Archaeological Museum of Corfu up and running

The west pediment of the archaic Temple of Artemis, depicting Gorgo, ca. 590-570 BC, has a central place in the museum

It was a running gag for me and my wife on every visit to the island. We would walk the long way to the Archaeological Museum of Corfu again and again to find the entrance gate shut. We would stare at the board advertising the opening date, after years of renovation. A date that slipped further and further into the past… Last spring we were unexpectedly rewarded for our stubbornness: the museum had reopened on March 23rd 2019. And what a great job has been done! Now the recently launched museum’s website is bound to add to its reputation.

Τhe antiquities on display originate from the ancient city Corcyra as well as various other sites on the island, such as Kassiopi, Acharavi, Almiros, Afionas, Roda and the palaeolithic caves of Grava Gardiki.

The layout of the exhibition – aided by modern audiovisual device – follows a narrative that invites visitors to experience aspects of the of the daily life of the inhabitants of ancient Corcyra. One is introduced to their relation to death, their cult beliefs and their artisanal and economic activities. Much attention goes to the city-state, the institution that structured and deeply influenced public and private life.

Ground floor
On the ground floor the wonderful prehistoric collection of the museum is displayed, and in an adjacent room are finds from the era of the foundation and colonization of ancient Corcyra and the city’s relations with other powerful Greek city-states.

Upper floor
The four rooms of the upper floor take the visitor on a tour through Corcyra from the Archaic to the late Roman period, by presenting six thematic units. These are: Topography and Civic Organisation, Private Life, Burial Customs, Cults, Worship of Artemis, Public life, Economy.

Temple of Artemis
The magnificent centrepiece on the upper floor is the complete west pediment of the Temple of Artemis, 17 meters long and over 3 meters high. With the winged Medusa Gorgo in the heart of the presentation, flanked by her two children and two mythological lion-panthers the sculptured porous limestone is probably the oldest surviving artwork of its kind in Greece.

Very much worth the visit, not to mention the other highlights on the upper floor such as the Pediments of Dionysos, the Lion of Menecrates, the Stele (gravestone) of Arniadas and the Capital of Xembares.

Running gag
On leaving after our enjoyable visit I enquire with one of the staff members why the renovation was so long overdue. Ah well, I had got it all wrong. The renovation had maybe taken a little longer, which was to be considered normal in unique and complex projects like this one. But the real problem was the hiring of the staff. I was very surprised: who would not want a job like this? Ah well, but that was exactly the problem. ‘Everybody wanted an easy government job at the museum’. So it took ages to sort out which candidate was more entitled to it than so many others.

The museum is closed on Wednesday. General admission fee: € 6,-; reduced fee: € 3,-. Free for minors up to 18. For opening hours etc. check the website.



 

Positive steps for solving Corfu’s waste problem

The waste facilities near Kozani (West Macedonia) will accept Corfu’s waste in 2020 (photo: Enimerosi)

An enduring solution for Corfu’s waste problems is getting nearer and nearer. According to the well informed Corfu newspaper Enimerosi the board of the West Macedonia Waste Management (DIADYMA) unanimously voted on Friday November 15th in favour of accepting Corfu waste in 2020. This means a green light for the processing of 24,000 tons at the Kozani Waste Management Facility.

Meanwhile the three mayors of North, Central and South Corfu are joining forces with two former colleagues in a task force on the board of the newly established Solid Waste Management Organisation (FoDSA). This organisation is to play a major part in solving the chronic waste problem, as there will be a high level of funding required by the local authorities.

Fewer air travellers to Corfu in 2019 by 2,7%

A landing airplane, caught between the Vlacherna Monastery (left) and Pontikonisi (Mouse Island)

In October 2019 the Corfu’s Ioannis Kapodistrias Airport saw -2% fewer domestic passengers compared to the same month in 2018 (from 28.538 to 27.956). Over the first ten months of 2019 there is a +1% increase of domestic passengers though (from 294.910 to 297.882).

October 2019 saw -1,1% fewer international passengers (from 227.723 to 225.290). The decrease over 2019 till November 1st was even bigger by -3.1% (from 3.020.823 to 2.928.680).

