CULTURE

Old Town of Corfu under UNESCO wing

Corfu’s Old Town has just been named a World Heritage Center by UNESCO during the 31st meeting of the World Heritage Committee that took place in Christchurch, New Zealand, recently. It has been listed as a special architectural landmark which represents a significant historical period. The decision was made unanimously after a motion by the NGO International Council of Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS). The Ionian island’s Old Town is the 17th Greek monument to make it onto the list, the first being the Temple of Apollo Epicurius at Bassae, which was included in 1986. The Delphi archaeological site and the Acropolis followed in 1987, then Mount Athos, Meteora, the early Christian monuments in Thessaloniki, the Epidaurus archaeological site and the medieval town of Rhodes in 1988. Mystras and ancient Olympia were added in 1989, then Delos, the monasteries of Dafni, Ossios Loukas and Chios in 1990, the Heraion and the Pythagoreion on Samos in 1992, Vergina in 1996, Mycenae in 1999 and the Grotto of the Revelation as well as the Monastery of St John on Patmos in the same year. The architectural remains on Corfu cover a wide range of historical periods, from Venetian rule through to the 19th century, with highlights from the 16th and 17th centuries. According to archival material, a Byzantine settlement was located on the same spot in the 6th and 7th centuries. Minister of Culture Giorgos Voulagarkis pointed out the importance of the motion by saying that now a monument from more recent Greek history has been included. He added that the listing is due to the ministry’s initiative of the past year, as it submitted a complete management plan.