"Reading Society and library history in Corfu" Top 5 Page for this destination Corfu Island Things to Do Tip by mindcrime

Corfu Island Things to Do: 133 reviews and 416 photos

  Reading Society of Corfu
by mindcrime

First I noticed the nice building which next to the Royal Palace and then I noticed what it is. It?s the Reading Society of Corfu(Anagnostiki Eteria in greek), probably one of the oldest cultural centers in Greece as it was founded in 1836, 6 years only after the liberation from the Turkish occupation and the official recognition under the London Protocol in 1830.

The Reading Society had famous members like Kapodistrias, D.Theotokis, Dionisios Solomos, Kalvos etc. The people that established the Society were graduates from French universities that were expelled from Italy. The Reading Society wanted to bring its members in touch with cultural, spiritual and political movement in western Europe and that?s why they started to take from France, England and Italy magazines, newspapers and books. They were supporting the greek language as the main language in the United States of Ionian Islands and they forced for the union with the mainland of Greece.
It is famous for its large collection of books, newspapers, documents and old maps and photographs, mainly about the Ionian Islands but not only. A lot of exhibitions take place there but also some small concerts. It is open daily 9.00-14.00 (closed on Sundays)

It would be pity not to mention the Public Library Of Corfu too. It is housed inside the Old Fortress and it?s the oldest public library in Greece. It was back in 1758 when Francisco Saverio Canal donated his huge book collection that he had at the church Santa Gustina in Garitsa area. There were libraries in Corfu since the end of 17th century, many of them in churches or monasteries (Paleokastritsa, Zoodohos Pigi, Panagia Tenedos etc). When the French abolished the monasteries, the public library operated first at Panagia Tenedos in 1798 with more than 4000 books! Unfortunatelly, some months later Gaetano Rusconi from Padova destroyed or sold many books (that were dangerous for the revolution!) and there were only 1600 books left. Later the library connected with the Ionian Academy and with the help of Guilford it had more than 25000 books. At the same era new libraries were founded in Corfu. The public library had 75000 books when on September 13, 1943 was cremated by the Nazis. In our days it?s housed in the Old Fortress but I couldn?t visit it due to bad timing :(

Address: 120 Kapodistriou street, Old Town, Corfu
Directions: opposite the west front of the Royal Palace
Phone: 2661044165

Review Helpfulness: 4.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Written May 10, 2010
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