Corfu, due to its strategic location, was for centuries a major fortified port in the Eastern Mediterranean. Under Venetian rule (1386-1797) it had a key role in the maintenance of Venice’s maritime domination in the region, as reflected in the large scale defensive works that took place in this era.
The perimeter fortification of Corfu town took place in the between of 1576 and 1588. The fortification, assigned to the architect Ferrante Vitelli, included a sea wall, a western bastioned front and the construction of New Fortress at its northwestern edge.
The New Fortress was mainly built for the protection of the port on the east. Its western side is reinforced by a horn-shaped fort named Scarpon. The main fortress consists of two almost twin bastions on the west and a lower fortification complex on the east.
The western front, partially preserved until nowadays, had two bastions (Bastion Raimondo and Sarandario), a defensive platform between them (Piattaforma St. Athanasio) and a half bastion (also Raimondo) at its southern edge. It was the main battlefield along with the New Fortress during the last Ottomans’ siege in 1716.
The fortification of the town was later reinforced with outer forts in the 17th and 18th century. During the period of the British Protectorate (1814-1864) there were made additions a large part of the Venetian fortifications was demolished but there were also numerous modifications and additions of new buildings for the needs of the army.
Today the Old Town of Corfu with its fortifications is an UNESCO World Heritage Monument.