Monday, 18 May 2015

I have been to … the New Fortress, Corfu Town

The New Fortress was built during the 16th century by the Venetians in response to a siege by the Turks in 1571. Whilst the prominent people of Corfu had survived the siege by taking refuge in the Old Fortress, the townspeople had nowhere to go and were slaughtered when the town was attacked and burnt to the ground.

Michele Sanmicheli proposed that an additional fortress be constructed, and plans were drawn up by Ferant e Vitelli, a noted military architect. Building began in 1576 and the New Fortress was completed in 1588.

The fortress was further extended during the early 17th century when an additional wall was added to the exterior on the western side. It proved its value in 1716 when the was another Turkish attack on the town, but thanks to the defensive plans of Venetian Captain-General of Corfu – Count Johan Matthias von der Schulenberg – the Turks were defeated.

During the British occupation of Corfu, the New Fortress was remodelled and the so-called British Barracks was built. This was completed in 1842 … sixteen years before they were returned to Greece.

When we visited the fortress we walked up the long, flint and brick path from the modern entrance.

This took us past the end of a tunnel which opened to the outside several feet above our heads.

We continued to walk to walk further and further uphill …

… passing through narrow doorways …

… and tunnels …

… before we came out onto a flat area which had obviously been an artillery position.

We then walk up more tunnels …

… and steep pathways …

… before we finally reached the doorway …

… that led us to the outside of the British Barracks.

On the front of the building was a stone plaque that commemorated the rebuilding that was done by the British …

… and atop the building was a watchtower surmounted by a cupola.

Whilst Sue rested in the shade, I went into the British Barracks …

… and climbed the stairs …

… to the first floor.

The floor was divided up into a series of casemates, each linked by an arched doorway.

Having explored the first floor of the building, I returned downstairs by a second set of stairs.

From there I turned right and passed through yet another narrow doorway …

… which gave me access to the back of the British Barracks.

The wall that ran parallel to wall of the barracks was pierced by a gateway …

… which – had it been unlocked – would have given access to the section of the New Fortress that is still used by the Greek Navy. (The gateway is surmounted by a plaque that bears the inscription 'VR AD 1842' … just like the front of the British Barracks.)

We had a drink in the small bar that is situated inside part of the barrack building before tracing our way back downhill via the tunnels …

… and pathways we had used to climb up the the top of the fortress.

Although the New Fortress is not as impressive as the Old Fortress, we both enjoyed our visit … and the climb certainly gave us an appetite!


  1. Great pictures Bob. Thanks for posting these.
    Cheers, PD

  2. Peter Douglas,

    It was my pleasure! I am very pleased that you enjoyed these photographs. It was a very interesting place to visit, and if you ever have the chance to visit Corfu Town, put it on you list of places to see.

    All the best,


  3. Excellent pictures! Never been to Corfu. Sailed past it once on the way to Paxos. The fortress reminds me of some of those in Valetta.

  4. Legatus Hedlius,

    I would recommend a visit to Corfu if you ever get the opportunity. Besides two fortresses there are some excellent colonnaded cafes along one side of the cricket pitch where one could spend all day sitting, drinking, eating, and just watching the world go by.

    All the best,


  5. Enjoyed the photo tour.

    Great pictures and a good walk.

  6. Jonathan Freitag,

    Thanks for your kind words.

    After several days of cruising and doing little else except eat, drink, read, eat some more, and sleep, the exercise did us both good!

    All the best,