New Fortress of Corfu
New Fortress of Corfu- Fortezza Nuova
The new fortress of Corfu (Fortezza Nuova), which dominates the hill of Saint Marco, was built by the Venetians on the 16th century, when there was an urgent need for the city to be protected as its safety could not any longer be based on the old fortress.
Its construction began in 1576 and was not completed until 1645 despite the fact that lot of reconstruction and extension works have taken place since then.
It was built in two levels in order to sustain its double role: the protection of the port and the control of the inland.
According to the history, the Venetian architect Francisco Vitelli, in order to find the construction materials needed, he demolished more than 2.000 buildings, mostly houses and churches. However between the destroyed buildings was one of the most elegant city gates of the town, Porta Reale.
The fortress was attacked many times during the centuries. Even the local people of Corfu were forced to demolish a big part of its walls, like many other walls which attached it to the old fortress and which surrounded the city, following the demand of the Big Forces before the attachment of the 7 Ionian islands to the Greek Estate in 1864. However, the tunnels which attached it to the old fortress have been maintained until our days despite the fact that they are not accessible to the public.
The new fortress was attacked many times also during the bombings of the Second World War.
It is a robust heavy construction which stands imposingly over the port from where it has access and offers a panoramic magnificent view over the city and the open sea.
Its gate is decorated with a magnificent embossed lion of Saint Marc which is the emblem that will always maintain a strong relation between Venice and the Fort.
Englishmen also left their traces behind: Two English barracks , one of them being next to the gate and the other at the second level while there is also a church built approximately on the 17th century, Virgin Maria Spilaiotissa. Today apart the navy installations, the new fortress hosts exhibitions of photography, painting etc. while in the rest of its spaces are usually hosted concerts and other cultural activities.