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Thursday, 10 April 2008

Museums in Corfu

Archaeological Museum

Delve into the depths of Corfu’s ancient history with ancient Corfu artefacts, a rich collection of coins and marble statues from the Hellenistic period. The most stunning piece in the museum, due to the scale of its size and artistry, is the magnificent pediment of the Gorgon. Dating from 585 BC, this was originally on the western side of the great Doric Temple of Artemis and is the oldest stone pediment in existence in Greece.

The Asian Arts Museum

This museum, which is the only one of its kind in Greece, has an excellent collection of 11.000 objects from China, India, Indochina, Japan, Korea, Nepal, Pakistan and Tibet all donated by private collectors. The pieces in the collection date from as far back as Neolithic times to the 19th century. Of especial interest is the unique Helleno-Buddhist collection with sculptures from Gandhara in Pakistan dating from the 1st to the 5th centuries AD showing the Hellenistic influence on Buddhism in the region and beyond.

The Byzantine (Antivouniotissa) Museum

Housed since 1984 in the 15th century Church of the Blessed Virgin Antivouniotissa, which is one of the oldest and richest ‘Ionian basilica’ style churches in Corfu, it is home to a collection of icons and relics including important works dating from the 15th to 19th centuries, by famous artists including Tzafouri, Michael Damaskenos, Emmanuel Lombardos, Emmanuel Tzanes, and Victor and Michael Avramis.

The Folkloric Museum

This traditional house in the village of Sinarades, not far from Corfu Town, allows the visitor to have a truly authentic look at Corfu village life in the past. Entering the reconstruction of the interior of a village house on the first floor is like entering a time-warp into history. The second floor displays a fascinating collection of Corfiot costumes, musical instruments, agricultural and artisan tools and a multitude of implements and objects.

The Olive Museum

Located in the traditional village of Kinopiastes, only 20 minutes drive from Corfu Town. This recently opened museum, the best of its kind in Corfu, displays a well-maintained traditional olive press as well as authentic items of village life in Corfu.

The Palaiopolis (Mon Repos) Museum

The Palace of Mon Repos, surrounded by huge public gardens, was built under British rule by Sir Frederic Adams in the Palaiopolis (the ancient city of Corfu). It was later the residence of several Lord High Commissioners and is where Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, was born. This museum contains fascinating archaeological finds, historical documents, prints and lithographs concerning the use and history of the Mon Repos Mansion and also a collection of watercolours and botanical samples representing the natural heritage of Corfu and the Mon Repos Garden.

The Solomos Museum

Based in the house where Greece’s national poet, Dionysios Solomos lived for most of his life (1798-1857), the memorabilia includes the poet’s desk, a collection of the poet’s manuscripts, photographic material and an extensive library. Here you can find the entire collection of old published copies of the Greek National Anthem – the ‘Hymn of Liberty’ – as well as portraits on display of the poet himself, along with other members of the ‘Solomos School’.

Vidos Islet / Serbian Museum

Situated opposite the old port of Corfu Town, this small islet houses the Serbian Museum that was constructed in memory of soldiers of the Serbian army decimated at the end of the First World War. Known as ‘Ptihia’ in ancient times, it was also referred to as the Island of Hera by Thucydides and Ptolemy. This island has a coffee bar and restaurant, two beaches and paths from one end of the island to the other. A boat service to the island operates on a regular daily basis from the Old Port.

The Museum of Capodistrias

The personal belongings and furniture of Ioannis Capodistrias, one of the most important politicians and diplomats in modern Greek history, who served as the first Governor of Greece from 1830 to 1831, are housed in the family residence. A highly educated man, he played a decisive role in the victory of the revolution and made serious contributions to many fields including education, justice, social welfare and agriculture.

The Numismatic Museum

Opened in 1981 by the Ionian Bank, it is the only museum of its kind in Greece and is famous for the value of its collection. Its comprehensive collection of banknotes dates from the founding of the modern nation to the present day and also includes printing dyes, proofs, bank documents, stamps and a rare collection of notes from all over the world. The second floor has a very clear, informative and extensive exhibition showing the process by which modern banknotes are designed and produced, including the paper-making process.

The Museum of Ceramic Art

This museum houses a large and interesting collection of local ceramic art. Here, the visitor can appreciate many valuable and distinctive examples of what was at one time a flourishing form of art on the island.

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