Sunday, 20 June 2010

At the ruins of the ancient greek Mon Repos temples

  Mon Repos estate is internationally famous for its centerpiece, it's 1831 palace built by the British and being for many decades the place where the king of Greece spent his summer. The estate is vast. Being with the park near the prisons the only urban park in town, it deserves a visit. Few know that the estate was built on the site of the "acropolis" (citadel) of ancient Corfu Town, which was famous for its impressive buildings and its luxury. Today, only few ruins remind us its glorious past: the ruins of the Heraeum (a temple dedicated to Hera) and the doric temple of Kardaki dedicated to Apollon.
  The Sanctuary of Akreas Iras was built around 600 BC and is somewhat large in size (20m x 43m). It was gradually destroyed by civil wars and by successive conquerors of Corfu, who used the building’s materials in constructing the walls of the new town.  Nowadays, we can hardly imagine how it might looked like. Only few stones and a couple of column bases could be seen.

  The doric temple of Apollon is in much better state. It is a small Dorian temple dated from the end of the 6th century, with 11 monolithic pillars in its wide sides and 6 in its narrow sides, and was dedicated as it is said either to Neptune, or to Asklepios, or, finally, to Apollo. It is worth noting that the material used in its construction was all local limestone from the quarry at Varipatades. The first findings were revealed during the years of English domination, more accurately in 1822, when the british were trying to find why the spring of Kardaki stopped running water. The reason was the collapse of the then hidden easternly part of the Dorian temple of Kardaki  because of the weather conditions. Its style resembled these of the temples of Sicily and South Italy while its monolithic columns are similar to those of the Apollon temple in Korinthos.

- Mon Repos estate is situated very close to the centre of Corfu Town. It is half an hour walk south from the Esplanade. The Blue Bus line to Kanoni stops right outside the entrance of the estate.

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