Kapodistrias Museum

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The Kapodistrias Museum or Kapodistrias Museum–Centre of Kapodistrian Studies (Greek: Μουσείο Καποδίστρια–Κέντρο Καποδιστριακών Μελετών) is a museum dedicated to the memory and life's work of Ioannis Kapodistrias.[1][2] It is located in the area Koukouritsa of Evropouli in Corfu, Greece.[1] The property was donated by Maria Desylla-Kapodistria (Μαρία Δεσύλλα Καποδίστρια) great granddaughter of Georgios Kapodistrias, younger brother of Ioannis Kapodistrias and the only one of the brothers who got married.[2] The museum was established in 1981.[1] Ioannis Kapodistrias' summer home in the rural area of Koukouritsa in his birthplace of Corfu, houses the museum, showcasing exhibits commemorating his life and accomplishments.[3] Mrs Maria Desylla-Kapodistria, a former mayor of Corfu (1956–1959) and the first female mayor in Greece,[4][5][6] donated the residence to the three primary cultural societies of Corfu specifically for that purpose.[3] The museum also functions as a centre for Kapodistrian and Corfiote studies.[1][7]


Maria Desylla-Kapodistria, grand niece of Ioannis Kapodistrias, donor of the museum, past mayor of Corfu and first female mayor of Greece.[4] The museum was the summer home of Ioannis Kapodistrias, first governor of Greece.

In 1979 Maria Kapodistria bequeathed the estate under contract No. 4541/3.11.1979 to the Reading Society of Corfu, the Philharmonic Society of Corfu and the Society of Corfiote Studies.[2] According to its charter, the museum is to house, curate and exhibit the personal effects and portraits of Ioannis Kapodistrias as well as the period furniture belonging to the family.[2] Following the death of the donor the three societies created a foundation under the name "Kapodistrias Museum-Centre of Kapodistrian Studies".[2]

The Kapodistrias residence is located in the southwest corner of an area near the village of Evropouli nine kilometres from Corfu city.[2] The area is called Koukouritsa meaning a geological rise or hill in the local dialect and denoting the top of the hill.[2] The hill and the surrounding area belonged to the Kapodistrias family for centuries.[2]

In the middle of the 18th century a small summer cottage was built to serve as a summer retreat for the Kapodistrias family.[2] In 1797 after the end of the Venetian occupation, Ioannis Kapodistrias' father, Antonios Maria Kapodistrias, representing the more conservative side of Corfu aristocracy quickly came to a dispute with the French occupiers and had to escape to the summer cottage at Koukouritsa.[2] The family resided there until the early 19th century.[2] Young Ioannis Kapodistrias followed his family to the retreat and stayed there for approximately three years.[2]

The three Corfu societies accepted the estate along with the exhibits but Maria Kapodistria did not provide an ongoing financial endowment.[2] The Greek state and even the municipality of Corfu largely ignored the project.[2] Nevertheless the three societies founded the Museum as a civil liability company.[2] The three societies, however, did not have the finances to continue the day-to-day operations of the museum and soon they were forced to close it for an extended period of time.[2][8]

The subject of the museum's closing and the indifferent reaction of the Greek government was actually raised by opposition leader George Papandreou in 2005 who characterised the museum as an important monument for Greece.[8]

The three societies applied to the Greek Ministry of Culture, other state organisations as well as to various municipal governments in Corfu, but were ignored.[2] However Christos Fokas, a local businessman and industrialist but residing in Switzerland, owner of the Corfu Palace Hotel, informed the three societies that he was ready to cover the museum's operating expenses donating the sum of 20,000 euro per year.[2] The donation enabled the Museum to open once again to the public and it operates on a daily basis from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.[2] It is closed on Mondays.[2]


