In the old town besides the numerous churches and the historical buildings there are also some interesting museums to visit.
This museum is dedicated to the Greek poet Dionisios Solomos, famous all over the Greece because he wrote the Greek National hymn.
The museum is set in Arseniou street in the building where the poet lived for many years between 1798 and 1857 and where at last he died. Inside there are personal objects, manuscripts, furniture, photographs and historical material regarding the life and the works of D. Solomos.
Moreover there are the writing desk of the poet and a library with several books owned by Solomos and the old editions of the Hymn to the Freedom.
Today this building is the site of the museum and the Solomos Study Center but in the past has been destroyed by bombardment of the second world war and then restored.
Only afterwards it was selected from the Studies Society of Corfu to be the site of the museum.
The Byzantine Museum is placed inside the Church of Panaghia Antivouniotissa that is situated in Campiello quarter. To be more precise from Arseniou road starts the staircase to reach the flank of the church where there is the entrance.
The church date back to the XV century and has become a museum in 1979 when the families of Mylonopoulos, Rizikakis, Alamanos and Scarpas donated it to the State.
Five years later when the renovation was finished it was opened to the public.
It’s one of the oldest churches of the island and is constituted by only one nave with a painted ceiling and the nartece on three sides.
In the Byzantine Museum there is a rich set of approximately 100 icons that cover an historical period of three centuries from the XVI to the XVIII and represent Saints and Biblical scenes.
These icons, created by various artists like Damaskinos, Avramis, Lombardos and Tzanes, with others memorabilia have been collected from the different churches of the island and put together in this museum.
Among the most important icons there are: the icon of Saint Demetrios who is figured horseback in front of the city of Salonica; the icon of Saint Cyril of Alexandria dressed with valuable clothes; the icon of Saint Sergio, Bacchus and Justina that commemorate the victory of the Europeans on the Turks in 1571; the icon of the Holy Mary “Odigitria” in which there is the Virgin and the Infant Jesus and the icon “Noli me Tangere” that means “don’t touch me” realized by Tzanes.
Besides the icons, in the museum there are architectonic sculptures, parts of the paving of Saint Kerkyra church whose ruins are situated in the Paleopoli and fragments of Byzantine fresco of Saint Nicholas church.
Open 8.30am – 3pm from Tuesday to Sunday. Telephone: 0030 26610 38313.
Museum of Asian Art
The Museum of Asian Art is inside the beautiful Palace of Saint Michael and Saint George that is placed in the northern extremity of the Spianada.
Corfu boasts the only museum in Greece that features Asian Art.
This museum was created in 1927 when the Corfiot diplomat Gregorio Manos donated over 10.000 pieces of Japanese and Chinese handicraft to the prefecture.
After the ’70s other works were gained coming from the private collections of Chatzivasiliou, Siniosoglou and Almanachos (precisely art objects from India, Pakistan, Indochina, Thailand, Nepal, Tibet and Korea).
The art works of this museum are very different for features and origin; reported below there are some of these divided for Country.
From Japan: arms, parts of Samurai armors, wooden statues, theatrical masks of the Muramasi period, silks and other kind of objects.
From China: small sepulchral statues, statue of Buddha, bronze jars of Siang age, earthenware jars of Ceu age, vases, coins and others objects of the Ming dynasty and stone objects and fibers of the Cing dynasty.
From India there are erotic sculptures in wood and bronze; from Korea painted screens; from Tibet small bronze statue and religious paintings and from Pachistan statues (from first to fifth century B.C.) with Buddhist elements combined with Greeks ones, the latter due to the influence of Alexander Magno in those lands.
We have also a permanent exhibition with Central Asian items like: carpets, textiles, jewelry, coins, miniatures, etc..
Open 8.30am – 3pm from Tuesday to Sunday. Telephone: 0030 26610 30433.
The best place to set this kind of Museum is of course a bank and to be more precise is on the first floor of the Ionic Bank in Iroon Agonic Kypriakou square.
This museum was founded by the Ionic Bank in 1981.
The Museum’s Collection includes the complete series of all the paper money that was circulated throughout the history of the Greek State: banknotes, coin notes and related material, spanning 180 years of history.
In order to spend a morning in a different way pass to visit this museum that will make you curious.
Reading Society of Corfu
The Reading Society of Corfu is the most ancient cultural institution of the modern Greece and is located in Kapodistriou road (number 120).
It was founded in 1836 in order to collect the best philosophers, poets and artists of that period like Solomos, Kalvos, Kapodistrias, Theotokis and many others all natives of the Ionian Islands.
Today this association boasts a library of remarkable dimensions (10,000 books regarding the Ionian Islands), prints, maps, newspapers, photos, engraving and painting.
The Reading Society of Corfu look after different kind of activities like the organization of seminaries, meeting, scientific conferences, musical performances and exhibitions of painting, photography and art.