The Old Fortress of Corfu is the first image of Corfu island for every visitor arriving by boat. The construction started from the Byzantines but when Corfu was conquered from Venice at the end of the 14th century, the Venetians strengthened the fortifications by adapting the fortification for the artillery and their construction included the moat-like trench - the "Kontra Fossa" which separated the fortress from the town making it in this way a virtual island and impossible for any attacker to breach the defences.
The Venetians constructed two huge bastions, two towers and the Mandraki port on the north side (today operates as a sailing club). Those defensive constructions made the fortress impregnable (one of the very few in Europe) and protected it against the sieges of the Turks (1537, 1571, 1573, 1716) and the pirates.
The entrance is arched with a Venetian symbol on the top, carved in marble. Entering on the right side you will see the chapel of the Virgin Mary where those prisoners sentenced to death were transferred in chains for their last prayers. The large building in front was erected by the British to host the barracks but now is the public library which has some rare manuscripts and editions.
Stone steps lead to the top of the fortress where there is a breathtaking view over Corfu town - it takes about 20 minutes to reach the top. An under surface path used to connect the Old with the New Fortress (among other places) in order to assist each other during a siege of Corfu.
The eastern side is flat and open, used often for musical events or theatrical shows. In this section there is the church of St. George, built by the British in an ancient Doric style. They are still preserved intact the dikes of Martinengo and Savorgnan, the surrounding thick walls and several bas-reliefs of the lion of St Marks square. After the union of the seven islands with Greece the terms of the union forced the weakening of the defence line.
The cafeteria on the eastern side could be a pleasant spot for rest and refreshments on a hot day.
Entry is 4 Euros per adult or you can pay multi ticket for 8Euro per person which includes the entry fees to the Archaelogical museum, the Antivouniotissa museum and the Corfu Museum of Asian Art.
Parking can be found in the main square for 3 Euros, just a few meters from the entrance of the Old Fortress.