Domestic and international passengers combined lead to a -1.2% decrease for October 2019 (from 256.261 to 253.246. The combined figures for the first ten months of this year show a -2,7% decrease (from 3.315.733 to 3.226.562).

With the exception of January, February and April all months show a decrease in the combined numbers of domestic and international passengers.

Number of flights
The numbers of flights to and from Corfu show more or less the same pattern. In October 2019 there were -2,1% fewer domestic flights (374 to 366 in 2018). Over the first ten months the decrease was -6,8% (from 4.289 to 3.996). The international flights in October 2019 came to a total of 20.564, a decrease by -3,2% (21.236 flights in 2018). The combination of domestic and international flight totalled 2.057 in October 2019, a decrease by -2,8% (2.116 in 2018). Over the first ten months domestic and international flights together mounted to 24.560, ad decrease by -3,8% (25.525 in 2018).

These figures are produced by Fraport Greece.
FG Traffic Data Management (preliminary data)
October 2019 traffic statistics are provisional and subject to change.

The Corfiot Magazine: archive on line!

The September 2009 issue of The Corfiot Magazine.

Good news for the fans of The Corfiot Magazine! Corfu’s English Language Monthly (also known as The Corfiot), established in 1990 and for many years available in print for the equivalent of 2 euro’s, has put a part of its archive on line. For free! The 35 last issues – published from August 2007 thru October 2010 (nrs. 200 -235) – can be downloaded as pdf on http://www.thecorfiotmagazine.com

The on line release creates a second life for hundreds of well written and well researched articles on a wide variety of subjects. Thanks to a few dozen writers, columnists and contributors.

One name stands out in the history of the magazine: editor Hilary Whitton Paipeti, also well-known as the author of books like The Complete Book of Corfu Walks, The Second Book of Corfu Walks, In the footsteps of Lawrence Durrell and Gerald Durrel in Corfu (1935-1939), Pictures from the Past, Corfu 4 Kids and Corfu Trail – The Companion Guide to Corfu’s Long-Distance Foot Path, the 222 kilometre trail she created around the island. (For more information about the trail: http://www.corfutrail.gr).

The closure of The Corfiot
Hilary Whitton Paipeti was not happy when she had to pull the plug for The Corfiot Magazine but the economic crisis (reluctant advertisers, print fees going up etc.) in the fall of 2010 left her no choice. Plus the fact more and more readers were turning to free information and articles on line.

The Agiot
And that is what Hilary did herself. She started writing for the monthly on-line free newsletter The Agiot: “The fact it is free and only on line has been quite liberating for me as I don’t have a paying readership to satisfy!”
The Agiot covers many subjects – not solely about Corfu – by many contributors, and there seems to be something there for every type of reader. The website www.theagiot.com also features a photo gallery and an archive going back to the first edition in August 2007!

To stray or not to stray: how can we help?

A pack of stray dogs

The days are long gone when you would see packs of stray dogs roaming beaches everywhere in Corfu or waiting around at the entrance of villages. Over the last decades their numbers have surely been diminished, and the same goes for stray cats. However, there are still too many dogs and cats around in poor or even desperate conditions.

A major problem is that too many animals are allowed to breed on the streets. Their owners don’t check them or have simply dumped them. One of the local organisations that make a huge effort to improve the fate of stray animals is meaningfully called ‘The Ark’. Their main goal is to “catch, neuter, and release the many stray and abandoned dogs and cats in Corfu”. This way they hope to reduce, or at least contain, the ever-growing population of strays.

Sterilising
Once caught The Ark takes care of sterilising the animals and giving treatment for parasites, fleas, ticks and worms. The next step is to re-home these unfortunate animals but that is virtually impossible due to the large number of cats and dogs already looking for homes. With great reluctance many have to be returned onto the streets. This is very frustrating, as a number of them are destined to suffer injury or even die from poisoning.

Feeding programme
The Ark has a major dog food sponsor. The food is distributed on the island by volunteers. This service is particularly important during the winter months when the tourists have returned home and there are very few people available to feed the dogs.

Responsible dog ownership
The Ark actively promotes responsible dog ownership and also offers a ‘school visit programme’ to improve children’s understanding of animals. These visits are carried out by one of the Ark’s members and a local veterinary surgeon.

