© Ministry of Culture and Sports

The remains of a sanctuary of the ancient city of Corfu have been conserved on a low hill to the southwest of the Mon-Repos Estate. According to the archaeological findings and the topographical references of ancient authors, the sanctuary has been identified by scholars as the Heraion.

The first excavations at the site were conducted between 1912-1914 by the German Archaeological Institute under the direction of the renowned German archaeologist W. Dorpfeld. The excavations carried out by the Greek Archaeological Service in the 1960s confirmed the existence of an organized sanctuary that functioned from the Archaic to the Hellenistic period.

In the centre of the sanctuary, at the top of the hill,a large temple with a terracotta roof was built around 610 BC. The temple was dedicated to Hera Akraia (Extreme), a title revealing the location of the sanctuary on the extreme tip of the Kanoni peninsula. The temple was protected by an enclosure and it was gradually enriched with various outbuildings and smaller templesasindicated by the architectural remnants and the votives to other deities that were found in the area. At the end of the 6th century BC a small,open-air sanctuary attributed to Apollo Korkyraio (Corcyrean) was also founded at a short distance from the enclosure of the Heraion.

Towards the end of the 5th century BC the temple was destroyed by fire during the civil war between the Democrats and the Oligarchs. Almost immediately after this event, around 400 BC, renovationand expansion workstook place. A new, large temple with a marble roof was constructed on the foundations of the old one and a strong retaining enclosure was also built. Debris of the first temple and other buildings as well as old offerings were then buried to expand the site around the perimeter of the hill.The few findings from the following centuries suggest the sanctuary never fully recovered from its destruction in the 5th century BC. In the 3rd century BC two small buildings of hitherto unknown use and a narrow paved street were added outside the sanctuary's enclosure. The final destruction of the Heraion probably occurred in the 1st century BC and it has been associated with the sack of Corfu by the troops of Agrippa shortly before the battle of Actium in 31 BC.

The multiple damage to the site and, most importantly, the reuse of the ancient material for the construction of the fortifications of the Venetian town along with the construction of the road that leads to Analipsis resulted in the almost total destruction of the Heraion buildings. Thus, only a small section of the original sanctuary remains today.