Corfu First, ten times or more

The former San Giacomo Theatre, now the Town Hall

Is it because Corfu – with or without the invaluable aid of Saint Spiridon – was never occupied by the Ottomans? Are we maybe looking at the imprint of four centuries Venetian rule and culture (1386-1797)? Or has the British protectorate (1814-1864) pushed the island to a forerunner’s role in the state of modern Greece? Fact is the island can boast being modern Greece’s number one in various fields. And surely the following list of ten is far from complete.

  • The first theatre (in modern Greece, and even in the eastern Mediterranean). The ‘Nobile Teatro di San Giacomo’, finished in 1720, is now the Town Hall.
  • The first opera in the Greek language, The Parliamentary Candidate was performed in the San Giacomo in 1867. The libretto was written by Ioannis Rinopulos and the music by the Spyridon Xyndas, a Corfiot who was one of the co-founders of the Philharmonic Society of Corfu.
  • The first university, The Ionian Academy, in 1824. (One could argue this is not ‘a first’, as Lord Guilford originally started this university in 1811 on Ithaca and transferred it to Corfu after the Greek War of Independence broke out in 1821).
  • The first Governor of modern Greece. Corfu born Ioannis Kapodistrias in 1827 was elected as the first head of state by the National Greek Assembly of newly liberated Greece.
  • The first library. The Public Historical Corfu Library was founded in the mid 18th century in the Franciscan Monastery of Saint Justine in Garitsa. From the end of 1997 it was housed in the southern section of the English barracks in the Old Fortress.
  • The first bank. In 1839 the Ionian State Bank was established in Corfu, to finance trade between the seven Ionian Islands and Great Britain.
  • The first lighthouse (1822) and the first floating lighthouse (1825).
  • The first lady mayor, Maria Desilla-Kapodistrias, from April 15th 1956 till May 9th 1959. She was a grand niece of Ioannis Kapodistrias.
  • The first tennis club. The Corfu Lawn Tennis Club was established in 1896 and can be found in the residential area Kefalomandouko in Corfu Town, at Ioannou Romanou 4.
  • The first cricket club. The first teams in the island were set up after the departure of the British, shortly after 1864. The Corfiot Athletic Club started in 1893 and is still active. The best known cricket ground of course is on the Spianada Square.


Fewer air travellers to Corfu in 2019 by 2,7%

A landing airplane, caught between the Vlacherna Monastery (left) and Pontikonisi (Mouse Island)

In October 2019 the Corfu’s Ioannis Kapodistrias Airport saw -2% fewer domestic passengers compared to the same month in 2018 (from 28.538 to 27.956). Over the first ten months of 2019 there is a +1% increase of domestic passengers though (from 294.910 to 297.882).

October 2019 saw -1,1% fewer international passengers (from 227.723 to 225.290). The decrease over 2019 till November 1st was even bigger by -3.1% (from 3.020.823 to 2.928.680).

Domestic and international passengers combined lead to a -1.2% decrease for October 2019 (from 256.261 to 253.246. The combined figures for the first ten months of this year show a -2,7% decrease (from 3.315.733 to 3.226.562).

With the exception of January, February and April all months show a decrease in the combined numbers of domestic and international passengers.

Number of flights
The numbers of flights to and from Corfu show more or less the same pattern. In October 2019 there were -2,1% fewer domestic flights (374 to 366 in 2018). Over the first ten months the decrease was -6,8% (from 4.289 to 3.996). The international flights in October 2019 came to a total of 20.564, a decrease by -3,2% (21.236 flights in 2018). The combination of domestic and international flight totalled 2.057 in October 2019, a decrease by -2,8% (2.116 in 2018). Over the first ten months domestic and international flights together mounted to 24.560, ad decrease by -3,8% (25.525 in 2018).

These figures are produced by Fraport Greece.
FG Traffic Data Management (preliminary data)
October 2019 traffic statistics are provisional and subject to change.

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