Re-homing
If you wish to adopt a Corfu dog or cat: contact The Ark. Are you a visitor and want to take an animal back to your home country there are certain procedures to follow. The Ark offers useful advice and practical assistance.

Adopt of foster?
Corfu residents can offer help in many ways: adopting rescued dogs and cats or fostering them for a maximum of tree-four weeks; transporting sick animals; donating of dog leads, collars and blankets, and distributing food.

Help from outside Corfu
If you live outside Greece The Ark still needs your help: you can become a member or take a befriended animal back home. There is also need for flying partners, who accompany a dog on his way to its new owner, usually in Germany or Holland. The Ark will assist with all the formalities on Corfu’s Kapodistrias Airport.

Shop in town
When in Corfu Town you can visit the charity shop and information centre at 11 Ag. Dimitriou Street.
For more information: http://www.corfuanimalwelfare.com

Flying to the Netherlands?
Dutch tourists flying from Corfu to the Netherlands wishing to assist in adopting or accompanying a dog with them can also turn to the organisation Stichting Wereldhonden. Volunteers will assist you with the paperwork, the checking in of the dog at Corfu’s airport and the collection of the dog at Schiphol Airport, Amsterdam. All costs are covered by Wereldhonden. The sooner you get in touch before flying the better!
For more information: http://www.wereldhonden.nl

Corfu’s waste problem soon a ghost from the past?


Corfu’s serious problem with waste management is about to be solved soon. That is, if the measurements announced by the national Ministry for the Environment and Energy on October 31st are implemented as planned. 

The mixed waste on Corfu will be removed and taken to the Kozani landfill in Western Macedonia for the next three years until the construction of the Integrated Waste Management facility in Temploni (in Corfu’s Ropa Valley) is completed. The funding will come from the national programme ESPA and the three Corfu Municipalities.

The Kozani Waste Management Facility Board has yet to decide on acceptance of the Corfu waste. The board meets next week.

Recycling to be stepped up
To get the Temploni facility upgraded and ready for processing by the end of 2022 tenders will be invited in early 2020. Meanwhile the Hellenic Recovery Recycling Corporation will start collaborating with partners on the island to set up a network for sorting garbage and biowaste management as soon as possible. In this way the volume of waste for processing will be reduced.

Continuous collective effort 
There wille be a continuous need for sorting garbage at the source by residents, for recycling and for Green Spots in each of the three Municipalities. Three Waste Transfer Stations will be set up in the North, the South and Central Corfu along with Biowaste Processing Units.

Both the Corfu Federation of Tourist Accommodation Owners and the Temploni Cultural Society are pleased with the plans. The first organisation stresses the need to continue to increase the percentage of recycled materials according to European guidelines.

The combined effort of all partners will have to ensure the sorry sight of garbage piling up along country roads, in villages and even on historic squares in town – as was the case during the tourist seasons of 2018 and 2019 – will be forgotten forever. Along with the unfortunate impact on the residents’ everyday life.

For more information: http://www.enimerosi.com

Warren Curry’s 22nd (!) Corfu Painting Holiday


Very few contemporary artists will have enhanced the reputation of picturesque and dazzling Corfu more than the Australian painter and sculptor Warren Curry. In May 2020, for the 22nd year in a row, he will be treating a group of aspiring artists and non-artists to his Corfu Painting Holiday.

For 15 days he will offer the tour company sketching and painting tutelage, balanced with sight-seeing, swimming, wandering around villages and Corfu Town, and enjoying meals together at the gorgeous Levant Hotel, where tour members stay. 

Second home
After Warren Curry spent three months painting in the village of Liapades in 1981 he returned in 1998 to make Corfu his second home. He bought a house in the old village of Pelekas, where he spends part of the year painting in his studio. Living on Corfu he explored the natural wonders, fascinating villages and the grand, historical architecture of the island. He dug deep into its intriguing history and culture and is more than happy to share his knowledge and understanding with the members of his tour company.

