The Old Town of Corfu, on the Island of Corfu off the western coasts of Albania and Greece, is located in a strategic position at the entrance of the Adriatic Sea, and has its roots in the 8th century BC. The three forts of the town, designed by renowned Venetian engineers, were used for four centuries to defend the maritime trading interests of the Republic of Venice against the Ottoman Empire. In the course of time, the forts were repaired and partly rebuilt several times, more recently under British rule in the 19th century. The mainly neoclassical housing stock of the Old Town is partly from the Venetian period, partly of later construction, notably the 19th century. As a fortified Mediterranean port, Corfu’s urban and port ensemble is notable for its high level of integrity and authenticity.
The ensemble of the fortifications and the Old Town of Corfu is located in a strategic location at the entrance to the Adriatic Sea. Historically, its roots go back to the 8th century BC and to the Byzantine period. It has thus been subject to various influences and a mix of different peoples. From the 15th century, Corfu was under Venetian rule for some four centuries, then passing to French, British and Greek governments. At various occasions, it had to defend the Venetian maritime empire against the Ottoman army. Corfu was a well thought of example of fortification engineering, designed by the architect Sanmicheli, and it proved its worth through practical warfare. Corfu has its specific identity, which is reflected in the design of its system of fortification and in its neo-classical building stock. As such, it can be placed alongside other major Mediterranean fortified port cities.
Criterion (iv): The urban and port ensemble of Corfu, dominated by its fortresses of Venetian origin, constitutes an architectural example of outstanding universal value in both its authenticity and its integrity.
Corfu is the capital of the island of the same name. See Spianada (The Esplanade). Spianada is the central square and the meeting point of Corfu’s residents and visitors. It is built in the style of the Royal Gardens of Europe. At one time it was a firing range for Venetian troops. Liston. The Liston is a building complex with long arcades built in 1807 by the French imperial commissioner Mathieu de Lesseps, father of the constructor of the Suez Canal. It is an excellent example of architecture from Napoleonic period, when Corfu was part of the First French Empire. The design was inspired by the Rue de Rivoli in Paris. The Liston runs along the west side of the Spianáda. Old Fortress. A Byzantine fort rebuilt under Venetian rule. The fortress successfully repulsed Ottoman sieges in 1537, 1571 and 1716. The old Fortress houses the church of St. George, the Public library and the Hellenic Music Research Lab of the Ionian University [read more].
Ioannina (population: 112,486 (2011)) is a beautiful small town in Northern Greece whose old town is surrounded by tall defensive walls. Set atop a 100-metre cliff overlooking the Lake Pamvotida, the capital of Epirus is an old town with an intriguing history. The city gained prominence in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, as the seat of an almost independent state ruled by Ali Pasha of Tepeleni, who successfully rebelled against the central government of the Ottoman Empire, and kept fighting until the end, but was killed by Ottoman soldiers during the siege of his fortress in January 1822, and his head cut off to be sent to Sultan Mahmud II. His grave still stands into the ancient citadel (the Kastro) and has became a popular tourist attraction. Ioannina was also a significant trade center, hosting a Greek-speaking Jewish community observing their own tradition and religious rituals. They were neither Ashkenazi, nor Sephardic, but rather indigenous Jews of Greece who have lived on Greek soil for over 2,300 years [read more].
Trikala (Population: 81,355 (2011)) is a city in Thessaly with a good cafe and nightlife scene. It is an agricultural town that is well placed for those going to Meteora 15 km north or the Pindos Mountains to the west. It lies on the Litheos River that runs through the center of town. Homer mentioned the city as Trikala and is supposed to be the birthplace of the god of healing, Asclepius. Most of Trikala’s sights are within walking distance. Also, you can rent a bicycle for free at the tourist information centre. Large streets have bike lanes and most areas in and directly around the city are quite flat. There are also intra-city buses however their routes and bus stops are not marked properly, making it hard to use for the outsider. See Koursoum Mosque. Koursoun Tzami (Across the river and 300 m to the east of the city center). This Turkish mosque dates from the 16th century [read more].