segunda-feira, 25 de abril de 2011

Pontikonisi and Vlaheraina Monastery



Ao sul das ilhas gregas do mar Jónico, situada bem na embocadura do Mar Adriático, no coração do Mediterraneo, no centro do cruzamento entre as principais culturas e tradições que tornaram o "mare nostrum" o berço das histórias e das tradições sem paralelo no mundo. A grega Kerkira foi chamada Corfu pelos venezianos, do termo "Korifì", usado pela população para indicar as torres da fortaleza de São Marcos. Esta ilha, contrariamente a muitas outras do Peloponeso ou de outros arquipélagos do Mediterrâneo, é coberta por uma riquíssima vegetação, favorecida por um clima ameno e nem um pouco seco, apesar do vento. A sua estrutura montanhosa é muito delicada, sobressaem-se as serras do norte que lentamente descem na direcção do mar, tornando-se planícies a poucos quilómetros da costa. Uma costa longuíssima, interminável, com mais de 200 quilómetros , muito variada entre ambientes arenosos e rochosos e cortada pela vegetação de arbustos do Mediterrâneo: oliveiras, cipreste e árvores de citrinos. Kerkyra, a capital, tem aproximadamente 60 mil dos 110 mil habitantes do total da ilha. Esta cidade possui um rico centro histórico com vários fortes venezianos e o palácio real inglês, o resto da ilha é constituído por pequenas vilas, estradas que percorrem-na bem acima do nível do mar com esplêndidos panoramas de pequenas enseadas e belíssimas rochas.

Corfu is the northernmost of the Ionian Islands, located in the heart of the Mediterranean. The Greek place name Kerkira was renamed Corfu by the Venetians, who paraphrased the word "Korifi" which was used to indicate the towers of St. Mark's fortress. Corfu is covered in lush vegetation, thriving in a climate that is tempered by the wind without being too dry. Its coastline is very long, seemingly never-ending: over 200 kilometres. The terrain is quite varied, at times sandy and at others rocky and broken up by Mediterranean bush, olive, cypress and citrus trees. Corfu has suffered a long and bloody history. Corfu embarked on a long period of being colonised by others from 700 B.C. onwards, first by the Corinthians, then the Illyrians and the Athenians. Corfu suffered attacks from pirates while under Byzantine rule forcing the relocation of the city northward. This did little to halt the invasions of the Vandals and Visigoths, who repeatedly massacred the populations and razed their villages to the ground. The Venetians gave Corfu back its status as an important centre of trade and with it a very wealthy market. Venetian rule lasted for more than 400 years, during which time the island was governed by a system of aristocratic rule. The Venetians began the cultivation of olives and to this day, Corfu is one of the main olive oil producing centres in the region. Once the Venetian reign had come to an end, it was the Turks' turn, then the French and the English, and on 21st May 1864 it was annexed to the Kingdom of Greece. During the Second World War, Corfu was again bombarded and suffered heavy damage. Most of its buildings were destroyed, such as the public theatre and the Ionian Academy. Just a few outstanding buildings remain, scattered along the coastline and in the main town and jealously guarded by the local population. Kerkira is the capital, and accommodates around 60,000 of the 110,000 people who live on the island. The city has a splendid city centre with numerous Venetian fortresses and the English Royal Palace. The rest of the island is made up of small settlements, roads that stretch out high above the sea and splendid views of small bays and magnificent cliffs.

Corfu - 29 Outubro 2009