Corfu Discovery Tours has not only attracted keen artists looking to draw on Warren Curry’s expertise and fine tuned, personalised tutelage for guidance, but has regularly included a varying proportion of non-artists just for the magic of the Corfu experience. Greek dancing has become a component of the Tour agenda with the opportunity to perform in a local village dancing festival.

The Tour group enjoys the convenience of its own bus which ferries the artists to their destination each day: villages, beaches, cruising, historic sites, enchanting tavernas, an evening in Corfu Town. Optional extras for participants are a one day cruise to Paxos and Antipaxos and a one day tour to Albania.

Major art awards
Warren has held thirty eight Solo Exhibitions in Australia and won over thirty major art awards. His work is represented in Australian Government (Art Bank) Regional Collections, Corporate and overseas collections. In Australia, he works from his studio located in the small fishing village of Port Albert in South Gippsland, east of Melbourne.

For more information: http://www.warrencurry.com and www.corfudiscoverytours.com

Locandiera: tranquility in vibrant, historic Corfu Town


The old town of Corfu is a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2007 on the grounds of ‘outstanding universal value’. Visitors and tourists can find hostels, B&B’s and hotels in all classes. My fondest personal memory goes back to a weekend many years ago in the classic Hotel Konstantinoupolis, opening the Venetian blinds in the morning overlooking the square, the old port and the magical blue of the sea.

But here is a tip for a quite different accommodation.

Guest house Locandiera advertizes itself as a ‘mini hotel with personality’. You can find this hidden gem at 8 Ioanni Gennata Street, a quiet side street in the historical centre of Corfu Town, between picturesque Guilford Street with its art shops and Kapodistriou Street, bordered by beautiful Spianada Park & Square, near the Old Fortress.

Locandiera – based in a carefully renovated originally Venetian building – provides six single/double rooms with kitchenette, each with its own individual and artistic identity and style. The ground floor offers a cosy open living room and kitchen area, where you can enjoy your breakfast or drink a coffee. There are regular exhibitions of paintings and photography. 

The accommodation blends traditional architectural elements (a centuries old well!) and modern comfort. Quality products (breakfast is included) and reliable and friendly services (free WiFi, iMac, music, books, games, fax, postage, photocopying, bicycles to ride the town!) add to your tranquility, relaxation and wellbeing.

Andreas Monopolis (who learned the art of hospitality in his father’s Jimmy’s Restaurant in Pelekas) and his business partner went out of their way to design and fabricate unique furniture as well as the interior and exterior of the historical building. They even upgraded the street by painting several neighbouring buildings.

Tripadvisor: ‘Great boutique hotel in fabulous location’ (14 October 2019). 

For more information and bookings: www.locorfu.com E-mail: info@locorfu.com. Phone: +30 26610 39035.  

…still summer out there

The view from Pelekas village towards the west, Friday morning October 18th 2019 (photo: Andreas Monopolis)

And of course, while in the Northwest of Europe we are well on our way in autumn, collecting chestnuts and mushrooms, on Corfu it is summer as ever. Temperature today was 25 Celsius and Andreas who sent me this picture said the village of Pelekas this morning was very quiet and peaceful.

The Ortholithi of Agios Gordios

The Ortholithi at Agios Gordios, captured from the sky (photo: Tassos Dukakis)

There is no doubt the ‘Ortholithi’, the famous ‘standing rock’ at the southend side of Agios Gordios beach and below the village of Pentati is one of the most photographed parts of the landscape in this popular holiday resort. On thousands and thousands of snaps tourists bring home every season it appears somewhere in the left corner, standing tall in its pride, after being torn off from the cliff probably long before humans ever set eyes on it.

So now Tassos Dukakis – whom many may know as the co-owner and wonderful host of Taverna Theodoros at the Agios Gordios beach – has put it all in a completely new perspective. Only some lucky paragliders have ever seen what he offers us in this splendid image. I must admit that I usually get annoyed when drone fanatics hover their cameradevices over your head on al lazy afternoon on the beach. But if you are able to open our eyes and create such beauty, keep up the good work and thank you so much!

Tassos has let me know that photography and video are ‘his hobby’. But it seems as professional as his real job. See more of his hobby on http://www.hobbyteam.gr (featuring a 4×4 trip through Epirus) and on the Facebook page Corfu Images.

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