It’s assumed that in ancient times Corfu was called Scheria and it was the land of the Phaeacians, who were known as the masters of the sea. In Homer’s book Odyssey the place Scheria is first mentioned as the last destination of the mythical hero Odysseus before he arrived home at his island Ithaca, which is at a distance of about110 km from Corfu.
Odysseus washed up at Scheria after being shipwrecked by the god of the seas Poseidon who sought revenge for blinding his son. Odysseus was heading home to Ithaca after a journey that lasted ten years after having fought in the Trojan War.
On Corfu he meets the daughter of the king of the island, Nausica, who offers him clothes and food and takes him to the palace of her father. With an impressive ship he is returned to his island Ithaca. But when the Phaeacian ship returns to Corfu it’s turned into a rock by the angered god Poseidon for helping Odysseus.
It’s said that Paleokastritsa was the capital of the island during Phaeacian times, though excavations haven’t revealed any evidence of that until date. Nevertheless, the local of Paleokastritsa are convinced that the island opposite of the town is the petrified ship of the Phaeacians. Other Corfiots favor identification of Pontikonisi, a small island opposite of Corfu town, as the petrified ship.
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