Angelokastro Castle

Angelokastro is one of the most important Byzantine castles in Greece and one of the oldest. It was already there since the 7th century.

It is located on the island of Corfu at the top of the highest peak of the island’s shoreline in the north coast near Palaiokastritsa and built on particularly precipitous and rocky terrain. It stands 305m on a steep cliff above the sea and surveys the City of Corfu and the mountains of mainland Greece to the southeast and a wide area of Corfu toward the northeast and northwest.

The origin of its name is not completely clear, with some historians mentioning that in 1214 Michael I Komnenos Doukas, Despot of Epirus, sometimes called Michael Angelos, annexed Corfu to Epirus and following his death, Michael II Komnenos Doukas, his son, further fortified the area and named it after himself and his father: “Angelokastro”.

The Despots were related to the Komnenoi dynasty of Byzantine emperors.

Today, the tourist signs in the area refer to it, wrongly, as St. Angelo’s castle.

Before the Venetians conquered Corfu there were three castles which defended the island from attacks: The Cassiopi Castle in the northwest of the island, Angelokastro, defending the west side of Corfu and Gardiki in the south of the island.

During excavations in 1997, two Early Christian slabs were unearthed at the top of the acropolis, indicating that the site was occupied by the early Byzantine period (between 5th-7th century AD).

It can be reasonably assumed that since Byzantium lost its dominion over southern Italy in 1071 A.D. the Komnenoi must have paid a lot of attention to the castle since Corfu by default became the frontier to the west of the Byzantine Empire between the 11th and 12th centuries, serving to separate and defend Byzantium from its dangerous foes to the west. At the same time the acritic and windswept fortifications helped safeguard Corfu from the great menace of that era, i.e. the Normans of Sicily whose constant incursions had turned the island into a theatre of military conflict.

The castle enjoyed considerable prominence during the period of Venetian rule (1386 – 1797).

From 1387 until late in the sixteenth century, Angelokastro was the capital of Corfu and, in early sixteenth century, became the seat of the Proweditore Generale del Levante, who was the commander of the Venetian fleet stationed in Corfu and governor of the Ionian islands. The fortifiacation must have been finalised during that period.

Angelokastro was instrumental in repulsing the Ottomans in three sieges of Corfu; in the first great siege of Corfu in 1537, in the Siege of 1571 and the second great siege of Corfu in 1716.

Later it fell into disuse and during the 19th Century it was deserted. It was restored to its present condition in 1999.

At the highest point is the Citadel with its main gate at the north protected by a circular tower. The ruins opposite the main gate were the garrison’s quarters, and 3 underground cisterns kept the castle supplied with water. The walls’ battlements survive today only in the north-west corner. At the highest point of the Citadel stands the little Church of the Archangel Michael, which was built on the site of what was probably an early Christian 3-aisled church. Several nearby graves were carved out of solid rock. The wall paintings are relatively modern dating from the 18th Century.

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Kumquat – Corfu

Kumquat & Corfu

Kumquat History

Kumquat comes from southern Japan and China, where it has been cultivated since the 12th century. It has since been cultivated and grown systematically in Japan, Taiwan, the Philippines and throughout Southeast Asia. Its name in Chinese means “golden orange” because of its very small size. It first appeared in Europe in 1846 by Robert Fortune and thus began to be cultivated from the middle of the 19th century as an ornamental plant. In Greece, and specifically in Corfu, appeared in 1924 by the British agronomist Sidney Merlin, who planted the first Kumquat tree on his farm. Since then it is systematically cultivated in Corfu. Kumquat trees thrive mainly in the northwestern part of the island and are one of the main products of the island.

Kumquat as a Nutrient

Kumquat is a tree that belongs to the category of citrus and does not exceed 2.5 meters in height. The fruit ripens in December and, as in other citrus fruits, turns from green to orange. Thus, the most suitable period for picking is from January to February.It is excellent for liqueurs, jams and desserts. It goes perfectly with chocolate, coffee and caramel, while its sweet and sour taste highlights winter vegetables, such as spinach and antiv in special salads.

Kumquats are low in calories: 100 grams of fresh fruit provides only 71 calories and is rich in nutrients such as:

  • Antioxidant vitamins (A, C and E)
  • B vitamins (thiamine, niacin, pyridoxine, folic and pantothenic acid)
  • Flavonoid antioxidants such as carotene, lutein, zeaxanthin and tannins
  • Metals such as calcium, copper, potassium, manganese, iron, selenium and zinc
  • Fibers and proteins

Do not forget to eat the kumquat peel as it is particularly rich in antioxidants, fiber and essential oils.