  1. ^ a b c d Greek Ministry of Culture Odysseus web navigation: Museum Kapodistrias (In Greek) Quote: Το Μουσείο Καποδίστρια - Κέντρο Καποδιστριακών Μελετών, ιδρύθηκε το έτος 1981. Translation: The Kapodistrian Museum-Centre of Kapodistrian studies, was established in 1981
    Kapodistrias Museum in English (Greek Ministry of Culture: Odysseus web navigation project)
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t Eleni Bistika Kathimerini Article on the Kapodistrian Museum 15-04-2007 Quote: Μία μεγάλης πνοής δωρεά όπως αυτή της Μαρίας Καποδίστρια, δισεγγονής του Γεωργίου Καποδίστρια, μικρότερου αδελφού του κυβερνήτη Ιωάννη Καποδίστρια και του μόνου που παντρεύτηκε, προίκισε διά βίου την Κέρκυρα με ένα Μουσείο - αξιοθέατο, αφιερωμένο στη μνήμη του Ιωάννη Καποδίστρια. Translation A great donation such as the one by Maria Kapodistria, great-granddaughter of Georgios Kapodistrias, younger brother of Governor Ioannis Kapodistrias and the only one who got married, bequeathed this museum to Corfu.... and Το ύψωμα αυτό και η γύρω έκταση ανήκαν από αιώνες στην οικογένεια Καποδίστρια. Translation: These heights and the surrounding area belonged for centuries to the Kapodistrias family and Στα μέσα του 18ου αιώνα κτίστηκε η μικρή εξοχική κατοικία που χρησιμοποιούσε η οικογένεια για τις θερινές της διακοπές Translation: In the mid-18th century a small rural residence was built, used by the family during the summer vacations and Με την κατάλυση της βενετικής κυριαρχίας το 1797 και τον ερχομό των Γάλλων στην Κέρκυρα ο Αντώνιος-Μαρία Καποδίστριας, πατέρας του Ιωάννη, εκπροσωπώντας την πιο συντηρητική μερίδα της κερκυραϊκής αριστοκρατίας ήρθε πολύ γρήγορα σε ρήξη με τους νέους κατακτητές και αναγκάστηκε να εγκαταλείψει την πόλη της Κέρκυρας και να καταφύγει οικογενειακώς στο εξοχικό σπίτι της Κουκουρίτσας. Translation: After the end of the Venetian domination and the coming in 1797 of the French to the island Antonios-Maria Kapodistrias father of Ioannis, representing the more conservative side of Corfiote aristocracy very quickly came to a dispute with the new conquerors and was forced to abandon Corfu city and to move with his family to the resort home at Koukouritsa. and Αυτός ήταν ο λόγος που αναγκάστηκαν να αναστείλουν για ένα μεγάλο χρονικό διάστημα τη λειτουργία του Μουσείου, γιατί τα οικονομικά τους δεν το επέτρεπαν. Κάτω απ’ αυτές τις συνθήκες πολλοί φοβήθηκαν και δεν ήταν καθόλου αβάσιμοι οι φόβοι τους ότι δεν επρόκειτο απλά για μια αναστολή αλλά για οριστικό κλείσιμο. Translation: This was reason which forced them to suspend the operations of the museum, because their finances did not allow it. But many were afraid, and their fears were not baseless at all, that it was not a simple suspension of operations but rather a permanent closing. and Οπου και αν απευθύνθηκαν οι τρεις εταιρείες –με πρώτο το υπουργείο Πολιτισμού, κρατικούς φορείς, Τοπική Αυτοδιοίκηση πρώτου και δεύτερου βαθμού– τις περισσότερες φορές δεν έλαβαν καμία απάντηση, αγνοήθηκαν εντελώς. Ευτυχώς για το Μουσείο και την επαναλειτουργία του έδειξε έμπρακτο ενδιαφέρον ο Κερκυραίος βιομήχανος και ιδιοκτήτης του ξενοδοχείου Corfu Palace, ο κύριος Χρήστος Φωκάς Translation: Wherever the three societies applied (for funds) -firstly with the Greek Ministry of Culture, state organisations, and local government of the first and second rank- most of the time they never received a reply, they were ignored completely. Luckily for the museum and the resumption of its operations the Corfiote industrialist and owner of the Corfu Palace Hotel Christos Fokas showed active interest.
  3. ^ a b Eleni Bistika Kathimerini Article on Ioannis Kapodistrias 22-02-2008 Quote: Η γενέτειρά του Κέρκυρα, ψύχραιμη, απολαμβάνει το προνόμιο να έχει το γοητευτικό Μουσείο Καποδίστρια στη θέση Κουκουρίσα, Translation: His birthplace, Corfu, cool, enjoys the privilege to have the charming Museum Kapodistria in the location Koukourisa [sic] and εξοχική κατοικία με τον μαγευτικό κήπο της οικογενείας Καποδίστρια, που η Μαρία Δεσύλλα - Καποδίστρια δώρισε στις τρεις κερκυραϊκές εταιρείες Translation: summer residence with the enchanting garden of the Kapodistrias family, which Maria Desylla Kapodistria donated to the three Corfiote societies
