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Corfu History

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Steve:
Corfu was not always an island:

During the Paleolithic Period it was joined with the mainland opposite.

Archaeological finds from this period (70,000-40,000 BC) have been made at Ag. Mathaios.

Separation from the mainland occurred during the Neolithic period (10,000-8,000BC) when, with the melting of the ice, the level of the sea rose.

Traces of the Neolithic Period are to be found at Sidari. In the north-west of the island, at Kefali, Afionas and Ermones, Bronze Age settlements (2,000 BC) have been found.

Stevie,  8)

jan:
you could also say that Corfu has been identified as the Scheria of Homeric legend- where Odysseus met Nausicca, below her father King Alkinoos' palace,

Also modern tourism, outside Corfu Town really began with the Avra Hotel in Benitses, the first one to be built on a beach. Unsure of the exact date but it was opened by the Spinoulas family in the 1940w, and flourished into the 80s, after which it was relocated on the other side of the road in a more modern building.  The father of the family had been taken to Russia as a boy, by the aunt of Tsar Nicholas 2nd, who was an abbess who came to Ben itses with her nuns and lived there for a period before the First World War.  When the revolution came he made his way to Odessa, got work and made money and came back to his village, married, and started the hotel.

Steve:
Good one Jan,

I am researching the original tourist trade and have looked at scores of sites without success.

I think a lot of information is in Corfu itself, with the local people.

So, i think there will be a lot of questions for me to ask in Corfu in May.

Stevie,  8)

nafsica:
During the nineteen-sixties there were a few tour operators offering holidays in Corfu - British, Swedish and Dutch.
I worked for the British company, Wings/Ramblers(R.A.S.) and we came to Corfu either by rail and ferry via Italy, or by air (charter) direct to Corfu - if you can call several re-fuelling stops on the way direct!
This was 1964 to 1966.
Pre-War (nineteen thirties) people used to come to Corfu (ferry from Venice or Ancona) to rent a villa very cheaply and spend the summer - the Durrell family is a good example of such visitors.
I found lots of useful info about those very early years of tourism at the Corfu Reading Society; I asked to be allowed to look at their old newspaper files for that period.
During the Thirties there was also a flying boat service, the famous Imperial Airways, that made a stop in Gouvia Bay, but I am not aware that people used that service in order to travel to Corfu - it operated flights between the Uk, South Africa and Australia. How I would love to have done that journey!
If you go really far back, to the first half of the nineteenth century for example, you will find that Corfu and the Ionan Islands were much visited by Victorian travelers, who often wrote journals about their travels - utterly fascinating and while originals are expensive, some of these books are available from reprint publishers.
If you would like more info, please let me know, but I have a feeling one of my future blogs will be on this subject!
Nafsica

Trisa:
Nafsica,

That is really interesting as we have an old book somewhere in our loft that I keep meaning to hunt out since we have lived here.

It has a purple cover and is a journal about a voyage to this area. I remember seeing Corfu mentioned in this journal. I'm going to have to make a concerted effort now to find it!

Trisa

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