The Old Fortress is a masterpiece of Byzantine and Venetian architecture. It was initially erected by the survived Corfiots in order to protect themselves after the attack and destruction of the ancient city of Corfu during the 6th century by the Goths.
The construction of the current fortification started during the Byzantine era and Venetians put the final touches in the 16th century by smoothing the walls (a measure that would prevent enemies climbing on them), as well as by adding tunnels and moats for more protection. Today, the central gate of the fort is located exactly in front of Liston, on square Spianada.
Due to its shape, size, and strategic position that was enabling to oversee the surrounding coasts, the fort was never conquered. Those who wish to enter, they have to cross the bridge over the artificial moat, that has turned the Old Fortress into an island.
There were two big bastions on each side of the main entrance and two big towers, the Tower of the Sea and the Tower of the Land. Those two bastions are behind the name of the island and more specifically the name Corfu that is used mostly by foreigners. In Greek, it was called "Poli ton Korifon" (city of the peaks), which became Korfon, which finally became Corfu. Those "peaks" were denoting the two peaks of the bastions of the fortress.
Inside the Old Fortress, there are some impressive Venetian and British buildings, all built for military purposes: a Venetian prison, two British barracks and a military hospital, which is now the music high school. The visitor can also find the Doric church of St. George with the collection of Byzantine murals and mosaics.
On the north side, there is Mandraki, a small port that was actually the former moat which now became a safe harbourage. While walking around the fort, someone has to walk via galleries and tunnels in order to pass through the two moats. By reaching the guest can admire the exceptional view of the Old City and the Ionian sea.