Corfu, like other Greek islands, is a treasure trove of architecture from various kingdoms and cultures. British, Italian, Greek, and Byzantine nations laid claim to Corfu throughout its
. Rather than demolish the legacy of these rulers, Greece has successfully preserved many of the original buildings. This may be a disappointment for first-time visitors who expect to see plenty of columns and ruins in the Ionian Isles.
However, there are several important monuments from Greek antiquity that remain in tact at Corfu. The tomb of Menekrates is a circular building on the necropolis that recognizes a Corfu notable who lost his life at sea. The fountain and lion that archaeologists excavated from this site are currently housed in the Archaeological Museum of Corfu. The temple of Poseidon is another local monument. It is a simple, domed building. The countryside occasionally reveals a ruin from the typical, Greek post-lintel construction system.
The majority of the architecture in Corfu actually is the product of its pan-European heritage. Liston is a French plaza and the center of modern, Mediterranean lifestyle in Corfu. In the 1800's, the French constructed the Liston as a replica of Rue De Rivoli in Paris. It has narrow streets, a colonnade (series of columns and arches), and secret gardens. Travelers can play cricket, shop, or relax at one of the many cafes in this area. Achilleon Palace further diversifies the landscape. Elisabeth of Austria built the Achilleon Palace in 1890 to commemorate the greek hero, Achilles. The palace's Romantic era design consists of lavish gardens, Classical statues and narrative artwork in the richest of colors.
Furthermore, most of the 800 churches and monasteries in Corfu gain their inspiration from Venetian and Byzantine styles of architecture. The countryside sprouts Venetian castles and forts. The Saint Spyridon Church and Paleokastritsa monastery are among the most prominent Byzantine landmarks in Corfu. Beneath Mt. Pantokrator (the highest mountain on the island) in the northeast is Corfu's oldest village, Old Perithia
. This Heritage Protected Site in a designated Area of Natural Beauty and dates back to well beyond the 14th century giving visitors a chance to step back in time and roam amongst the 130 houses, surrounded by 8 churches in their various states of ruin and restoration.