named the Old fortress. Here they built the first medieval city, the Citadel.

This citadel is separated from the mainland, since the Venetian era, by a narrow moat, but this doesn’t stop visitors from venturing out to see it.

The Byzantines have used the promontory already since the 5th century CE as a natural fortification for the first small medieval town. Then and between 1300 and 1700 its fortifications were strengthened to protect the island from invaders.

Its strategic position on the shore, and its high tops, made it easier for soldiers to spot unknown boats on the horizon, giving them time to alert everyone on the island of potential danger. When you visit you’ll get to see some of the original weapons they used to protect themselves, as well as make the most of a stunning sea view.

You’ll be amazed at how close the Old Fortress is to the city, which means it’s really easy to get to, no matter how you plan on traveling. You can even walk if you’ve got the whole day free!

The Old Fortress fortifications were improved much later during the Venetian occupation.

See more about the Old Fortress and its history.

2) The New Fortress

Great city features of the very important period of Venetian rule are the New Fortress and the vast Esplanade Square.

Corfu new fortress
Corfu new fortress

The new fortress was built between 1576 and 1588 on the low hill of Saint Markos in the north of the city.

Its walls then reached the sea up to Garitsa bay in the south, thus defending the whole of Corfu from the west.

The construction of the fortress resulted in the creation of the Esplanade. The largest square in the Balkans.

Esplanade was created after the demolition of about 2.500 houses in front of the Old Fortress. This was done to create a defensive zone in front of the old fortress and to find building materials for the construction of the New Fortress.

3) San Giacomo theater

Leaving Esplanade and Pentofanaro, south of Liston, we follow Evgenios Voulgaris Street. At the intersection with M. Theotoki street, we will meet the old building of San Giacomo.

The building was built in 1663 to become the noblest arcade of “loggia Nobili”. Later this beautiful building housed the San Giacomo Theater and today the Corfu Town Hall.

4) Annunziata

Just a few yards from San Giacomo, at the junction with Vrachlioti Street, almost at the center of the old town, we find Annunziata. In fact, only the bell tower of it, as the church built at the end of the 14th century and dedicated to the Annunciation has been destroyed.

Annunziata is a monument of pan-European importance, see on the page about Annunziata why.

5) Liston and Esplanade square

During the short time that the French remained in Corfu, they left important signs of their presence with the most important of them being the Liston. This series of buildings with arched galleries on the west of Esplanade square is no doubt one of the most beautiful buildings in Corfu. Worth noting that these were originally built to be military barracks.

The center of Liston in Corfu town
The center of Liston in Corfu town

Liston today is the most cosmopolitan spot in the city.

6) The Palace of St Michael and George

Corfu town: St Michael and George Palace
Corfu town: St Michael and George Palace

During the 50 years of English domination of the island, many majestic buildings were built.

Undoubtedly the most important is the imposing Palace of St Michael and George on the northern side of Esplanade Square was built in 1819.

7) The Palace of Mon Repos

Outside the city in Kanoni peninsula is the Mon Repos palace, also build during British domination inside the area of Ancient Corfu.

8) The Ionian Parliament

During the same period, the Ionian Parliament was built at the junction of Moustoxidi and Napoleon Zambelli streets. The building was built in 1855 and is dominated by the 4 Doric-style columns on the entrance.

At that time the British cemetery was constructed as well as the first psychiatric hospital on Greek territory.

But the British left some smaller buildings too such as the round peristyle of Thomas Maitland, a round kiosk with 20 Ionian-style pillars that was designed by the engineer George Whitmore. This peristyle was built on top of Sterna (cistern) in the upper square.

Sunday walk at Sterna in upper Esplanade - 1900
Sunday walk at Sterna in upper Esplanade – 1900
Sterna at upper Esplanade today
Sterna at upper Esplanade today

Some British habits also remain after they left the island. Cricket for instance, which, on Greek territory, is played only in Corfu.

Gingerbeer and the Kum Kouat tree from China were brought here by the British. They also built the aqueduct and many other infrastructure projects.

Roads inside the town market in Corfu
Roads inside the town market in Corfu

9) Church of St. Spyridon (Agios Spyridon)

Agios Spiridon church - Corfu
Agios Spiridon church – Corfu

Whether you consider yourself a spiritual person or not, this church is an essential part of the culture and heritage of Corfu, so if you’re interested in its history, it’s a must-see.

The church is dedicated to Corfu’s patron saint, Saint Spyridon. In fact, in the church’s sarcophagus lies the actual remains of the saint, who lived around 320 CE, and played an essential role during the first council of Nicaea in 325 CE.

This church also has a beautiful bell that stands tall above all buildings in the town, you’ll definitely spot it whilst walking around, so be sure to pay it a visit.

10) Scuola Greca

Jewish synagogue in Corfu
Jewish synagogue in Corfu

Over the centuries, Corfu has had great Jewish influence and was the host of a rich and dynamic Jewish community of up to 50,000 members at one point. The size of this community has dramatically decreased, to approximately 80 today.

Despite being four separate synagogues at one point, only one remains today, the Scuola Greca. It’s a remarkable yellow construction dating from the 1800s, and the only one to survive the bombings of WW2.

The story behind this series of events is surely an interesting and heart-wrenching one. As bombs were dropped and Jews were commanded to stay in their homes, it’s reported that around 200 were able to escape, but the ones who remained were rounded up by Nazis and shipped off to concentration camps like Auschwitz.

Even today, the small Jewish community in this area exists and is made up of around 80 Jews, most of which (as of 2010) were Holocaust survivors. This makes the area such an important memorial area and a reminder of the darker times of human civilization.

If you’re looking for a drop of eye-opening perspective in your life, this could be the culturally important place you need to go.

Conclusion

These are many attractions that the various conquerors left in Corfu town. There are dozens more. Together the historical heritage of this city makes up one of the most beautiful and richest cities in Greece.

Overall, Kerkyra is a unique place, beautiful and beautifully rich, with its architecture, culture, and of course its history. Whether you’re looking to hit the beach as soon as possible, cocktail in hand, or whether you’re more the kind to get lost in the streets of the city and wander around till sundown, Corfu town has got you covered!

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