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Achilleion: The Palace of Sisi in Corfu Greece

Last updated on May 14th, 2023 at 10:06 am

Achilleion Palace in Corfu

Corfu - Achilleion gardens
Corfu – Achilleion gardens

The beautiful Achilleion(Achillion) Palace is a neoclassical palace located 10 km south of the city of Corfu and 3 km north of the village of Benitses on the edge of Gastouri village.

It was built in 1890 by Empress Elizabeth of Austria on a property originally owned by the philosopher and diplomat Petros Vrailas Armenis and replaced the former “Villa Vraila”.

About Queen Elizabeth of Austria

Queen Elizabeth became known as the sad queen Sisi.

She was the younger daughter of the Duke of Bavaria, and the Emperor of Austria, Franz Joseph, was told by his mother to marry her elder sister, but he fell in love with her instead.

Elizabeth felt stifled by the very strict protocol, dominating mother-in-law, and the regimented life in Vienna, and appears to have suffered minor breakdowns and depression frequently.

She traveled extensively for her health, and this became almost manic following the suicide of her son Rudolf, who shot himself and his mistress in a suicide pact at a hunting lodge called Mayerling.

Coming to Corfu she fell in love with the estate of the diplomat and philosopher Petros Vrailas -Armenis, and he gave it to her.

She then demolished the simple house and built the Achilleion Palace.

She was well known in the vicinity, and much loved as she had a well dug in lower Gastouri which saved the women walking long distances to get good water.

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Once the palace was finished however she lost interest in it somewhat and came less frequently to the island.

On a visit to Geneva, she was assassinated by an Italian, who later said that he had gone to Geneva to kill a sovereign, and did not mind which one he killed, as long as he succeeded!

Elizabeth was an exceptionally beautiful woman and a skillful rider.

She was almost certainly anorexic, as she dieted maniacally, and never weighed more than 50 kilos.

She and her husband ruled the Austro-Hungarian empire, but whereas the Hungarians hated the Austrian rulers they loved Elizabeth, who also loved Budapest where she could escape from the rituals of Vienna.

To this day Hungarians talk fondly of her, and they, and also German-speaking visitors, especially enjoy visiting the palace this sad woman created on a Greek island.

The decoration of Achilleion Palace

The palace is named after Achilles, the Greek hero of the Trojan War, and the interior is decorated with numerous statues and paintings depicting scenes from Greek mythology.

The most famous of these is the statue of Achilles that stands in the palace gardens.

The decoration of Achilleion was supervised by Elizabeth herself and reflects her admiration and love for Classical Greece, both interior and exterior are decorated with statues of ancient philosophers, heroes, and mythical ancient gods.

The entrance is decorated with many statues and columns, two centaurs decorate the balcony on the first floor and four brass Mice guard the balcony on the second floor.
Besides, the columns are statues of gods and philosophers.

On the second floor, there is a brass statue of the god Hermes, and the central large hall is dominated by works of Italian painters, most notably that of the Austrian Franz Matt depicting the triumph of Achilles.

On the balcony of the first floor, where there were the apartments of the Empress, the Ionic columns are adjoined by busts of philosophers and statues of the nine muses.

In the gardens of the palace are found the famous statues of the dying Achilles, Dionysus with Satyros on his shoulders, an impressive statue of Achilles 11.5 meters high, and a statue of Lord Byron.

After the murder of Elizabeth, the palace was bought by the Kaiser of Germany William II

The Kaiser made additions to the building and built the Kaiser’s bridge, 2 km from Benitses, to use for swimming away from prying eyes, and also mooring his yacht.
It is said that he came here in the summer to draw up his war plans secretly.

During the First World War Achilleion palace was used as a military hospital, then fell into decay, but during the 1970s and 1980s, it housed the casino of Corfu.

Today, the palace is open to the public as a museum and cultural center, featuring exhibits on the history of the palace and the island of Corfu.

Is the correct name Achilleion or Achillion?

How it should be written; Achilleion or Achillion?

Well, this building is dedicated to the mythical Hero Achilles, therefore it should be written as Achilleion and not Achillion, Achilleion is the correct writing, while Achillion is wrong! see the Wikipedia link

Anyway, we use both names on the website because many people still use the wrong name.

Opening hours, ticket prices, information

The Achilleion museum is open daily from 08:00 am to 7 pm, and on Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays from 8 am to 2.30 pm

The ticket prices range from 2-10 €

More specifically, for children up to 14 years is 2 €, for youngsters up to 18, for students and large families 5 €, and for all adults is about 7 €.
A full ticket with an audio guide etc. is 10 €

For additional information call: 2661056245

Contact and phone numbers

For additional information call: 2661056245 Mr. Ioannis Tsampodimos.

Fax: 26610 56284
e-mail: [email protected]

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6 Responses

  1. Jennifer
    | Reply

    The kaiser certainly made no secret war plans! He never planned or wanted a war but he is the most demonished man in history due to allied propaganda.

    • GasTheo
      | Reply

      All war plans are secret by definition, also war plans are not necessarily offensive.
      Thanks for your comment, I can assure you that this sentence was written not offensively but as a figure of speech.

  2. Diana Owen
    | Reply

    Is the Palace open this week please?

    • GasTheo
      | Reply

      Yes, it is.

  3. Michael
    | Reply

    Hi, I visited in June 2022 and the Palace was closed with the exception of the garden, for renovation.
    Is the Place now fully open again, I will be visiting after 25th September 2022.


  4. Meri
    | Reply

    HI, will the castle be open during summer 2023? 08-15 august? Thanks

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