CORFU - MUSEUMS
The Archaeological Museum of Corfu exhibits findings from several excavated sites in the wider region of the island, like Paleopolis, Kanoni, Garitsa, Kassiopi. The museum is housed in a modern building donated by the municipality of Corfu, in Vraila Armeni street, close to the bay of Garitsa. The Museum was originally founded to host important findings from the ancient temple of Artemis in Kanoni, however two more rooms were later added, when new exhibits were brought to light. The museum houses findings dating from Prehistoric to Hellenistic times. The collection consists of bronze and marble statues, funeral offerings, ancient coins, clay pottery, golden jewelry and parts of ancient temples. The most important exhibit of the museum is the impressive Gorgona-Medusa pediment from the temple of Artemis, dating from 585 BC. This pediment was excavated in 1911 and it is considered the oldest stone pediment of an ancient Greek temple. Other impressive exhibits include a stone lion of Menecrates, which was probably a funeral offering to the famous politician, a limestone pediment from a temple of Dionysus, 13 identical small statues of goddess Artemis and a marble torso of Apollo.
The Museum of Asian Art in Corfu is the only museum of this kind in Greece. It is housed in an imposing neoclassical building near Liston promenade, Espianada square, in the Palace of Saint Michael and Saint George. This building was constructed between 1819 and 1824 by the British. When the Ionian islands were united to the Greek state in 1864, this building was used as a summer residence of the Royal Family. However, it declined as a royal residence because the King preferred to spend his summer months in Mon Repos palace. Later on, the Sino-Japanese Museum was turned into an AsianMuseum to host the collection of Gregorios Manos, an ambassador who had donated to the Municipality a great range of Asian items and works of art. The exhibits include items from China, Japan, India, Pakistan, Korea, Siam, Tibet, Nepal, Cambodia and Thailand. Among the items displayed, you will find a Samurai armor and weapons, masks of the No theatre, pieces of Chinese porcelains and bronzes, pieces of sculpture and ceramics. These exhibits are displayed in five rooms. The ground floor of the museum used to be the hall of the Ionian Senate and the portraits of the Senate's presidents are there. On the second floor are the throne room, the ballroom and the dining room, with the medals of the Chivalric order painted on the walls. It is certainly an impressive sight to see and something you do not expect from a Greek island.
The Byzantine Museum of Corfu is housed in the Church of Virgin Mary Antivouniotissa, located in the quarter of Mouragia, Corfu Town. This church was constructed in the 15th century and it is an aisle less, timber-roofed basilica with characteristic Corfiot architecture. Since its foundation, the church has undergone many reconstructions and in 1984 the museum was inaugurated. The Byzantine Museum of Antivouniotissa hosts many portable Byzantine and post-Byzantine icons, made from anonymous or famous artists and dating from the 15th to the 19th century. There are also heirlooms, liturgical objects, wall frescoes from various churches of Corfu, old gospels, manuscripts and clothes of priests.