  4. ^ a b Municipality of Corfu from the Internet archive (in English) (Editor's note: Link provided by Internet archive may be unreliable. In case it does not work the link to the Greek text below is the translation equivalent of the English text) Quote:MARIA DESILLA - THE FIRST FEMALE GREEK MAYOR In 2002 we celebrated the 50th anniversary of the complete political emancipation of women in Greece. Corfu has the privilege of the first elected and constitutionally secured Greek female Mayor. After 1930 and until 1952 women in Greece were only allowed to vote (only the literate), but not to be elected in public offices. In May 1952 the Greek Parliament passed the Act 2159/1952 and equal political rights were given to the women in Greece, to vote and be voted to public offices. A little later one of the most important achievements in the fight of women for equal rights started and materialized in the Municipality of Corfu. In the elections of 1954 Stamatios Desillas was elected Mayor for a second term and remained in office until his death, Christmas Day 1955. Soon after a by-election took place in Corfu in which the widow of the deceased Maria Desilla - Kapodistria, was elected Mayor with 5,365 votes in a total of 10,207. Maria Desilla became Mayor of Corfu in 15 April 1956 until 9 May 1959. She was the first female Mayor in Greece. MUNICIPALITY OF CORFU Last Modified: 14 May 2004
    Municipality of Corfu on Maria Kapodistria (in Greek) via the Internet Archive (Editor's note: Greek text is the translation equivalent of the English text above) Quote: ΜΑΡΙΑ ΔΕΣΥΛΛΑ Το 2002 συμπληρώθηκαν 50 χρόνια από την κατοχύρωση της πλήρους πολιτικής χειραφέτησης της Ελληνίδας. Η Κέρκυρα έχει το προνόμιο της πρώτης εκλεγμένης και Συνταγματικά κατοχυρωμένης Ελληνίδας Δημάρχου. Μετά το 1930 και μέχρι το 1952 οι γυναίκες στην Ελλάδα - και μάλιστα μόνον οι εγγράμματες - είχαν δικαίωμα μόνο να εκλέγουν και όχι να εκλέγονται. Τον Μάϊο του 1952 το Ελληνικό Κοινοβούλιο ψήφισε το νόμο 2159/1952 που εκχωρούσε στις γυναίκες ίσα πολιτικά δικαιώματα με τους άνδρες, να εκλέγουν και να εκλέγονται στα αιρετά πολιτικά αξιώματα. Λίγο αργότερα ένα από τα σημαντικότερα επιτεύγματα του αγώνα της γυναίκας για ίσα δικαιώματα ξεκίνησε και υλοποιήθηκε στο Δήμο Κερκυραίων. Στις εκλογές που διεξήχθησαν το 1954, Δήμαρχος Κερκυραίων εκλέχθηκε για δεύτερη φορά ο Σταμάτιος Αλεξάνδρου Δεσύλλας, ο οποίος έμεινε Δήμαρχος ως την ημέρα του θανάτου του, τα Χριστούγεννα του 1955. Έγινε αναπληρωματική εκλογή, από την οποία εκλέχτηκε Δήμαρχος η χήρα του αποθανόντος Μαρία Δεσύλλα, το γένος Καποδίστρια, με 5.365 ψήφους σε 10.207 ψηφοφορήσαντες. Η Μαρία Δεσύλλα έγινε Δήμαρχος Κερκυραίων από τις 15 Απριλίου 1956 έως τις 9 Μαΐου 1959. Ήταν η πρώτη Ελληνίδα Δήμαρχος. ΔΗΜΟΣ ΚΕΡΚΥΡΑΙΩΝ Τελευταία ενημέρωση: 20 September 2005
  5. ^ History of City Councils from the Municipality of Corfu website via the Internet Archive
  6. ^ Corfu city hall website through Internet Archive Quote: The Capodistrias Museum - Center of Capodistrian Studies, was founded in 1981. It is a donation by Maria Desylla-Kapodistria, Mayor of Corfu during the period 1956-1959. The House and the estate are situated in Koukouritsa, near the village of Evropouli and were parts of the family property of the first Governor of Greece. The items that are exhibited in the Museum are personal belongings of Ioannis Capodistrias, as well as furniture and other objects from that period.
  7. ^ Eleni Bistika Kathimerini 30-12-2007 ...στις τρεις ονομαστές πολιτιστικές εταιρείες της Κερκύρας, με την προϋπόθεση να λειτουργήσει ως Μουσείο Καποδίστρια και, μελλοντικά, και ως Κέντρο Κερκυραϊκών Μελετών. Translation: bequeathed it to the three famous cultural societies of Corfu under the condition it would function as a museum and in the future as Centre for Corfiote studies
  8. ^ a b Political speech of George Papandreou in Corfu 7 October 2005 via the Internet Archive Ομιλία Γιώργου Α. Παπανδρέου σε ανοιχτή πολιτική εκδήλωση στην Κέρκυρα 07.10.2005 Quote: Να αξιοποιήσουμε τον πολιτισμό μας, να ανοίξει επιτέλους και το Μουσείο Καποδίστρια. Δεν μπορεί ο Υπουργός Πολιτισμού να βρει 40.000 ευρώ για να λειτουργήσει το Μουσείο Καποδίστρια που είναι ένα σημαντικό μνημείο για τη χώρα μας. Translation: We must take advantage of our civilisation, let the Kapodistrias museum be open at last. The Minister of Culture cannot find 40,000 euro for the operation of the museum which is an important monument for our country.

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Coordinates: 39°37′23.2″N 19°52′8.7″E / 39.623111°N 19.869083°E / 39.623111; 19.869083