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Kerkyra is a Greek island in the Ionian Sea. It is the second largest of the Ionian Islands. Its northern part lies off the coast of Sarande, Albania, from which it is separated by straits varying in breadth from 3 to 23 km (2 to 15 mi), including one near ancient Butrint, while its southern part lies off the coast of Thesprotia, Greece. The island is part of the Kerkyra Prefecture and includes twelve of the sixteen municipalities or communes in the prefecture and communities of Ereikoussa, Mathraki, Othonoi, and Municipality of Paxoi, which are all separate islands. Kerkyra is home to the Ionian University. According to myth, Poseidon fell in love with the beautiful nymph Korkyra, daughter of Asopus and river nymph Metope, and abducted her, as was the custom among gods of the era's myths. Unification with modern Greece from 1864 made the island's history one with that of the mainland, with no further foreign intervention. The legacy of these struggles is visible in the form of castles punctuating 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, Kerkyra's capital has been officially declared a Kastropolis (Castle city) by the Greek Government. In 2007, the city's old town was designated for the UNESCO World Heritage List, following a recommendation by ICOMOS. Homer identifies seven plants that adorn the garden of Alcinous: wild olive, oil olive, pear, pomegranate, apple, fig and vine (Grape). Of these the apple and the pear are now very inferior in Corfu; the others thrive, together with all the fruit trees known in southern Europe, with addition of the kumquat, loquat and prickly pear and, in some spots, the banana. When undisturbed by cultivation, the myrtle, arbutus, bay and holm oak form a rich brushwood and the minor flora of the island are extensive. The old town, having grown within fortifications, where every metre of ground was precious, is a labyrinth of narrow streets paved with cobblestones, sometimes tortuous but colourful and clean. (Pause for advertisement): Book deals on hotels in the best locations at your travel destinations. Make hotel reservations. Reserve hotel rooms and suites. Find lodging and accommodations to suit your tastes. Look up hotel deals at AirGorilla and (end of ad). These streets are known as kantośnia, and the older amongst them sometimes follow the gentle irregularities of the ground; while many are too narrow for vehicular traffic. A promenade rises by the seashore towards the bay of Garitsa, together with an esplanade between the town and the citadel known as Spianada with the "Liston" arcade to its west side, where restaurants and bistros abound. Note: Kerkyra trips, Kerkyra travel vacations. Palaio Frourio is an old Venetian fortress built on an artificial islet with fortifications surrounding its entire perimeter, although some sections, particularly on the east side, are slowly being eroded and falling into the sea. Nonetheless, the interior has been restored and is in use for cultural events, such as concerts. The new citadel was until recently a restricted area due to the presence of a naval garrison, but old restrictions have been lifted and it is now open to the public, with tours possible through the maze of medieval corridors and fortifications. The winged Lion of St Mark, the symbol of Venice, can be seen at regular intervals adorning the fortifications.
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