We have chosen Corfu for the first part of this International Certified Future Strategist program as the island is a testament to survival into the future.
Corfu is bound up with the history of Greece from the beginnings of Greek mythology. The Greek name of the island, Kerkyra or Korkyra, is related to two powerful water deities: Poseidon, god of the sea, and Asopos, an important Greek mainland river. According to myth, Poseidon fell in love with the beautiful nymph Korkyra, daughter of Asopos and river nymph Metope, and abducted her. Poseidon brought Korkyra to the hitherto unnamed island and, in marital bliss, offered her name to the place: Korkyra, which gradually evolved to ‘Kerkyra’ in Greek. [‘Corfu’ is the Italian version of the name given as a result of being ruled by the Veneticians for many years.]
Corfu’s Its history is full of battles and conquests. Ancient Korkyra took part in the Battle of Sybota which was a catalyst for the Peloponnesian War. In the Middle Ages, the island survived invasions by pirates and the Ottomans by punctuating medieval castles in strategic locations across the island. Two of these castles enclose its capital, which is the only city in Greece to be surrounded in such a way. As a result, Corfu’s capital has been officially declared a Kastropolis (“castle city”) by the Greek government. From medieval times and into the 17th century, the island, having successfully repulsed the Ottomans during several sieges, was recognised as a bulwark of the European States against the Ottoman Empire and became one of the most fortified places in Europe. The fortifications of the island were used by the Venetians to defend against Ottoman intrusion into the Adriatic.
In 2007, the city’s old quarter was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List.