Corfu Museums and Art Galleries
Achilleon Palace, Gastouri
Open daily Apr-Oct
08.00-20.00, Nov-Mar 08.00-16.00
This magnificent palace stands on the edge of the pretty village of Gastouri. It was constructed between
1890 and 1892 by the Empress Elizabeth of Austria, or Sissy as she is often known. Built in neoclassical style, it stretches over three floors and is set in extensive grounds with terraces adorned with numerous statues. The most famous of the statues are those of two bronze runners, and of Achilles Triumphant and Achilles Dying. The gardens with their fantastic views run all the way down to the coast, but only the area around the Palace buildings is open to the public. Following the 1898 assassination of Sissy in Geneva, Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany purchased the Palace, using it as a summer retreat. It was subsequently requisitioned by the Greek state, and was used for some decades as a casino. The rooms contain personal items and furniture belonging to its former royal residents, as well as an exhibition of contemporary photographs.
Museum of Asian Art, Corfu Town
Open 08.00 to 20.00 (closed Monday)
Phone 26610 30443
This world-class collection, unique in Greece, is housed in the Palace of Saint Michael and Saint George, built Georgian style in the 1820s by the British. The collection comprises thousands of art objects from China, Japan and other far-eastern countries, including Pakistan, Nepal, Thailand, Tibet and Korea, dating from Neolithic times to the 19th century. The major part of the objects, some 10,000 pieces, were donated to the Greek state by diplomat Grigoris Manos in
1928. Of special interest is the unique Helleno-Buddhist collection, with sculptures from Gandhara in Pakistan dating from the 1st to the
5th centuries AD. These objects show the Hellenistic influence on Buddhism in the region and beyond. The exhibits are beautifully displayed and presented, with well-written labels that put the items in their historical and cultural context. Byzantine Art Museum, Corfu Town?(26610 38313; open 08.30-15.00 Tues-Sun) One of the most significant museums of its type in Greece, the Museum of Byzantine Art is housed in the old Church of the Blessed Virgin Antivouniotissa just off Arseniou Street. It contains fabulous Byzantine and post-Byzantine icons and other religious items such as early Christian sculptures, and Byzantine frescoes from the 11th, 13th and 18th centuries. The many precious icons include works by famous artists such as Tzafouri, Michael Damaskinos, Emmanuel Tzanes, and Victor and Michael Avramis.
Byzantine Art Collection
Main Gateway, Old Fortress
09.00-16.00 (June-Oct), 08.00-16.00 (Nov-May)
Inside the Old Fortress and close to its main gate, a dedicated Byzantine Art collection demonstrates how even a small museum - only the size of a large living room - can be presented as an educational experience. The collection focuses on Byzantine art, created in the period before, or around the time of, the Fall of Constantinopolis in
1453. Boards with historical explanations are well written and easy to read. Exhibits include preserved wall frescoes taken from ruined churches, but the prize of the collection is the stunning series of rather naive mosaics depicting non-religious subjects, mainly animals in various poses (one somewhat risqué), which date from the 5th and
6th centuries after Christ.
Mon Repos and Palaeopolis, Garitsa , Corfu Town
Museum open 08.30 to 15.00 (closed Monday)
Grounds open daily 07.30 to 20.00
Phone 26610 30680
The Palace of Mon Repos, surrounded by gorgeous English-style gardens, was built under British rule and later used by the Greek Royal Family as a summer retreat. Prince Phillip, Duke of Edinburgh, was born there in 1921. The compact neoclassical palace, really a large villa, contains a museum of archaeology, with items dug up in the vicinity, plus rooms restored to their former Regency glory as well as Byzantine remains, botanical paintings and other mementoes of Corfu's history. A walk around the extensive park reveals in situ remains such as a Doric temple, part of Palaeopolis, the ancient city of Corfu. Just outside the grounds are remnants of the ancient Agora and an early Christian basilica. Recent excavations in this neighbourhood have uncovered Roman baths and the dockyards of the harbour of Alkinoos.
Museum of Dionysios Solomos, Corfu Town
Open 09.30 to 13.00 weekdays
Phone 26610 30674
Established in the house where the Greek national poet, Dionysios Solomos, lived for most of his life
(1798-1857), the museum contains memorabilia and archives, including the poet's desk, a collection of manuscripts, photographic material, and an extensive library. Also on display is the entire collection of old published copies of the Greek National Anthem - the 'Hymn of Liberty' - as well as portraits of the poet himself, and of other members of the 'Solomos School'. Never seen any signs of life at Solomos Museum.
Museum of Kapodistrias, Evropouli
Open 08.00 to 20.00 Monday to Friday
Phone 26610 39528
The personal belongings and furniture of Ioannis Kapodistrias, first President of Greece and one of its most important politicians and diplomats in modern times, are housed in his family residence at Evropouli which has been recently renovated. A highly educated man, he played a decisive role in the fight for independence, and made serious contributions in many fields, including education, justice, social welfare and agriculture. In addition, he wrote the constitution of Switzerland.
The Paper Money Museum, Corfu Town
Wednesday and Friday 09.00 to 14.00 and 17.30 to 20.30,
Thursday 09.00 to 15.00,
Saturday and Sunday 08.30 to 15.00
Phone 26610 41552
The only museum of its kind in Greece, the Paper Money Museum was established in 1981 by the Ionian Bank (now Alpha Bank) at its premises in Saint Spiridon Square. Famed for the value of its collection, it contains banknotes dating from the founding of the modern nation to the present day in addition to 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.
Corfu Living History Museum (Casa Parlante), Corfu Town
Open 10.00 to 18.00 every day (10.00 to 22.00 in high summer)
Phone 26610 49190
A highly educational experience as well as an entertaining one, a visit to the 'Casa Parlante' allows you to meet three generations of a noble Corfiot family and their servants. The Count and his kin are not flesh and blood, but realistic animated figures who occupy an old town house, fitted out with authentic 19th century furniture and artefacts. A guided tour of the apartment, with intelligent and informative commentary which includes each character's back story, brings Corfu's urban past to life, some of it quite graphically! It's at N. Theotoki
16, just behind the Liston.
Acharavi Folkloric Museum
Open 10.00 to 19.00 (closed Sunday)
Phone 26630 63052
Located just opposite the ancient Roman baths in Acharavi, this museum takes you back in time on a discovery of how Corfiots used to live. The street-level floor exhibits old coins and banknotes - from before the island’s Union with Greece in 1864 to the last of the drachmas - as well as old photographs and books. The main museum (downstairs in the huge basement) features an olive mill and press, a water-powered corn mill, a loom, a wine-press, and a shoemaker's workshop. There are also mock-ups of rooms in a village house - fully furnished and even peopled with dummies in traditional costume. Exhibits are accompanied by photographs, to put them in their original context, along with written descriptions.