“THE ISLAND OF VIDO” (CORFU)
Some interesting facts
It is called “THE ISLAND OF VIDO” and NOT “VIDOS ISLAND” and has an area of 53.8 hectares.
I will write it also in Greek;
«ΤΟ ΝΗΣΙ ΤΟΥ ΒΙΔΟΥ» και ΟΧΙ «Ο ΒΙΔΟΣ» as so many erroneously call it!!
The name derives from one of its owners GUIDO MALIPIERI and his first name degenerated from GUIDO to VIDO!!
The Venetians who occupied Corfu from the 15th to the 18th Century constructed a large tunnel (so we are told!) which connected the Old Fortress with “THE ISLAND OF VIDO” under the sea-bed. They sent all the criminals from the Old Fortress to the Vido prison which they had built.
Many (including myself) have tried to locate this tunnel with no success! Although other tunnels are charted, there are no plans for this particular one so I wonder if it actually ever existed or was it a historical myth?!!
For many years this little island was known as “St. Stephen’s Island” (“Insula Santi Stephano”), while before it was known as “PTIHIA” «ΠΤΥΧΙΑ» and also “ILE DE LA PAIX” (Peace Island).
The French built a large fortress which was rebuilt by the British who later demolished it when they departed.
In December 1916, 130,000 Serbian soldiers arrived on Corfu after their defeat by the Austrians and found refuge on “The Island of Vido” amongst the ruined British fortifications. Because of various diseases, lack of food and poor hygiene conditions 30,000 perished converting the island to an enormous cemetery.
In 1936 the Yugoslav government received permission to build on the Eastern side of the Island the Serbian Mausoleum (A monument and cemetery for the Serbian soldiers).
From 1918 to 1926 it became an annex of the Corfu prison until 1945 when it was converted to a juvenile agricultural detention centre and from 1945 to 1976 it became a high security juvenile prison!
Later it was administered by the Greek National Tourist Organisation, until 1989 when it was taken over by the Municipality of Corfu.
By Aleko Damaskinos