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Corfu is an elongated and irregular shaped island in the Ionian sea, it is approximately 53km. long. 24km. wide in the north and 4km. near its southern end. It has a total area of 592 square kilometres and a coastline of 217 kilometres. There is a permanent human population of approx. 110,000, which swells dramatically during the summer months due to tourism. Compared to mainland Greece the Island is blessed with a Maritime / Subtropical climate i.e. mild winters and relatively cool summers The annual rainfall varies between 700mm and1400mm, the majority of this in the winter months. Snow and frost are rarities on the island even though the Albanian and Greek mountains a few miles away have a covering of snow for most of the winter. As a result of this, humidity is high which gives rise to lush vegetation, which in turn harbours a great variety of wildlife.
The terrain is varied with at least six peaks over 500meters the highest being Mount Pandokrator at 906 meters. On the higher slopes there is maquis, the typical Mediterranean landscape i.e. rocky with low scrub and grass etc. There is rich pasture/tillable land like the Ropa Valley which includes a golf course, coastal plains with salt water lagoons some of which contain disused salt pans, the remainder of the Island comprises undulating hills carpeted in endless olive groves with a scattering of family owned and cultivated vegetable patches including small fields of fodder for their animals.
Historically a large part of Corfu was covered with natural oak forests but these were exploited for shipbuilding by the Venetians whose shipyard remains can still be seen at Gouvia. Later the British and French took advantage of these resources. However it was during the Venetian occupation (1386-1797) that the Corfiots were convinced to plant olive trees, rewarding them with a payment for every ten trees planted and also allowing them to pay their taxes in oil. Obviously a very successful venture as today the island is home to over 3 Million olive trees.
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