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Journalist: Lena Simati

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The Corfiot Custom of “Tiganites”

“The Corfiot custom of Tiganites”

Every year on 12/12 we celebrate in Corfu our patron Saint Spyridon. This day is great for Corfu as every house celebrates. As a custom we  fry  “Tiganites” (in Corfiot) from the eve, in every household, in every neighborhood. The dough is made of water, flour and yeast left to rise overnight. For serving you can choose whichever topping you prefer: honey and cinnamon, caster sugar or chocolate.The custom of tiganitas

How to make Tiganites?

The perfect traditional tiganites (Corfiot donuts) are crispy and golden on the outside and fluffy and airy in the inside. To achieve the perfect texture for your tiganites give the dough time to rise and it will reward you with its distinctive air-y fluffiness. When preparing this tiganites recipe, the key is to use the right temperature. Always dissolve the yeast in lukewarm water and let the dough to rise in warm environment.Deep fry the tiganites in hot oil. Make sure to fry them in batches, so that the surface off the pan is comfortably filled, otherwise the tiganites will probably stick together and the temperature of the oil will decrease.

In a bowl put all the ingredients for the donuts except the oil. Stir with a hand whisk until it becomes a porridge. Make sure the water is not hot but at room temperature.

Cover the bowl with a film and let it rise in a warm and dry environment for 30-45 minutes.

Ingredients for 4 servings:

  • 280ml water
  • 9gr dry yeast
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 200gr flour
  • 50gr corn flour
  • sunflower oil  (for frying)

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This summer we shared more than 200 reusable Vanakee bags to our clients. In this way we prevented the unnecessary use of plastic bags and enviromental pollution.
Think Green.

Venetian Shipyards – Gouvia

Venetian Shipyards

At the historical village of Gouvia, at the end of the Marina, lies the old Venetian shipyard (Neorio)

The Neorio in Gouvia is a remnant of a bygone era. Its skeleton stands today.

In the early years of the Serenissima Venetian Empire, its ships docked in Mandraki,at the Old Fortress of Corfu town.Soon, however, the need for a greater military port with spacious warehouses and dry docks arised. The bay of Gouvia, seven kilometers northwest of the town was selected for this purpose . The depth in the area is 4-5 fathoms and the narrow mouth of the inlet needed no defense works.Venetian Shipyards corfu

The Ottoman army, under the command of Hayreddin Barbarossa, disembarked at Gouvia for the first time on August 29, 1537

The Ottomans, having destroyed the central part of Corfu island, then moved on to the town and unsuccessfully besieged the Old Fortress.

In the late 16th century, the port could accommodate 25 galleys.

In 1716, when the Ottomans attacked Corfu for a second time, they again disembarked in the same place.

After repelling the attack, the Venetians decided to fortify the position and

after the siege of 1716 they began to construct the Neorion facilities.

At the shipyard they held the winter maintenance and repair of all ships anchored in Corfu. In the late 16th century, the port could accommodate 25 galleys.

In the last years of the Venetian occupation, the facilities were neglected and the entrance of the bay had become problematic due to deposition of large volumes of sand by currents and southeastern winds.

The Democratic French also used the Neorion facilities, while in 1798 the Russian and Turkish fleet anchored there.

The siege of the Russians to occupy Corfu began on November 4, 1798, but the attackers decided to wait on the Turkish aid before attempting a landing. On November 13th, a small Russian contingent made a landing and managed to secure a small enclave in the area of ​​Gouvia, where they installed cannons which fired against the fortresses of the island.

Aid finally arrived in February 1799 and numbered 4,000 Turkish and Albanian soldiers. On the morning of February 28th began the invasion of attacking the Vido island, which was occupied in two hours. The next day began the cannonade of Corfu fortress in Vido, the Russian enclave of Gouvia and the Russo-Turkish ships, while the attackers managed to occupy the three forts of the town. Admiral Ousakof intended to attack the two main fortresses of Corfu town, but the next morning the French side called a 48-hour truce to eventually be delivered on the morning of March 3rd.

In 1807 with the return of the French Empire, the French built three new emplacements in the bay mouth, which served as forts. One of them is the Scarpa fort. The bay of Gouvia was last used by a naval ship in 1814, when a British corvette anchored in its waters.

The subsequent history of the region is rich and interesting. It concerns the creation of the French seaplane base in 1916 as well as the disembarkation of the Serbs. It was also used in 1918 by the US Navy, as a basis for high-speed Sub Chasers which participated in the blockade of the Strait of Otranto.

During the midwar years French seaplanes carrying mail and passengers again used the area until the beginning of the Second World War.

During WWII the facilities hosted seaplanes used by both the Italians and the Germans.

Nowadays the area is used by modern seaplanes.

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