Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Visiting the neglected Avramiou hill...

Corfu Town is hilly. Built on and between several hills, it is similar to Rome or Constantinopolis in that respect. Two of its great fortresses are on the top of hills, the Old one is on the homonymous peninsula and the New one on the top of Saint Mark hill. Besides those, smaller fortresses were built by the Venetians to stregthen and help the defence line provided by the two larger forts: One of them was the Avrami fort, on the top of Avrami hill.
It was built after the Turkish invasion of 1716 on the site of then long gone enormous and luxurious "Avrami Villa" which was destroyed by the Turks in 1537. It consisted of many facilities, like storage buildings, bastions, lookouts and a system of underground tunnels made possible for soldiers to communicate with Salvador fortress (on the site where "Dasaki" and the Prison now stand - I'll cover those in the future) and San Rocco fortress. From the Avrami fort, someone could control the surrounding area up to Potamos and Kefalomantouko. The fate of this military facility, like many others, was unfortunate. Before the British left the island, they blew up the fort. The power of the explosion was so big that material exploded away and residences around it suffered minor damage.
Now, little evidence can be found of its existence. The place is now forgotten in its secludity like many other green oases in our town. I decided to walk up the hill and get some shots.

The view from the middle of my way to the top was special; lots of landmarks could be seen, like the Platitera campanile, the airport's runway, the new port, Koulines hill, the twin TV and Radio antennas near Kanalia and Kanoni peninsula.

It was also possible - although somewhat limited due to the greenery- to see the Sarocco, Tennis and Leoforos Alexandras area.

Finally, after ascending all the steep road, I made it to the top. The first thing I noticed was the antenna park, which is a kind of a landmark because it's visible from many parts of town.

Looking at the opposite direction, neglet was obvious everywhere. The site of the once glorious fort is now covered with litter and apart from that, it is full of used condoms and evidence of drug use. Where are the authorities? Are they informed about those illegal activities happening - mostly during the night- on the top of the hill?

I forgot to mention in my brief history of the place that in late 19th century, a house for the elder was built on the top. Unfortunately, it is vacant and it looks now more like a ghost. I was lucky that the gate leading to the site was open.

On the left stands a small building. It might was a facility for the elder's house or a kind of administrative building. It was derelict as well.

The main building stands on the right, delapidated and ready to fall apart.

Suddenly, I noticed an interesting detail on the left side of the edifice: A beautifully carved marble side door with some Venetian elements!

I spent some time looking at the view spreading beyond me. The New Fortess, the campanile of Saint Spyridon church, Vido island even the top of the Old Fortress behind the walls of the New one could be seen.

As time passed, I decided to make my way downhill taking another few shot of the view towards Mantouki and Kogevina hill.

It is really depressing that a place gifted with spendid view, an urban oasis is now a stronghold of drug addicts. It would have been turned into a place of entertainment and recreation - an alternative option to Spianada. I really hope those who have the power, realise its potential and Avrami hill will again become a landmark.


Anonymous said...

Very interesting! Go on!

heraclite said...

Very interesting read for those of us who spent their childhood in Corfu during the 80s and who now live in other remote parts of the world... keep going!