Corfu Greece's greenest and most cosmopolitan island is famous for its beautiful coastline, picturesque villages and scenic countryside. Corfu (or Kerkyra) is one of the most favorite destinations in Greece and the Greek Islands and attracts hundreds thousands of tourists annually. It is a very beautiful island, part of the Ionian Islands and has a lot of verdant vegetation, amazing beaches, superb venetian architecture, picturesque villages, lively nightlife and a great cosmopolitan way of life. Corfu is very green. Its hot and dry summers along with winter rain create lush vegetation which is dominated by over 2 million olive trees.
Corfu Airport: Flying to Corfu, for most Europeans, is an easy flight lasting less than 3 hours. Corfu's International airport (Kapodistrias) is located on the edge of Corfu (Kerkyra) town, it is modern and compact. During the summer months (May to October) there are regular charter flights from most European countries to Corfu. Domestic flights (from Athens) operate all year round.
Corfu Port: Corfu's port is at the edge of Corfu (Kerkyra) town. Ferries from Greek mainland (Igumenitsa and Patra) offer a regular service as well as ferries from Italy (Venice, Ancona and Brindisi). Corfu port is also a popular stop for visiting cruise ships.
Driving to Corfu: If you wish to drive to Corfu, the regular ferries from Italy and the Greek mainland to Corfu make the trip quite easy. The roads of Corfu are generally in good condition, even if unavoidably steep and twisting in some locations. Renting a car on Corfu is the most flexible way of exploring. The roads, although often narrow, are easy to drive. A well as renting a car though, you can also consider taking a bus or use a local taxi. Do not forget that you can rent a motor boat - and no license is required! Renting a boat will be the experience of your Corfu holiday.
Achillion Palace in Corfu: The Palace was built in the 1890's as a summer palace for "Sissi", Austria's Empress Elizabeth (King Otto of Greece was her uncle). The Palace, located in the village of Gastouri, was the residence of Elizabeth (Sissy), the Empress of Austria as the solace of her soul. It was used as her summer retreat. Later the Kaiser Wilhelm of Germany bought the Palace. Directly below, on the coast, is the unusual Kaiserβs bridge, the stone built jetty where the Kaiser set out on his yacht for swimming trips. The Palace is definitely a place to take your camera. This beautiful building in picturesque gardens overlooks the sea and Corfu town. Achillion Palace is one of the most popular tourist destinations on Corfu. To see pictures from this palace please visit: http://www.galenfrysinger.com/achillion_palace_corfu_greece.htm
Mon Repos Palace in Corfu: Mon Repos Palace is situated on top of Analipsis hill, near Kanoni area, in the middle of a beautiful setting full of greenery. It was built in 1826 by the British Commissioner Frederic Adams as a gift to his Corfiot wife, Nina Palatianou. It is a small but very beautiful palace with colonial architectural elements.
Later on, the palace became the summer residence of all British governors of Corfu and when the Ionian Islands were united to Greece, in 1864, it was given as a gift to King George I of Greece. This is also the house where Prince Phillip, Duke of Edinburgh, the husband of Queen Elisabeth II, was born into on June, 10th, 1921. During the Italian occupation of Corfu, in the Second World War, this palace became the residence of Parini, the Italiangovernor of the Ionian Islands.
Along the decades, the ownership of the palace was argued between the Greek government and the former Greek royal family. The ex-king Constantine of Greece thought Mon Repos was his property, because it used to be his summer residence during his reign. However, the Greek government would not accept this claim and was considering this residence a Greek state's ownership.
Finally, in 2002, the European Court of Human Rights at Strasburg awarded to the ex-king a compensation of Β£7 million for the three properties he lost when monarchy was abolished in Greece, in 1975. Nowadays this house is used by the Municipality of Corfu as a tourist attraction and is visited by hundreds of tourists every year. The palace has today been restored and reflects its original and classical imposing features. It hosts a museum that includes many Ionian treasures. The palace itself is placed in a very nice environment and is surrounded by a big park. In fact, walking through its paths is a delight! The remains of the ancient town of Corfu, which have been found opposite to the palace, make archaeologists believe that Mon Repos was built right on the site where the ancient city of Corfu used to be.
The Museum of Asian Art in Corfu: The Museum of Asian Art in Corfu is the only museum of this kind in Greece. It is housed in an imposing neoclassical building near Liston promenade, Espianada square, in the Palace of Saint Michael and Saint George. This building was constructed between 1819 and 1824 by the British and initially served as the residence of the British High Commissioners of the Ionian islands.
Later on, it was the seat of the Ionian Senate, the Ionian Parliament and the headquarters of the Chivalric Orders of Saint Michael and Saint George (in the mid 19th century), from where it took its name. When the Ionian islands were united to the Greek state in 1864, this building was used as a summer residence of the Royal Family. However, it declined as a royal residence because the King preferred to spend his summer months in Mon Repos palace, a lovely small palace surrounded by a lot of greenery, also situated near Corfu centre; the Palace of Saint Michel and Saint George was mostly used as an office by the King rather than as a residence.
In 1967, the Palace was given to the Municipality of Corfu and housed the Archaeological Museum for some years and until 1974, it worked as a Sino-Japanese Museum.
Later on, the Sino-Japanese Museum was turned into an Asian Museum to host the collection of Gregorios Manos, an ambassador who had donated to the Municipality a great range of Asian items and works of art. The exhibits of this museum were enriched with the collections of N. Hatzivassiliou, Ch. Hiotakis and some others. The exhibits include items from China, Japan, India, Pakistan, Korea, Siam, Tibet, Nepal, Cambodia and Thailand.
Among the items displayed, you will find a Samurai armor and weapons, masks of the No theatre, pieces of Chinese porcelains and bronzes, pieces of sculpture and ceramics. These exhibits are displayed in five rooms. The ground floor of the museum used to be the hall of the Ionian Senate and we can see the portraits of the Senateβs presidents there. On the second floor, we find the throne room, the ball room and the dining room, with the medals of the Chivalric order painted on the walls.
This museum also hosts some other exhibitions from time to time and organizes shows on cultural matters in general. It is certainly an impressive sight to see and something you do not expect from a Greek island.
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